What Birth Control Is Best After Pregnancy

How Do I Know When To Start Family Planning After Giving Birth

What is the best birth control after having a baby?

The best time to start family planning is while youre still pregnant. Once your baby is born, your days will be full. It may be difficult to make time for a doctors visit before your postnatal checkup.

Its impossible to know when youll start ovulating again after you give birth. Once it happens, you can get pregnant again, even before your period comes back. So, its a good idea to talk to your doctor and plan postpartum birth control before you deliver.

A significant benefit of planning is that you can start several types of birth control immediately after delivery. That means one less thing on your to-do list.

How Soon Can You Get Pregnant

This is a different question just because your fertility has returned doesnt mean pregnancy will happen right away.

This can be a really odd experience for someone who has spent years preventing pregnancy. You might assume that without birth control, you would have conceived immediatelybut thats not entirely accurate.

Once you stop contraceptives, you may conceive the very first fertile month, or you may need to try for up to a year. This is the same as for those who have not used any birth control.

When Can I Have Sex Again After Giving Birth

You can have sex again whenever youre ready! However, your body will need time to recover, and you might feel sore for a while, so its important not to rush yourself.

When youre ready to try, using a lubricant can be really helpful as it can reduce discomfort and friction. Remember too that sex doesnt always have to be penetrative oral sex and intimate touching can be a good way to ease yourself back into sex.

If you have any concerns about your sex life after having a baby, talk to your midwife or health visitor. It can also be helpful to communicate with your partner about what youre feeling.

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When Will Your Period Return After Giving Birth

You can get your period again from a month to over a year after having a baby. This depends largely on how you’re feeding your baby, since breastfeeding typically temporarily stops ovulation . If you’re formula-feeding, your period likely will return within six to eight weeks after giving birth. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, it might be several months to a year before you get your period again.

How Can You Get Pregnant On Your Period

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The chances of getting pregnant when youre on your period are low, but theyre not zero. So how could a pregnancy happen at the same time your body is deciding its not pregnant?

Lets break it down: At ovulation, your ovary releases an egg into your fallopian tube, where it can live for 24 hours awaiting fertilization before it travels to the uterus. Meanwhile, the uterus is building up a lining just in case it needs to host a growing embryo.

If egg meets sperm during ovulation and implants in that lining, bingo baby on board. If not, your body sheds both lining and egg .

Most womens menstrual cycles last about 24 to 28 days, from the first day of their period to the first day of the next period. Because the egg can survive for 24 hours after ovulation and sperm can live inside a woman for up to five days, a woman can get pregnant starting five days before ovulation and ending a day after.

Ovulation usually occurs 14 days before the first day of your next cycle which, if you have a 28-day cycle and a week-long period, leaves you a week between the last day of your period and the first day you ovulate.

But what if you have sex on the last day of your period and you ovulate a few days early? There could still be viable sperm inside you, and you could get pregnant.

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Best Birth Control For Breastfeeding Parents: Can I Start The Pill Right Away

Some researchers think that the estrogen found in combination birth control pills can cause a slight drop in breast milk production. That’s one reason Nathan and Lawson recommend breastfeeding parents choose the progestin-only or “mini pill” if oral contraceptives are their preferred choice of birth control.

Instead, the progestin-only pill or “mini pill” may be prescribed as soon as someone has given birth. Although, it is a little more finicky than the combination pill because it has a lower dose of hormone and has to be taken within a narrower window of time in order to be effective.

Even if you don’t choose to breastfeed, the ACOG recommends waiting three weeks after birth to start a combined birth control method with estrogen, which includes the combination pill, the ring or the patch. This is because estrogen increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the veins, for which there’s already an elevated risk during the postpartum period.

Your doctor may also advise that you choose another birth control method other than the pill if you smoke, are over age 35, have a history of breast cancer or have migraines with aura.

Contraception Does Not Mean Protection From Stis

With the exception of internal and external condoms, contraceptive methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections .

If protection from STIs are needed in addition to the prevention of pregnancy, barrier methods must be used, and may be combined with other forms of birth control.

Only latex and plastic condoms protect against STIs. Lambskin condoms help prevent pregnancy, but do not protect against STIs.

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Hormonal Methods Of Contraception

Progestin-only oral contraceptives, or The Mini-Pill, contain only a progestin . The method, when used daily, is highly effective for breastfeeding women. This method of contraception has a slightly higher failure rate than oral contraceptives containing both estrogen and progestin. During breastfeeding, however, women are not as fertile. A small amount of hormone passes into the breast milk but has no known bad effects on the infant. In fact, some studies have suggested a good effect on the quantity and quality of breast milk. When the woman stops breastfeeding the baby, or when menses returns, some clinicians suggest switching to combination OCs, which have a slightly higher effectiveness.

