Post-natal contraception advice
After pregnancy a lot of women are unsure what contraception they can use and what will be best for them. There are a lot of questions that are commonly asked and this blog post aims to offer some contraception advice to the confused.
How soon do I need to use contraception?
You can get pregnant three weeks after the birth of your child, but it is not possible to get pregnant before this. A lot of women think they can’t get pregnant if their periods haven’t restarted but this is not true. Three weeks is the maximum time before you can pregnant again, so women are advised to start contraception by this point.
What contraception can I take?
All contraception is available and safe for those who have just had a baby. The choice is purely based on preference. Our contraception advice is that you should consider the following factors: medical history, any problems you’ve previously had in your pregnancy and whether you are breastfeeding.
When can I start my chosen method of contraception?
The contraception advice we give on when you can start varies between forms of contraception.
The following methods can be used straight after birth:
- Progestogen-only pill.
- External (male) or internal (female) condoms.
- Contraceptive implant.
- Contraceptive injection.
Please be aware that you are likely to have heavy and irregular bleeding when using the contraceptive injection within the first six weeks after giving birth.
- Fertility awareness methods.
Our contraception advice here is to be cautious as it may be harder to understand when you’re fertile immediately after birth.
The following methods can be used three weeks after giving birth or six weeks if breastfeeding:
- Combined pill
- The contraceptive patch
- Vaginal ring.
The following methods can be used four weeks after giving birth:
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Intrauterine system (IUS).
These can both be fitted within 48 hours of giving birth.
Our contraception advice: always check with your doctor before starting any form of contraception whether post-partum or if this is your first time.
Will breastfeeding act as a contraceptive?
You may have heard that breastfeeding can act as contraception after pregnancy and you would be right. This method, lactational amenorrhoea (LAM) can be used for up to six months after giving birth.
LAM will only work if the following conditions apply:
- You’re fully breastfeeding.
- Your baby is less than 6 months old.
- You haven’t had your first period since the birth.
Pregnancy could occur if any of these conditions change but otherwise the method has been found to be 98% effective.
Can I use emergency contraception?
You can use the emergency pill from 21 days after birth and the emergency IUD from 28 days. Our contraception advice is to discard your breast milk for a week if you take an emergency pill containing ‘ulipristal acetate’.