Birth Control Options After Having A Baby
Whether you have just delivered your little one or you are approaching your due date, having an understanding of your birth control options afterward is always a good idea. With the excitement of a newborn and the hecticness of giving birth, it is easy to forget about protection in the weeks after.
You are tired, emotional, and busy breastfeeding your little one, so research and adding more to your to-do list is an unlikely option. Questions like, “can I take the same birth control as I was pre-pregnancy?”, are common thoughts that most mothers don’t know the answers to.
Save yourself the headache and allow this to be your one-stop-shop for all your birth control options and questions post-pregnancy.
What is Birth Control?
Starting with the basics is always important. Not every woman who gets pregnant goes on birth control, to begin with. Birth control, which is also known as contraception, is the term that describes the many methods designed to prevent a woman from becoming pregnant.
Birth control can do this in several ways such as:
- Blocking the sperm from reaching the eggs. I.E. Condoms
- Keeping women from releasing the eggs. I.E. Pills
- IUDs and Implants
- Sterilization I.E. Permanent birth control
We will breakdown the types of birth control and their benefits and drawbacks. However, not all of these options will be a great choice for everyone. The type of birth control method you use will depend on your health and preferences.
How soon can you start birth control after having a baby?
It’s important to know that if you had a miscarriage or an abortion you can start taking birth control right away. However, after having a baby there are only certain types of pills you can take right away. Progestin-only pills are safe to take right away.
Here is what you can and cannot take after giving birth to a baby right away.
Any birth control that is hormone-free (estrogen) won’t affect your breastmilk. Here are some of the most common examples of birth controls you can take.
These are referred to as the mini-pill. These bills contain zero estrogen and only progestin. This birth control functions so that the cervical mucus thickens and the uterus lining is thinned. This in turn prevents the sperm from getting to the egg.
This is the non-hormonal option of the IUD that gets put up in your uterus. This mini t-shape decide is wrapped in copper wire that causes an inflammatory reaction that is toxic to sperm and eggs.
Basic and safe if you plan to have sex. Most couples however aren’t thinking about intercourse immediately after a baby is born because of the healing that occurs.
These birth controls contain estrogen which can have an impact on your breastfeeding and health after delivering a child.
The first three can be taken a minimum of three weeks after birth.
Most of the birth control pills women take are considered to be combination pills. These pills have both progestin and estrogen to regulate your hormones. However, estrogen can seep into your breastmilk and end up giving your baby hormones.
The ring is a small plastic circular device that gets inserted once a month into the vagina. This is no difference between the ring and birth control pills when it comes to hormones.
The patch functions identical to the pills and the rings other than you replace it once a week, first, take it every day, or replace it once a month. The patch looks like a square bandage that can be placed on your back.
The next birth control can be taken after a minimum of six weeks postpartum.
This is a silicone device that can be inserted into the vagina to cap off the cervix up to six hours before intercourse. If you were using this meth pre-pregnancy chances are you need to be refitted. It is best to give your cervix a chance to heal and return to normalcy.
Also, a silicone cup that functions identically to a cervical cap. This is also inserted up the vagina several hours before sex.
Birth Control Sponge
Instead of a silicone cup that is inserted up your vagina, it is a foam-like sponge that can be inserted up to 24 hours before intercourse.
Best Birth Control After Pregnancy
While keeping the information above in mind it is less about what is the best birth control out there and more about what are the factors you need to consider. Given that you are healthy and capable of using all different types of birth controls, there are going to be different needs for different women that will determine what the best option is for her.
- Plans of pregnancies in the future
- Health needs
One of the most important factors to consider when figuring out which birth control is going to best fit your needs is determining if and when you will next get pregnant. If you are not planning on having any more children a more permanent solution may be what you want.
However, sterilization often scares people of not having the option in case they change their minds. This is what usually leads people to 10-year IUDs that can be removed by a doctor at any time.
Not every woman also will react to birth controls the same way another woman will. There are a variety of health factors like intolerances and hormonal preferences to be considered.
Medication intolerance is common in some women. Particularly this can be said when women deal with generic versus brand name pills. Because generic pills only have to have a certain percentage of the ingredients of a brand-name pill, some women may become sensitive to the color or minor ingredient differences.
Hormonal preference is also a very common health factor for women when choosing birth controls. While women tend to stay away from estrogen methods within the first couple of weeks, some prefer to avoid them in their entirety because of how they make women feel.
Convenience factors are another reason a woman may choose one method over another. While an IUD or an implant can be left in for years without a second thought, some women may not like the idea of having to go through the trouble to get it inserted by a doctor in the first place. And therefore, also removed by a doctor.
