Having a baby can be scary as well as exciting. You may be feeling sleep deprived and overwhelmed, and you probably have little time, if any, for yourself. But unless you plan to get pregnant again in the immediate future, talk to your healthcare provider before your period returns about whether and when to resume birth control.

Many healthcare providers routinely discourage women from having sex during the first 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth. As your body heals, it's best to use that time to decide whether you prefer to continue relying on abstinence or to start using a birth control product.

Did You Know?
Ovulation (release of an egg) can occur as early as 25 days after delivery. That is why it’s possible to become pregnant very soon after having a baby.
Which options should you consider with your healthcare provider?

If you gave birth within the last 6 weeks and/or are breastfeeding, and you've decided that abstinence is not for you, you may wish to consider either a hormonal birth control product that contains only progestin or a nonhormonal birth control product.

One progestin-only product to consider is a “mini pill,” which is a type of birth control pill. Mini pills should be taken at the same time every day, even on days when you do not plan to have sex.

If you are looking for a progestin-only option that isn't used daily, you may want to consider the birth control injection (often called “the shot”). The shot is given about once every 3 months, for a total of four times a year.

The birth control implant is another progestin-only product to consider. The implant is inserted under the skin of your upper arm and can stay in place for up to 3 years. Your healthcare provider does both the insertion and removal.

One more birth control product to think about is an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is inserted into your uterus by your healthcare provider. The IUD is effective for 3 to 10 years, depending on the specific IUD used.

If none of these birth control products seems right for you, you may wish to consider using a barrier method. Male condoms, female condoms, and spermicide are barrier methods you can use within 6 weeks of giving birth, even if you are breastfeeding.

Once your baby is 6 months old, you can use other barrier methods such as the cervical cap, contraceptive sponge, and diaphragm. However, please follow up with your healthcare provider after having a baby to ensure your barrier method is sized correctly. Also, keep in mind that the cervical cap and sponge are less effective in women who have already had a baby.

Ask your healthcare provider about which options may be right for you. Which Options Are Off Limits?

Women who have recently given birth are at an increased risk for blood clots. Using a product that contains estrogen can further increase that risk. These products (or pills) may also interfere with the production of breast milk.

Birth control products that contain estrogen include the patch, the ring, and certain types of birth control pills. You should not take birth control products with estrogen if you*:

  • Smoke and are over 35 years old
  • Ever had blood clots in your arms, legs, lungs or eyes
  • Ever had a stroke, heart attack
  • Ever had an inherited problem with your blood that makes it clot more than normal
  • Ever had high blood pressure that medicine can't control
  • Ever had diabetes with kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage
  • Ever had breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones
  • Ever had certain kinds of severe migraine headaches with aura, numbness, weakness or changes in vision
  • Ever had liver disease, including liver tumors
  • Have been prescribed any Hepatitis C drug combination containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir
  • Ever had certain heart valve problems or irregular heartbeat that increases your risk of having blood clots
  • Ever had any migraine headaches if you are over 35 years of age
  • Have any unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Are pregnant
*For more information about these and other risks of birth control products, please consult a healthcare provider.
If you recently had a baby and/or are breastfeeding, you have many birth control options to choose from. Don't delay; find out today which options might be best for you.