Many women ask, do you need birth control while breastfeeding? It is a fair question. Read on to learn more about birth control use after having a baby.
You just delivered your beautiful new baby bundle! There is no other feeling in the world like holding your baby in your arms for the first time and kissing her little head. The amount of love you have for your baby is immeasurable. All of these great feelings make you super eager to have more, right?
Well, when you become up to your eye balls in dirty diapers and spit ups, you may be rethinking your strategy on planning to have another baby. Having a baby is a true miracle, but no easy task. So what are your options for prevention of another pregnancy? Let’s discuss it.
Birth Control While Breastfeeding
Are you breastfeeding?
This makes a big difference. If you are planning to breastfeed or already are you must know that the options for birth control are different. You do not want anything that will impede lactation.
Lactation is the hormonal process your body goes through to make breast milk. Birth control are hormones. Some types of birth control can interfere with lactation. And therefore, you need to be aware of what your options are while breastfeeding.
Safe Options for Birth Control While Breastfeeding
IUD intrauterine device
A small device the doctor will place in your uterus. They can do this immediately following delivery, but some studies suggest waiting 6 weeks postpartum to prevent complications.
This is a small device that would be implanted into your upper arm. Recommendations are to wait at least 3 weeks postpartum.
Progestin-only pill. AKA the “mini pill”
If you ever took birth control in the past chances are it was a combination hormonal birth control pill with estrogen in it as well. The mini pill is the most common form of contraception following a birth. The challenge is compliance. This pill needs to be taken at the same time everyday. If you miss even one day, you may ovulate because the hormone levels are so low. You can start taking this immediately.
You may have heard of the Depot shot? This shot you receive every three months. So it is very low maintenance and you don’t have to worry about forgetting any pills.
In other words, condoms. We all know that the efficacy of condoms is not great, but it is a method to mention nonetheless.
Can you get pregnant if you are exclusively breastfeeding?
Some people are under the impression that if you are exclusively breastfeeding, then you cannot get pregnant.
This is not true.
Exclusively breastfeeding can and will significantly decrease your chances of becoming pregnant, but it is not fool proof.
When you are exclusively breastfeeding your body is essentially is still in a pregnant state, hormonally speaking. It is very common for your menstrual period to not return for several months after having our baby if you are exclusively breastfeeding.
Can I still breastfeed after my period returns?
Once your period does return, you may notice a temporary decrease in your breast milk supply. This most commonly occurs when your baby starts being introduced to solid foods.
The time in between nursing sessions gets longer, and therefore your non-pregnancy hormones will start to kick in.
If you continue to breastfeed and/or pump throughout your menstrual period, your milk supply will return to normal.
So in short, yes, you can continue to breastfeed once your period returns.
Factors that influence your probability of pregnancy are:
- Being less than 6 months postpartum
- No time periods of greater than 4 hours between feeding and not providing other foods to infant
- Not having your period (however be careful because you can ovulate BEFORE your first period returns.)
If you are not breastfeeding than you can be open to any form of birth control. Keep in mind when planning for your next pregnancy it is wise to wait AT LEAST 6 months, bare minimum, to give your body and uterus time to recuperate. Discuss your preventative options with your doctor.
I hope this information was helpful to you!