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close this bookMaternal Diet, Breast-Feeding Capacity, and Lactational Infertility (UNU/WHO, 1983, 107 pages)
close this folder5. Family planning and its relation to nutritional well-being and to maternal and child health
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentFamily planning in perspective
View the documentMaternal care
View the documentLactation and breast-feeding
View the documentFamily-planning technologies and side-effects on lactation
View the documentReferences

(introductory text...)

Family Planning in Perspective
Maternal Care
Lactation and Breast-Feeding
Family-planning Technologies and Side-effects on Lactation
References

 

Lactation and Birth Spacing

5.1. Lactational amenorrhoea is a well-recognized phenomenon and has frequently been presented as "nature's way of ensuring an adequate time interval between the birth of one baby an the next". Lactational amenorrhoea is a variable component, however, and its duration is influenced by a number of factors, notably dietary status and the specific hormonal responses of individual women, especially with respect to prolactin. It was largely because of the important endocrine links between diet, lactation and the return of fertility after child-birth that this multi-disciplinary workshop was organized.

The contraceptive effect of breast-feeding is frequently emphasized in public health teaching, but the fact that lactation is by no means 100 per cent effective as a method of birth-control is shown in table 14. In some countries - notably India, Zaire, and Ethiopia - a substantial number of women become pregnant while lactating and about 10 per cent become pregnant without menstruation. Quite clearly nutritionists and health workers who are involved in trying to improve the nutritional status of women during pregnancy and lactation need to be aware of potential side-effects on lactational infertility. It has indeed been argued that maternal dietary programmes need to be operated in close conjunction with those public health services providing family planning. In view of this, the working party felt it advisable to review current attitudes towards family planning, birth spacing, and child health in general.

 

TABLE 14. Percentage of Women Pregnant Who Were Still Breast-feeding and Who Said They Became Pregnant without Resumption of Menstruation

Country

Group

Breast-feeding

Pregnant without menstruation

Hungary all

3.4

8.4

Sweden all

0

11.1

Ethiopia rural

30.4

4.2

Nigeria rural

0

0.9

Zaire rural

29.7

1.2

Chile rural

4.2

7.3

Guatemala rural

36.7

2.9

Philippines rural

6.0

8.2

India rural

70.0

11.3

Source: ref. 1.