Birth Control After Childbirth

"After I give birth, how quickly should I resume my birth control to prevent getting pregnant again?"

Even if you’re breastfeeding or your period hasn’t returned, it's still possible to become pregnant. Because a woman may begin ovulating as early as 25 days after days after birth and many forms of birth control take a couple of weeks to become effective, new moms should begin using a birth control method within the first few weeks after giving birth in order to avoid an unintended pregnancy.

When choosing your postpartum form of birth control, it’s important to consider the timing and whether or not you plan to breastfeed. You can begin some forms of birth control immediately after giving birth, but with other methods you may need to wait a few weeks. For example, the combined pill, vaginal ring, and contraceptive patch may affect your milk supply, so doctors recommend waiting six months before using these birth control methods.

If you’ve just had a baby, and don’t want to get pregnant again right away, there are several birth control methods you can choose from, some can even be started before you leave the hospital! Both copper and hormonal IUDs, and the birth control implant can be can be inserted immediately after delivery. The birth control shot can also be given to you before you’re discharged from the hospital. Following the birth of you baby, both male and female condoms can be used as soon as you feel ready to have sex again. If you’re breastfeeding and decide to go with the pill, choose progestin-only pills (POPs). You can begin taking POPs right after giving birth, and unlike combination birth control pills, POPs won’t affect your milk supply if you choose to breastfeed. If you know you’re done having kids, sterilization can be a very effective birth control method. Sterilization procedures are often done during a c-section or within the first two days following a vaginal delivery.

Whichever method you choose, it’s important to think ahead and have a postpartum birth control plan in order to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

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