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The chance of conception during lactation

  • Jeroen K. van Ginneken (a1)

Many mothers in low-income countries, particularly in rural areas, nurse their children for 1–2 years on the average. The main purpose of this practice is, of course, to provide the newborn child with the nutrition necessary for its survival. Prolonged breast-feeding, however, also has a birth-spacing effect and postpones the next pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation and by delaying resumption of the menstrual cycle. Suckling of the infant is important for this suppression of the menstrual cycle because it leads to the release of prolactin, which not only plays an important role in milk production but also inhibits the release of gonadotrophins which initiate resumption of the menstrual cycle. For further details about these endocrinological aspects of lactation see, for example, Rolland et al. (1975); Thomson, Hytten & Black (1975) and Buchanan (1975).

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M.L. Berman , K. Hanson & I.L. Hellman (1972) Effect of breast-feeding on post-partum menstruation, ovulation and pregnancy in Alaskan Eskimos. Am. J. Obstet. Gynec. 114, 524.

P. Cantrelle & H. Leridon (1971) Breastfeeding, mortality in childhood and fertility in a rural zone of Senegal. Popul. Stud. 25, 505.

L. Chen , S. Ahmed , M. Gesche & W. Mosley (1974) A prospective study of birth interval dynamics in rural Bangladesh. Popul. Stud. 28, 277.

A. Chowdhury , A. Khan & L. Chen (1976) The effect of child mortality experience on subsequent fertility in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Popul. Stud. 30, 2.

A.K. Jain (1969) Pregnancy outcome and the time required for the next conception. Popul. Stud. 23, 69.

A. Jain , T. Hsu , R. Freedman & M. Chang (1970) Demographic aspects of lactation and post-partum amenorrhoea. Demography, 7, 255.

I. Kamal , F. Hefnawi , M. Ghoneim , M. Talaat , N. Younis , A. Tagui & M. Abdalla (1969) Clinical, biochemical and experimental studies on lactation. I. Lactation pattern in Egyptian women. Am. J. Obstet. Gynec. 105, 314.

A. Perez , P. Vela , R. Potter & G.S. Masnick (1971) Timing and sequence of resuming ovulation and menstruation after childbirth. Popul. Stud. 25, 491.

R.G. Potter (1963) Birth intervals: structure and change. Popul. Stud. 17, 155.

R. Rolland , R. Lequin , L. Schellekens & F. De Jong (1975) The role of prolactin in the restoration of ovarian function during the early post-partum period in the human female. I. A study during physiological lactation. Clin. Endocr. 4, 15.

M. Singarimbun & C. Manning (1976) Breastfeeding, amenorrhoea and abstinence in a Javanese village: a case study in Mojolama. Stud. Fam. Plann. 7, No. 6.

J. Van Ginneken (1974) Prolonged breastfeeding as a birth spacing method. Stud. Fam. Plann. 5, 201; J. envir. Child Hlth, 21, 59.

H. Vis , M. Bossuyt , P. Hennart & M. Carrael (1975) The health of mother and child in rural Central Africa. Stud. Fam. Plann. 6, No. 12.

J.B. Wyon & J.E. Gordon (1971) The Khanna Study: Population Problems in the Rural Punjab. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

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Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
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