What Birth Control Is Best After Having a Baby?

Notebook with the words Birth control on the table.

Women who are pregnant or who have just had a child may wonder when they can return to the routine of using birth control. Thankfully, there are several methods to choose from that are safe to use once you have given birth. It’s important to note that you may need to change your birth control because you have had a child, so talk to your doctor before starting back up again. Here are several options to consider:

birth control, birth control pillsPills are a popular choice for new moms who may want to have more kids in the near future.

Birth control pills

One of the most commonly used forms of birth control is the pill. Many women use it before they try to get pregnant and return to it after they’ve given birth. It’s important to take the pill once a day at the same time to keep your hormones regulated. That may take some adjustment while you learn to manage the schedule of a needy newborn. Consider setting an alarm on your phone to alert you to take the pill once a day. While it could wake you up from a much-needed nap, remembering to take the pill will prevent you from having another kid before you’re ready. Ask your doctor when is the best time to continue taking the same birth control pills that you took before birth. If you are breastfeeding, your obstetrician will likely recommend using a progesterone-only pill so it doesn’t affect your baby.

IUDs

Intrauterine devices are a handy method of birth control because once they are implanted you can pretty much forget about them. They can prevent pregnancy for between 3 and 12 years, and you can easily have a doctor remove the IUD in the event that you want to have another baby. You can become pregnant soon after an IUD removal as it has no long-term effects on your fertility or reproductive system. Your obstetrician will recommend the right timing for inserting an IUD after having a baby. It’s important that your body heals from giving birth so the process isn’t damaging or painful.

“Condoms must be worn correctly to prevent pregnancy.”

Condoms

Condoms provide protection from many sexually transmitted diseases and they’re 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancies. However, condoms require proper usage. The male partner must wear a condom for the entire duration of intercourse in order for the “98 percent effective” statistic to be true. For women who aren’t sure when they want to have another baby and think it might be soon after giving birth, condoms may be a good idea.

Vaginal rings

The vaginal ring delivers hormones for a month. After getting your period, you remove it and insert another. The ring does give off estrogen, so it should not be used while breastfeeding. Moms who prefer this method may choose a different option until they are no longer breastfeeding their newborn and can return to the vaginal ring.


Implants

Another common birth control method for women who don’t want kids in the next three years is the implant. This tiny rod goes into the upper arm and prevents pregnancy for up to three years. You can remove it before then if you want to have another baby. Insertion takes only five minutes, and many women prefer this option because they can breastfeed while using it – it gives off only progesterone and not estrogen.

Talk with your primary care doctor or obstetrician/gynecologist before using birth control after giving birth. He or she will discuss the options that are unique to your medical history and provide guidance on choosing the best one for you and your baby.