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Choosing The Right Birth Control After You Have A Baby

birth control after having a baby

For a lot of women, the very last thing on their minds right after they have a baby is sex. Those first few weeks postpartum are really difficult! Between recovering and caring for a newborn, it's completely normal to not want to be intimate with your partner. But, while you might not be feeling some kind of way right away, it doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions (just in case). You never know - one day you might wake up and realize your sex drive is back in a big way! And you'll want to be prepared for when that happens.

Birth control after having a baby is an important topic; you can absolutely get pregnant very soon after having a baby, even if you're breastfeeding. Before you have your baby, it's a good idea to get your birth control after baby all lined up.

Does Birth Control Work Right After

Yes! Birth control, when taken or used correctly, will be effective even right after you had a baby. It's also important to use birth control right after having a baby if you want to prevent pregnancy, since you can get pregnant very soon after you've given birth.

Close up portrait of beautiful young mother asian carrying little baby girl in home and sunlight in the morning. Healthcare, love, relationship concept
Credit: iStock

Why Is Postpartum Birth Control Recommended?

Unless you plan on adding to your family right after having a baby, doctors recommend starting some form of birth control immediately after your baby is born. Unintended pregnancies can and do happen in the weeks and months following the birth of a baby. And dealing with an unintended pregnancy during an already stressful time can be incredibly difficult.

How Do I Choose A Postpartum Birth Control Method?

Which postpartum birth control method you use will depend on your needs. Some birth control methods can be started immediately after giving birth, while you will need to wait a few weeks after delivery to start others. If you're breastfeeding, you need to take that into consideration when choosing a birth control method.

For example, an intrauterine device (IUD) can be inserted immediately after delivering your baby, whether you delivered vaginally or via c-section. You can choose the copper IUD, called Paragard, which is hormone-free. Or you can opt for a Mirena, which is a progestin-only hormonal IUD that is safe to use while breastfeeding. IUDs are a great option for long-term birth control that doesn't require any action on your part.

For pill users, look for a progestin-only pill (typically referred to as the mini-pill) if you're looking to start immediately after having your baby. The mini-pill is also safe to take while breastfeeding. If you take a combination pill (the most common pill, contains both progestin and estrogen), you'll need to wait 3-4 weeks after delivery to begin taking your birth control, as the hormones in combo pills can increase your risk of developing blood clots. It's also important to note that doctors recommend the mini-pill for breastfeeding women, as the estrogen in combo pills can affect your milk supply.

You may also consider other hormonal birth control methods, like the shot or implant. Both can be used immediately after giving birth, both are progestin-only and are safe to use while breastfeeding, and both are methods that you can "set and forget", so to speak. Diaphragms, cervical caps, and sponges can be used 6 weeks after you give birth, once your cervix has returned to it's normal size, but you will need to be refitted with a new diaphragm or cap after having a vaginal birth.

Young beautiful mother with her little cute newborn baby girl at home in bedroom. Happy Mothers' Day! Maternity concept.
Credit: iStock

Birth Control And Breastfeeding

First things first - you can ABSOLUTELY get pregnant while breastfeeding! That old wive's tale about breastfeeding being a form of birth control is just a myth. You may not get your period while you're breastfeeding, but you can still ovulate. And if you're ovulating, you can get pregnant! So don't rely on breastfeeding to prevent unwanted pregnancy. If you're nursing, you can use of the birth control methods that are considered safe during breastfeeding: an IUD (cooper or hormonal), the mini-pill, the shot, the implant, or condoms. Avoid hormonal birth control methods that contain estrogen, as they can affect your milk supply.

READ NEXT: New Birth Control Pills Offer More Protection Against Ovarian Cancer

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