Think you can’t get pregnant soon after giving birth? Think again! We’ve reviewed the best contraception options for new mums
Exhausted and still in the labour ward, the last thing you expect your midwife to ask you about is your future contraception of choice. But it’s a question you’ll hear. And while at first you might swear blind you’ll never let him near you again, it’s a good idea to have something in place when the time does come.
“You’re not fertile for the first three weeks after the birth,” explains Lynn Hearton, Helpline and Information Services Manager for the Family Planning Association. “But after those 21 days, your fertility returns, so you’ll need to think about contraception.”
“You can go on the pill straight after you give birth, but it needs to be the progestogen-only ‘mini pill’ as the combined pill can suppress your milk supply,” explains Lynn. “If you’re not breastfeeding, you can start taking the combined pill after the 21 days.”
You can use condoms as soon as you like, and they’re an easy option, especially if you’ve already used them before the birth. “You might well feel dry after childbirth, so try a non-oil-based lubricant, which is safe after the birth and while you’re breastfeeding, to help make you more comfortable,” suggests Lynn.
“You can have the contraception injection (real name Depo-Provera) three weeks after the birth, but it’s advisable to wait six weeks instead, as the injection can cause bleeding,” explains Lynn. “You don’t want to confuse this with post-birth bleeding or an infection, which is why it’s best to wait that little bit longer.”
The copper coil can be inserted four weeks after the birth, and is what’s known as a long-acting method, as it stays inserted for five to 10 years. So if you’re planning on having more children soon, it might not be for you.
Implanon, known more commonly as ‘the implant’, can be fitted three weeks after birth as, like the mini pill, it’s progestogen-only. Fitted for three years, it’s another long-acting method to consider.
“I’m keen for my husband to have the snip, but at the moment I use the coil, which is great. It’s simple, easy and long lasting, and I don’t need to worry about buying condoms or taking a pill. I think mums should involve their partner in the ‘contraception chat’ as it’s their responsibility and choice too.”
Eileen Teo, 30, from Lichfield, mum to Kieran, 2, and Caitlin, 6 months
Breastfeeding does suppress ovulation, but you can only rely on it as contraception alone if you abide by all of the below…
If you follow all of the above, you are 98% covered, which is the same success rate as condoms.
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