Postpartum Birth Control after Your Baby
Postpartum Birth Control after Your Baby
Birth Control. Whether you’re taking a pill at the same time every day or getting a new contraceptive device every few years, birth control is no foreign concept to you. And even if you’re still a few months away from giving birth, it’s important to start considering what birth control you’ll want to go on after having your baby, especially if you don’t want another bundle of joy right away!
Since pregnancy and childbirth cause a lot of changes that ultimately impact which birth control you’ll go on, let’s take a look at your options:
Postpartum Birth Control Options
There’s no special birth control available only to women who’ve had a baby; your birth control options are the same as they were before you got pregnant. But factors like the size of your cervix after childbirth and if you plan on breastfeeding can affect which birth control methods will work for you.
Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control offers some of the most effective options out there because it stops ovulation, preventing an egg from being fertilized by sperm.
- Oral Contraceptives: Most birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progestin in order to prevent pregnancy. If you’re not planning on breastfeeding, your doctor can give you a prescription immediately and you can start taking the pill 3-4 weeks after giving birth. If you are nursing and take birth control pills, there’s a chance estrogen will decrease the mineral content of your milk and be passed on to the baby. While there’s no evidence to suggest any danger in this, it’s best to wait until after you’re done nursing or to try a different birth control method.
If you’re good at taking the pill at the same time every day and don’t want to try something else, there is a mini-pill option that can be taken while breastfeeding because it only contains a small dose of progestin.
Effectiveness: 95% (when taken correctly)
- Intrauterine Devices (IUDs): Many women consider IUDs their preferred form of birth control because they don’t have to remember to take it every day like they do with birth control pills. This t-shaped device releases progestin to thicken the cervical mucus to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. If you’re breastfeeding or just don’t want to deal with more hormones, there’s a non-hormonal version (Paragard) made of plastic and copper that kills sperm before getting to an egg and lasts for 10 years. Downsides? No matter which version you choose, the device usually can’t be inserted until 4-6 weeks after childbirth when the uterus is back its normal size. Those who have had cesarean sections should work with their doctor to determine if another method is best for them.
- Depo-Provera Injection: This progestin contraceptive can be administered immediately after childbirth if you don’t plan on breastfeeding. You’ll need to see your doctor four times a year to get it injected in order to make sure it stays effective.
- Norplant Implant: Similar to the Depo-Provera Injection, you can have the Norplant Implant administered as soon as you’d like, as long as you’re not breastfeeding. This contraceptive device gets inserted into your arm to release progestin to prevent pregnancy and is effective for five years before needing to be replaced.
Barrier Birth Control
You can choose between the diaphragm and cervical cap if hormonal contraceptives aren’t your birth control of choice. While neither of these options contain hormones, you still have to wait until your first postpartum appointment when your cervix and uterus have healed in order to get fitted properly. Even then though, these methods aren’t as effective as hormonal contraceptives in preventing pregnancy (diaphragm – 80%; cervical cap – 60%). Be sure to discuss the risks with your doctor.
If you and your spouse know you don’t want any more kids, tubal ligation or a vasectomy are effective routes to take in preventing any further pregnancies. Tubal ligation – cutting and tying the fallopian tubes – is 99% effective and can be done either surgically right after childbirth or laparoscopically a few months later. A vasectomy – cutting the tubes that carry sperm from the testes – is also 99% effective and is safer, faster and more affordable than tubal ligation. It’s best to talk with your spouse and doctor about the right option for you.
King’s Daughters’ Health Obstetrician Providers
At King’s Daughters’ Health, our family-centered obstetricians can help you determine what birth control to go on after having your baby. Contact us today to learn more about our OB-GYN team and the maternity care services we provide.
CALL TODAY: 812-801-0856