A large scale Australian study has shown that among women fully or nearly fully breastfeeding their babies who continue to be “LAM” (lactational amenorrhoeic) ie, in ovulatory limbo, without periods will have good contraceptive protection for at leas

These new findings extend the guidelines provided by the Bellagio Consensus Conference, which concluded that LAM was only an effective contraceptive for six months post partum.

This new Australian study examined how long LAM continued in a healthy group of some 100 women, all members of the Nursing Mother’s Association of Australia.

The study found that the mean duration of LAM was nine and a half months and “anovulation” 10 and a half months. Assuming that those breastfeeding women used other contraceptive measures once they resumed having periods, the study concluded that only 1.7 would have become pregnant by 6 months, 7 per cent by 12 months and 13 per cent by the end of two years. The important variable was whether menstruation had resumed, not whether an infant was receiving supplementary feedings.

This initial 2 per cent failure rate places LAM squarely in the same category of reliability as the condom or the intrauterine device.

“In developing countries, where modern contraceptives may not be freely available or affordable, and where double contraceptive cover is therefore particularly wasteful,” the report says, “prolonged lactational amenorrhoea deserves to be promoted for birth spaces, and other contraceptive use could be postponed until the time of the first post partum menstruation.”

This finding gives further weight to campaigns against the promotion of formula in third world countries, where women are handed formulas and contraceptives by the same agencies.

Giving a feverish child paracetamol might make you feel better, but it isn’t going to do very much for your child.

So concludes a study of 225 children in Montreal between 6 months and 6 years with acute fever. Half were given paracetamol liquid and half a placebo every four hours.

Although parents of the paracetamol treated children rated their children more improved in activity and alertness than the parents of their placebo treated group, there were no significant differences in mood, comfort, appetite or fluid intake. In fact, so few changes were recorded that half the parents of the study subjects incorrectly guessed their children were part of the placebo group.

Since the 19th century, notes the report, “fever has generally been regarded as injurious to health, and antipyretic (anti fever) treatment is now routine, especially in children.

“However, there is no convincing evidence that naturally occurring fevers are harmful, even though many doctors and parents maintain that antipyretic treatment improves the febrile child’s comfort and behaviour. In contrast, studies have clearly shown that fever helps laboratory animals to survive an infection whereas antipyresis increases mortality. Moreover, there is considerable in vitro evidence that a variety of human immunological defences function better at febrile temperatures than at normal ones.”

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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