Contraception after a baby
When youre up to your elbows in newborn nappies, sex isnt the first thing on your mind, let alone preventing another little bundle of fun. The Family Planning Association on contraception options after birth
Many women feel pressurised to get back to normal as soon as possible after having a baby but its important to take your time and do things at your own pace. This is a time of physical and emotional upheaval, not just for you but for your partner too and it can take a while before you want sex again. When you do though, contraception is something youll need to think about.
When will my periods start again?
If you are fully breastfeeding, your periods will not return until you stop. If you bottle feed or combine bottle and breastfeeding, your first period could start five to eight weeks, maybe a bit longer, after the birth. How quickly could I conceive again?
If you are not fully breastfeeding you can be become pregnant again quickly after birth. You can ovulate (release an egg) within four weeks of birth. So when is an ideal time to start using contraception?
You can use male and female condoms any time as soon as you want to have sex. Hormonal methods of contraception (pills, implants and injections) can be started three weeks (21 days) after birth. Diaphragms or caps and IUDs or IUS can be used around six weeks after giving birth. If you have had a caesarean, you usually have to wait until about eight weeks.
Does breastfeeding really act as a contraceptive?
Yes, its a very effective contraceptive when you are fully breastfeeding a baby under six months old. This is also known as LAM (Lactational Amenorrhoea Method). But remember, fully breastfeeding means what it says: Breastfeeding at regular intervals, day and night Giving your baby no other food or drink, so breastfeeds are never missed Having no periods. If it is very important for you not to get pregnant, play safe and use contraception, whichever way you choose to feed your baby.