Here at SimpliFed, we know that women’s health spans a multitude of topics. Unfortunately, some of these get swept under the rug. One of these topics is postpartum birth control. It’s often an afterthought for many, but without birth control it is possible to become pregnant again very soon after having a baby. For those who choose it, birth control allows for freedom in family planning, which can be especially beneficial in the postpartum period. Let’s unpack what postpartum birth control may look like, and the advantages it can provide.
What birth control options are available after having a baby…
Almost all of the birth control methods that are available before having a child are still safe and effective once postpartum. Choosing the method that works for you is based on personal preference, but there may be some changes that are important to note. For instance, birth control methods such as the sponge or the cervical cap are less effective after having a child. If either is your preferred method, it may be beneficial to look into other options. Certain birth controls may be started right away such as the IUD, the implant, and the injection. Other options, like traditional barrier methods, shouldn’t be used until following the six week appointment, when most people are cleared to begin sexual activity again. Hormonal methods such as the pill and the patch, may have more complications after having a baby. Women in the postpartum period have a higher risk of developing blood clots, which may be increased by hormonal birth control, specifically for women over the age of 35. In addition, there is a slight risk that the estrogen present in the birth control can change the milk supply. It is recommended not to start hormonal methods until around 5 weeks postpartum when the milk supply has been established, and the risk of clotting is lowered .
How does breastfeeding play a role in postpartum birth control…
Breastfeeding can actually be used as a form of birth control in the postpartum period. Also known as the lactational amenorrhea method, or LAM, your body is unable to become pregnant again while breastfeeding. This works because during exclusive breastfeeding, your body does not ovulate or produce a period. Exclusive breastfeeding is defined as feeding every four hours during the day, and every six hours at night . This method can be tricky to keep up with and for women who choose not to breastfeed, it is not an option. In addition, this method is temporary and after about six months or when your normal period returns, it will be ineffective . However, LAM is a free and natural method of birth control, and when exclusive breastfeeding occurs, is as effective as both an IUD and hormonal birth controls.
We at SimpliFed Believe…
That postpartum health needs a lot more attention! The decision of which birth control to use postpartum, or to use one at all, can be difficult. We believe that by having these conversations we can decrease the stigma, and help women to be happier and healthier postpartum. In addition to reading this blog and consulting the resources listed below, never hesitate to reach out to a medical professional with any questions regarding your postpartum health.
- Postpartum Birth Control. (n.d.). Retrieved January 9, 2021, from https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/postpartum-birth-control
- Parenthood, P. (n.d.). What are the Benefits of Breastfeeding as Birth Control? Retrieved January 9, 2021, from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/breastfeeding/what-are-benefits-using-breastfeeding-birth-control
- Hope Ricciotti, M. (2016, August 14). Birth control right after having a baby: Why it’s important, why it should be covered. Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/birth-control-right-after-having-a-baby-why-its-important-why-it-should-be-covered-2016083110200
- Wisner, W. (2019, October 31). Best Postpartum Birth Control Options. Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://www.verywellfamily.com/postpartum-birth-control-options-4689972
- The Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) for postpartum contraception. (2020, June 01). Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/lactational-amenorrhea-method-lam-postpartum-contraception