Combination oral contraceptives, or “The Pill,” contain both estrogen and progestin. The American Academy of Pediatrics has approved the use of low-dose OCs in breastfeeding women once milk production is well established.

and a skin patch contain estrogen and progestin, similar to combination oral contraceptives, or “The Pill.” You should discuss with your doctor if this is an appropriate option for you during breastfeeding. Most often, products which dont contain estrogen are preferred during breastfeeding .

The Mirena IUD releases a very small amount of hormone into the uterus, where it works locally. This IUD does not affect the quality and quantity of breast milk. The Mirena IUD is safe and effective for five years.


Is Breastfeeding An Effective Method Of Birth Control

What Is The Best Birth Control After Giving Birth? | Ask The Doctor

Breastfeeding your newborn can help to prevent pregnancy, but should not be considered an effective method of birth control. Breastfeeding your newborn more often reduces the likelihood that youll ovulate. Without ovulation, you cant get pregnant.

But breastfeeding as contraception isnt 100% effective some people start ovulating again even when breastfeeding exclusively. There are a few additional caveats, too:

  • You have to feed your baby from your breast exclusively. The more you supplement with bottled formula, the more likely ovulation and your period are to return.
  • Its vital to breastfeed your baby often to prevent ovulation. You shouldnt go longer than four hours during the day or six hours between feeding or pumping throughout the night.

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Contraception That Is Safe If You Are Breastfeeding

If you are breastfeeding, you may safely use:

If you need to use emergency contraception the types that are safe to use are:

  • levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill this is one of the two types of emergency contraceptive pills . The other type, the ulipristal acetate pill, is not recommended.
  • copper IUD this is very effective if inserted within five days of having unprotected sex, and can also provide effective ongoing protection.

Contraception that is not recommended if you are breastfeeding

The following contraceptive methods are not recommended if you are breastfeeding:

  • is not recommended before six weeks because it can reduce breastmilk production.
  • The vaginal ring is not recommended for the same reasons as the combined contraceptive pill.
  • The ulipristal acetate emergency contraceptive pill is not recommended, because it is excreted in breastmilk and the effect on an infant is unknown. If women do use it, they are advised not to breastfeed for seven days after using it.

Do Irregular Periods Affect Ovulation

No matter the length of her period, every woman ovulates about 14 days before her next period. So, if you have a 28-day cycle, youll ovulate on day 14, and if you have a 32-day cycle, youll ovulate on day 18. But, when you have an irregular cycle, identifying an ovulation date isnt so easy, because without knowing when youre going to get your period, you dont know when to count back 14 days from.

Women with irregular periods are also more likely to be anovulatory, which means they simply dont ovulate. They may bleed on occasion, but the menstruation isnt following the release of an egg. Carson says women experiencing anovulation likely wont feel typical period pains, such as cramping, and their periods can be light or heavy in flow.

Some women ovulate occasionally but its irregular and unpredictable, which can also make it a challenge to conceive. A woman ovulating with a 28-day cycle ovulates 13 times a year. So there are 13 times in which she can get pregnant and she can figure out when they are, says Carson. But if she ovulates six times a year, right away its half as likely that shell get pregnant. And being irregular will make it a challenge to even track down those six times when youre actually fertile.

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When Will I Start Ovulating Again

It is difficult to predict when your fertility will return. If you are breastfeeding you may not ovulate for months but some breastfeeding women will ovulate as early as the fourth week following childbirth. Women who are not breastfeeding will ovulate even sooner. You can ovulate before your menstrual period returns. Ovulation for many occurs sooner than six weeks after delivery. With such unpredictability, it is very important to use contraception until you are ready to try for another baby. Plans for postpartum contraception should be made while you are still pregnant the method chosen may be started before your six-week postpartum visit with your health care provider.

What Should I Do After Coming Off The Pill

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If you stopped the pill because you are planning on trying to conceive, keep in mind your body needs some time to get its hormone balance back on track. While it can be disappointing to not get a positive pregnancy test right away, remember that this is totally normal.

Tracking your cycle is super helpful when trying to get pregnant and, after ditching the pill, it is even more so. Hormonal shifts and slight irregularities in your cycle may make ovulation less predictable, meaning it could be more difficult to conceive.

Additionally, if you went on the pill to manage hormonal imbalance symptoms such as cramps, acne, or heavy periods, the pill could have been masking subfertility issues that could make it more difficult to conceive. In this case, tracking your cycle and testing your hormones is especially important to get to the root of a potential issue.

