During those first few months post birth, falling pregnant is possibly the last thing on your mind. However, your body doesn’t know this and your ability to conceive usually returns relatively quickly after birth. It’s also wise to keep in mind that women have fallen pregnant while breastfeeding so it’s not really a 100 per cent reliable contraceptive option.
1. Oral contraceptives
These can usually be started once you’ve had your first postpartum check up at six weeks, unless you’re still breastfeeding. The majority of birth-control pills contain a combination of oestrogen and progestin. If you’re breastfeeding, the oestrogen released from the pill can enter the breast milk and be passed on to your baby. It’s best to seek your GP’s advice before restarting an oral contraceptive.
An easy option for new mums plus there are no hormones that can interfere with breastfeeding. They can be used as soon as you feel ready, just beware it might be dry down there due to hormonal changes. So a little lubricant might help.
3. Cervical cap, diaphragm
Another hormone-free option that can be fitted or refitted at your first postpartum check-up is a diaphragm or cervical cap. By this stage your uterus, cervix and vagina will have recovered and usually have reached the shape and size it will remain, often slightly larger than before pregnancy.
4. Implants or injections
If you’re not breastfeeding then before you leave hospital you can have a time-released progestin device surgically implanted in your arm, or you can get an injection that’s administered four times a year by your doctor. These are hormonal options that might affect your breast milk.
5. The IUD device
The Intrauterine Device is usually a T-shaped device that can be inserted at about the six week mark and there are two main types available. One works by killing sperm before it comes into contact with the egg and can be kept in place for up to 10 years, and the other works by thickening the cervical mucus so a fertilised egg can’t implant itself in the uterus, it needs changed annually.
6. Natural options
For those who prefer not to use the hormonal or mechanical devices, there’s always the option of tracking your cycle by using your body’s indicators, (mucus and body temperature) of fertility. This can be tricky to track until regular cycles return, but if certain beliefs don’t allow this, then the withdrawal method is also a contraceptive option.
7. Tubal ligation
This can be done either following a C-section or vaginal birth or it can be done through keyhole surgery once the uterus has returned to its normal size. In this process your fallopian tubes are tied and then cut. If done with general anaesthesia it could interrupt breastfeeding.
This procedure involves cutting the tubes that carry a man’s sperm from the testes and is done in an urologist’s office. It usually takes about 20 minutes and is performed while the man is awake using local anaesthetic. Following surgery, a semen analysis needs to be taken before he is considered sterile.
Remember there are certain side effects associated with some of the above methods so consult your medical practitioner before deciding on an option.
For more information on breastfeeding click HERE.
Did you know that The Healthy Mummy’s range of delicious smoothies are breastfeeding-friendly?
The Healthy Mummy smoothie has been created to help mums benefit from a wide range of nutrients which can also help support your healthy eating plan and exercise routine if you are trying to lose weight.
The smoothie range has been formulated by leading nutritionists, dietitians and with input from Monash University.
It offers an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and important antioxidants.
It’s also free from any weight loss accelerants, caffeine, contains no wheat ingredients, no fructose, is 96 per cent sugar free and is dairy free.
You can download our information fact sheet here. You can also download the smoothie label and ingredient list here.