Contrary to that opinion some women hate the idea of having to remember to take a pill every night or morning at the same time of day. Or having to remember to insert something every so often depending on the type of method they are using. In this case, IUD and implants are the better options.
Types of Birth Control
We’ve delved in a little bit about the different types of birth control and what some of their functions are. But there are four main categories that we can consider when it comes to pregnancy prevention.
These four categories listed below differ dramatically from another and produce different effects and have different methods of preventing pregnancy. These are the categories:
Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control comes in the many forms listed above in what you should wait to take either 3-6 weeks postpartum. They can be pills, patches, rings, implants, hormonal IUDs, and more. These hormonal methods are a mix of progestin and estrogen.
Hormonal birth control methods are said to be some of the most effective contraceptives on the market. However, some women try to avoid these to avoid side effects.
Non-Hormonal Birth Control
This could be the progestin-only birth control pills or copper IUD we mentioned. It also includes condoms and several other birth control methods. Women opt for these not only because it avoids producing unwanted side effects but also keeps hormones completely out of their breast milk.
These methods are the physical barriers we place up our vaginas to prevent sperm from entering. This includes condoms, spermicide, the sponge, the cervical cap, and the diaphragm.
Permanent Birth Control
Sterilization is the permanent form of birth control that is effective but also steers people away because of its permanency. This makes it difficult for anyone to change their mind but also it does not prevent STDs as some of the other birth controls may.
It can be done by the women’s fallopian tubes being tied or a man having a vasectomy.
Should you use the same kind of birth control you used before you got pregnant?
Outside the time frame of those 3-6 weeks where you should avoid using hormones, it’s not a bad idea to use birth control that you know your body will respond well to. Some women who were previously on hormonal birth control may find they like it better to be non-hormonal after having a baby.
The best thing to do is go back and address those factors and needs when determining whether you should switch it up or stay with what you know.
Birth Control Side Effects
While briefly mentioned above there are normal side-effects that come with taking both hormonal and non-hormonal birth controls.
Hormonal Birth Control
These hormonal birth control side effects can include but are not limited to:
- Mood: Mood swings are very common where a woman may experience more irritability, feeling down, unexplained sadness, etc.
- Breast Changes: Enlarged breasts due to inflammation or weight changes.
- Weight Changes: Weight gain or loss after taking hormones.
- Bloating and Nausea: Increased bloating and nausea around one’s period.
- Vaginal Irritation: Changes in fluid and/UTIs have been reported effects among some women.
- Blood Pressure: Possible increase of blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure some doctors may recommend against the use of hormonal birth control.
- Hair Growth or Reduction: Increased or decreased pubic hair growth.
Non-Hormonal Birth Control
Having said that some IUDs and Implants can cause adverse reactions as well.
- Hair Loss: Some women have reported a loss of hair when first inserted.
- Acne: An increase of acne on the face and other areas of the skin.
- Cramps: With IUDs and certain implants increased abdominal cramping are early side effects that should go away.
Birth Control Options FAQs
There is a lot of information when it comes to your options for birth control. Even wrapping your head around the information a few times can still lead to some questions. Here are the most common questions women have when It comes to birth control.
How Long Does Birth Control Take to Work?
Some contraceptives get to work right away while others may take a week. The pill if taken within five days of your period will work immediately whereas taken at a time outside of this, will work one week later.
IUDs, especially the copper IUD will work immediately. The implant works similarly to the pill and when it is inserted. The path takes about a week while the NuvaRing will follow the same pattern of the pill and implant. Barrier methods are effective immediately if used properly.
Is Breastfeeding a Form of Birth Control?
This is a myth sort to speak. Or a misconception. While you may not get your period while breastfeeding it does not mean that you cannot get pregnant. You are still ovulating when you are breastfeeding so it is very possible to get pregnant during this time.
When Should I Call A Doctor?
While you should always consult with your doctor and OB-GYN about the best forms of birth control that work for you, it’s not a bad idea to check in if you are getting adverse side-effects. While losing hair, abnormal bleeding, and other signs are common at the start of a new method, persisting effects should lead to a visit to the doctors.
Despite having all the information here there is still so much more to figure out. This is where consulting with your medical professional is best. Within the types of birth control, there are many brands to choose from both generic and brand name. Between yourself and your medical professional, the two of you can find the best fit that aligns with your needs and wants.
While we can’t necessarily say which form of birth control is best for each woman, we can rely on brands that have been around for a long time. Brands like NuvaRing, Nexplanon, ParaGuard, and others had successful results reported by many women.
While it is likely this has become a thought for post-pregnancy it is never too late to start planning. If you are pregnant now and waiting for your little one, start the conversation about safe contraception today!