Today – Restarting Birth Control After You Have Your Baby
Generally, women are fertile 12 to 14 days before their period. After you have your baby, your periods will typically restart from around six weeks to three months, depending on whether you wholly formula feed, breastfeed, or use both.
Restarting Birth Control After You Have Your Baby – things to consider
Breastfeeding delays the restart of menstruation, and your periods may not return until you stop or reduce breastfeeding. Still, it is possible to become fertile again, even without realising it, sooner than you thought.
So, if you plan to restart birth control after you have a baby, it is recommended that you do it from around three weeks after birth.
Choosing birth control after you have your baby
To decide what birth control method perfectly suits you after having your baby, ask your nurse or doctor about:
• The methods available and how well they can work when used typically or perfectly.
• What contraception methods best suit your lifestyle and body.
• How soon you can begin using birth control and how you, together with your partner, can share responsibility for the method.
• Possible side-effects.
Simply put, try to learn and understand the effectiveness of every method. Keep in mind that no technique is 100 per cent effective (see this CDC infographic for more information on birth control methods).
Can breastfeeding work as birth control?
Breastfeeding as a birth control method only works if you’re exclusively breastfeeding the child on-demand, day and night (which should be at least six long feedings every 24 hours, according to this study), your child is under six months old, and your periods haven’t yet returned. Once your child stops breastfeeding, the method won’t work, and you’ll need to use another form of birth control.
Safe contraception for a breastfeeding mother
If you’re breastfeeding, you can safely use condoms, the mini pill, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, and contraceptive injections. The two types of emergency contraception pills safe for use are:
Copper IUD – This can only be effective if you insert it within five days of having unprotected intercourse, and can offer ongoing protection.
LNG-ECP (levonorgestrel emergency contraception pill) – This is sometimes referred to as the morning-after pill. Keep in mind that the other type, the UPA (ulipristal acetate) pill, is not recommended.
Birth control that isn’t recommended if you’re breastfeeding
Some contraceptive methods are not approved for a breastfeeding mother. They include:
- The vaginal ring
This method contains hormones which prevent ovaries from releasing an egg every month. But it shouldn’t be used when breastfeeding a baby under six weeks old as it can decrease the breastmilk supply.
- The combined progestogen/oestrogen contraceptive pill
This pill has two hormones that prevent pregnancy, reduce bleeding every month, lessen premenstrual symptoms, and help with acne. However, it should not be taken if you’re breastfeeding a baby younger than six weeks as it may decrease the supply of breastmilk.
- Ulipristal acetate
Ulipristal acetate has been clinically proven to be more potent than LNG-EG (levonorgestrel) in decreasing pregnancy risk when taken up to 120 hours or five days after unprotected intercourse. However, because Ulipristal acetate is excreted in breastmilk and its effects on babies are currently unknown, it’s recommended to avoid using this birth control method when breastfeeding.
The final verdict
We hope that you’ve found this piece useful. You should first talk to your doctor or nurse about the options available, which best suit your lifestyle and health, and when you may start to use them.
Also, remember that any birth control method containing oestrogen (like the combined contraceptive pill and the vaginal ring) isn’t recommended unless the child is at least half-bottle fed and six weeks old as it can decrease the supply of breast milk. However, you still have lots of other birth control options.
Finally, before restarting any birth control, be sure you aren’t already pregnant.
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