After the sheer bliss of having a baby and the physical recuperation you face as a new mother, having another baby (much less having sex) is probably not on your radar. But the fact is that sex will eventually happen again, and with it comes the renewed chance of pregnancy. Unless you're interested in having two babies in the same year, it's wise to choose a form of birth control shortly after birth, if not before.
There are several different options that women can safely choose from after the birth of their baby. Here we'll briefly discuss the wide arrange of options:
You may have heard that breastfeeding can prevent pregnancy and that's true... depending on your breastfeeding practices. Lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) refers to preventing the return of ovulation (and thus potential pregnancy) through exclusive breastfeeding of a baby under the age of six months. When correctly followed, LAM can be extremely effective.
But for LAM to work, you need to breastfeed on demand, which means frequently-- at least every four hours, even at night. Also, you can't give your baby a pacifier or other foods for this method to be effective.
LAM can be a good option for women who are fully committed to on-demand breastfeeding, though it may feel as though you're preventing your fertility merely from pure exhaustion.
Women who choose LAM should feel okay about having another baby in the case a pregnancy occurs. In other words, a back-up form of birth control can give you a lot of peace of mind.
For women who know they don't when they want another baby for a few years, or for ones who just don't want to think about birth control until life's more manageable, intrauterine devices (IUDS) can be a good option. IUDs are a reversible and forgettable form of birth control. After they're in place, they require no maintenance for three to ten years, depending on the type you choose.
Copper IUDs are hormone-free, making them a common choice for breastfeeding mothers who want to avoid hormonal birth control. As a bonus, the copper IUD can be inserted immediately following delivery, which can reduce the pain associated with IUD placement.
Hormonal IUDs like Mirena and Skyla are two other IUD options for women. New moms may prefer these methods to the copper IUD because the hormones of Mirena and Skyla can lessen the duration and heaviness of the menstrual cycle. Your OB doctor will be able to tell you when its safe for you to get an IUD after pregnancy. Learn more about your IUD options.
There are several forms of hormonal birth control that may work for you as a new mom:
If we're being honest, the truth is that you may not feel like having sex for a while. When you do, it may be a lot less frequently than before baby came along. That being said, simple barrier methods like the condom are easy to use until you have enough brainpower to decide exactly what you'll be doing about birth control and more babies.
If you're 100% absolutely sure that you're done having babies, permanent birth control is a good choice. You should consider having the procedure done directly after birth. Learn more about your permanent birth control options.
As your Gainesville prenatal and maternity team, it's our job at All About Women to help you choose a form of birth control that will work for you as a new mother. Talk to us about your thoughts and concerns about birth control at your next prenatal appointment. And as you patiently wait for baby to come, read more on our website about relevant topics including: