The postpartum period can be a confusing time for some women in terms of pregnancy prevention. Breastfeeding can lengthen the time between birth and first menstrual cycle, but ovulation may occur before that first cycle, increasing the risk of pregnancy during the immediate postpartum period. Researchers from Canada and Wisconsin recently partnered to test a new postpartum pregnancy prevention protocol in hopes of helping women prevent unwanted pregnancy immediately after birth.
The 12-month study involved nearly 200 women between 20 and 45 years of age. Women were given educational opportunities both online and in-person and a fertility monitor to test urinary hormone changes. The results from the fertility monitor were tracked online.
Women tested urine in 20-day cycles and they were advised to reset the monitor when menstruation started. During the time when fertility was highest, according to the monitor, they were told to abstain from intercourse.
Conclusion: When the protocol was followed verbatim, only two pregnancies occurred during the 12-month postpartum period. In all, four pregnancies occurred. The online protocol may be an effective solution to reducing postpartum pregnancy.
Source: Bouchard T, Fehring RJ, Schneider M. Efficacy of a new postpartum transition protocol for avoiding pregnancy. J Am Board Fam Med. 2013 Jan;26(1):35-44. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2013.01.120126.