Breast feeding can prevent pregnancy. A woman is born with 4 million eggs. Each month one egg ripens and pops from the ovary into the uterus where it can be fertilized to become a baby. Both birth control pills and breast feeding prevent pregnancy by preventing an egg from being released from the ovaries.

Sucking on the breast stimulates nerve endings in the nipple, sending messages directly to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus that causes it to produce a hormone called prolactin that causes milk to form and be let down. Prolactin also acts directly on the ovary to prevent it from releasing an egg. As long as the baby gets all of its food from the breast, the sucking is usually long and hard enough to prevent an egg from being released. Hard and long sucking on the breast can cause breast milk to form in both men and women.

GA Tommaselli, , Guida, S Palomba, M Barbato, C Nappi Title Using complete breastfeeding and lactational amenorrhoea as birth spacing methods. Contraception, 2000, Vol 61, Iss 4, pp 253-257.

Checked 9/3/05

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