Formative Research on the Promotion of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method and Exclusive Breastfeeding in Madagascar

cover of reportThe lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) is a modern contraceptive method based on the natural period of infertility after childbirth. It is effective as long as a mother’s menses has not returned since her baby was born, she exclusively breastfeeds her baby, and her baby is under 6 months of age. Promoting LAM and exclusive breastfeeding simultaneously can improve infant nutrition and support the healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. In Madagascar, where the use of LAM, other modern contraceptive methods, and exclusive breastfeeding is low among postpartum women, FANTA conducted a literature review and a formative research study to help inform efforts to promote use of LAM and exclusive breastfeeding in USAID/Madagascar programs. The study was conducted in Madagascar’s Ambilobe District, DIANA region. While the study had a relatively small sample and relied on respondents’ recall of exclusive breastfeeding, it yielded findings that helped identify several strategies for strengthening exclusive breastfeeding and use of modern contraception such as LAM among postpartum women in Ambilobe. Strategies include strengthening training for health care providers and community health workers; counseling pregnant women on exclusive breastfeeding and modern contraception use during antenatal visits, at delivery, and during the first 6 months postpartum; and identifying ways to involve men and others in the community in promoting and supporting those practices.   

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