Sixty-four percent of women from the intervention area knew all three conditions required for the lactational amenorrhea method at four months postpartum.
The fact that the community workers knew nothing of the lactational amenorrhea method before the intervention and that differing breast-feeding beliefs and practices exist within the community (22) suggest that a longer intervention may be required to improve adoption of the method.
METHODS: An evaluation was conducted of a behavior change communication intervention integrated into the existing government program to increase knowledge and use of the lactational amenorrhea method and postpartum contraception through counseling by community workers.
RESULTS: The follow-up data show increases in knowledge of the lactational amenorrhea method and spacing methods and in use of spacing methods.
The dependence of postpartum women on such traditional practices as postpartum abstinence and prolonged breast-feeding without having correct knowledge of the lactational amenorrhea method also leads to short intervals between pregnancies.
In fact, our respondents seem to underestimate the power of amenorrhea combined with exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months because the lactational amenorrhea method is largely unknown, which seems to be the case in most low-income countries.
Finally, while we initially believed that a better promotion of the lactational amenorrhea method could strongly affect postpartum family planning, our conclusion is more modest.
Short Fabic M and Choi Y, Measuring use of the lactational amenorrhea method through the Demographic and Health Surveys: data quality and implications, paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, April 11-13, 2013.
Women using the lactational amenorrhea method are expected to switch to another family planning method when they reach six months postpartum (or before that date, if they stop breast-feeding exclusively or start their menses).