While an egg can only live for 12 to 24 hours after its released, healthy sperm may survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days. This time period is called your fertile window and its the only time during your cycle when conception is actually possible.

Its important to identify your fertile window in order to accurately time interourse, to ensure the sperm is waiting for the egg once ovulation occurs. The best way to do this is by testing your luteinizing hormone levels with a test like Proov Predict.

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Will My Side Effects On A Certain Contraception Change After Ive Had A Baby

Unfortunately, as with much of womens health , this hasnt been researched extensively. There has been some patchy research on the bleeding patterns with the implant and injection after pregnancy. This has found no difference in irregular or frequent bleeding compared to what wed usually expect with these methods. The timing of starting the implant or injection after delivery also makes no difference to change in bleeding pattern. Annoyingly, there is no research on more complex side effects such as mood change. However, at The Lowdown, we have heard stories of women who have been really settled on a method of contraception before they got pregnant. On returning to the same method after pregnancy, they found their side effects were completely different! We believe this is only a small minority of women, but we would LOVE to find out more, so if this relates to you, please leave us a review to help other women.

Dont forget, if you have any other questions that we havent covered, use our Get Advice service or drop us a message!


Does Anything Change With Barrier Methods

Both male and female condoms can be used straight after delivery, just like they were beforehand. If you use a diaphragm, you will need to wait for 6 weeks after delivery for the uterus to shrink back down and as your size may have changed, have another fitting. Its advisable to use another method in the meantime.

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Is Birth Control Less Effective After Pregnancy

Most birth control methods are just as effective after having a baby. There are just a few exceptions:

  • If you previously used a diaphragm or cervical cap, youll need to be refitted by your healthcare provider now that youve had a baby.
  • Sponges are less effective in people whove previously given birth. The effectiveness of the sponge drops from 88 percent to 76 percent after birth.

Birth Control Right After Having A Baby: Why Its Important Why It Should Be Covered


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The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently put out a new Committee Opinion, Immediate Postpartum Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. I counsel all my pregnant patients about the option of immediate postpartum birth control in the form of IUDs and implants, both of which are long-acting, reversible contraceptives . The contraceptive implant goes in your arm, and IUD is placed inside your uterus. Immediate postpartum contraception refers to placement of LARC in the period between delivery of a baby and the time a new mother leaves the hospital.

Many women are aware that IUDs and implants are highly effective, safe, and forgettable methods of birth control, including for adolescents. What is less well known is that they are also a convenient and effective option for immediate postpartum contraception. Placing them right after the birth of a baby in the hospital streamlines womens access to contraception, reduces the hassles of appointments in the weeks and months following birth, and lowers the risk of unintended pregnancy and pregnancies that occur sooner than planned. ACOG has long supported efforts to promote education around, access to, and actual use of LARC. However, this is ACOGs first clinical opinion specifically dedicated to immediate postpartum LARC.

About the Author

Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch

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Birth Control After Pregnancy: Know Your Options

5 Minute Read

Medically Reviewed by UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Any new mom will tell you theres a lot of time, energy, and dirty diapers that go into caring for a newborn. Add in exhaustion from lack of sleep and you have the most effective form of birth control after pregnancy abstinence. While sex probably isnt on your mind immediately after bringing home your newborn, it will come up before too long.

Its important to consider your options for birth control after pregnancy before the mood strikes. Thats especially important if youre not planning another pregnancy anytime soon. Heres what you should know about your contraception options after birth and which might be safest for new moms.

What Are The Chances I Can Get Pregnant On My Period

The chances of getting pregnant if you have sex during your period are very low. However, if youve had unprotected sex, it is still possible to get pregnant during your period.

To understand how this can happen, you need to know how your menstrual cycle works.

  • Your cycle starts on the first day of your period and lasts until the first day of your next period.
  • About 10 to 16 days before the start of your next period, you will ovulate, which is when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
  • Once youve ovulated, you enter the Luteal phase, when the now empty follicle develops the corpus luteum, which produces the hormone progesterone.
  • The lining on your uterus thickens in preparation for a fertilized egg to implant.
  • If you have not conceived, then the egg passes into the uterus, hormone levels drop, and the womb lining sheds as you begin your next period.

You are at your most fertile around the time you ovulate. Although the egg lives only for 12 to 24 hours after being released, you can get pregnant even if you have sex days before you ovulate as sperm can live up to five days in your body.

So how likely are you to get pregnant during your period? Well, it depends on a few factors like:

  • whether you used contraception or not
  • the length of your menstrual cycle
  • the length of your period
  • when you had sex

You can also conceive after having sex during your period if you have short menstrual cycles, as this means you ovulate a few days earlier, and closer to the end of your period.

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