Birth Control Options After Baby
Gainesville's maternity doctors at All About Women discuss birth control options after the birth of your baby.
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:
Lactational Amenorrhea Method
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.
Other Forms of Hormonal Birth Control
There are several forms of hormonal birth control that may work for you as a new mom:
- Implanon is a matchstick-sized, hormone containing implant that's inserted into your upper arm, where it can prevent pregnancy for up to three years.
- Depo-Provera is a shot of hormones you receive once a month in order to prevent pregnancy. Both of these forms of birth control are pretty low maintenance, making them ideal choices for new moms.
- The Pill: Oral contraception is a great, flexible option for moms. You can quit taking it whenever you're ready for the next kid. But it can be hard for new mother to remember a daily pill, even if she faithfully took the pill for years before the baby came.
More than one mom has discovered she was pregnant again, despite her best efforts to take the pill. Progestin-only mini pills are often preferred by breastfeeding mothers because they're a lower dose birth control, but they must be taken at the same time every day so talk to your doctor if they're a good choice for you.
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.
Permanent Birth Control
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:
- Tips on bringing baby home
- Tips for successful breastfeeding
- Learning the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression.