Although the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) is commonly used for contraception, it frequently fails and pregnancy ensues. This descriptive study was conducted to determine the status of the use of breastfeeding as a method of family planning and the influential factors that may have contributed to the success or failure of LAM. The research sample was comprised of 188 women with 6-month-old infants in eastern Turkey. A semistructured interview form was used for data collection in face-to-face meetings with the women during visits in their homes. In this study, 34% of the women used LAM to prevent pregnancy after childbirth. However, it was observed that only 17.2% of women using LAM fulfilled the LAM criteria with success, and 82.8% did not fulfill one or more of the LAM criteria. The pregnancy rate of women using this method was 32.8%. Two of the three basic criteria necessary for LAM to be effective were not met by the women: having menses (43.8%) and starting supplemental feeding (70.3%).
Prenatal and postnatal counseling services need to be integrated and include information and education about the criteria that are necessary for LAM to be used effectively. These services should be given to women who choose to use LAM for contraception.