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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(4):CD001329.

Lactational amenorrhea for family planning.

Author information

1
Dept. of Obstetrics and Gyneacology, Ziekenhuis Amstelveen, Laan van de H. Meesters 8, Amstelveen, 1186 AM, Netherlands. c.l.vanderwijden@wanadoo.nl

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

50 % of pregnancies are unwanted. For several reasons including difficulty in obtaining contraceptives, no or ineffective contraception is used to prevent these unwanted pregnancies. The Lactational Amenorrhoea Method(LAM) however is a contraceptive method available and accessible for many women.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess in fully breastfeeding women, staying amenorrheic, the efficacy of the Lactational Amenorrhoea Method as a contraceptive method. The efficacy of LAM, as defined in 1988 in Bellagio, was compared with alternative definitions of LAM; the outcomes were measured using pregnancy and menstruation life tables.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

DATA SOURCES:

MEDLINE searches from 1966 until 2002 and EMBASE from 1988 until 2002; reference lists of studies and review articles; books related to LAM; published abstracts from breastfeeding, reproductive health, contraceptive conferences; and e-mail communication with coordinators of such studies.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

From 454 potentially relevant studies 154 investigated the risk of pregnancy during LAM or lactational amenorrhea. Two reviewers applied the following inclusion criteria: prospective study, cases and -if available- controls had to be sexually active, pregnancy had to be confirmed by physical examination or a pregnancy test. Life table menstruation rates and life table pregnancy rates were taken as endpoints. Thirteen publications, reporting on 9 intervention groups and 2 control groups, met the inclusion criteria and were included in this systematic review. Their quality was assessed.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two reviewers independently extracted data, disagreements were resolved through discussion. Because of the heterogeneity of the included studies, the studies were analyzed using narrative methods.

MAIN RESULTS:

For the outcome two controlled studies of LAM users reported life table pregnancy rates at 6 months of 0.45 and 2.45 percent and 5 uncontrolled studies of LAM users reported 0-7.5 percent. Life table pregnancy rates of women fully breastfeeding and amenorrheic but not using any contraceptive method were 0.88 in one study and 0.9-1.2 percent (95% CI 0. 0-2.4 ) in a second study, depending on the definition of menstruation used. The life table menstruation rate at 6 months in all studies varied between 11.1-39.4 percent.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS:

No clear difference in life table pregnancy rates was found between women using LAM and supported in doing so, and fully breastfeeding, amenorroic women not using any method. Because the length of lactation amenorrhoea of women using LAM is too different between populations studied, and population specific, it is uncertain whether LAM extends lactational amenorrhoea.

PMID:
14583931
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD001329
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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