Which birth control option is the right choice? You recently had a baby—and aren't ready for another one. An OBGYN doctor can help you to select a family planning method that works for you. If you're not sure where to start or which type of birth control is the best option for new mothers, take a look at these questions to ask your gynecologist
How Soon Could You Get Pregnant Again?
The answer to this question depends on when you start to ovulate. According to a research review published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, non-lactating women (those who can't or choose not to breastfeed) typically won't ovulate again until six-weeks after giving birth. But it is possible for a woman to ovulate earlier. This means you shouldn't necessarily assume that you can't get pregnant before the six-week postpartum mark. If your regular menstrual cycle is back, you should talk to the OBGYN about birth control methods as soon as possible.
Can You Start Birth Control Immediately After Giving Birth?
Yes—and no. Some types of hormonal birth control methods may increase the risk of developing a serious blood clot. Avoid methods that contain both estrogen and progestin, such as birth control pills, the vaginal ring, and the patch immediately after giving birth. Your OB can discuss a safer time to start these types of birth control methods with you. The doctor will also review your health history and lifestyle factors before recommending or prescribing a hormonal option.
Even though you shouldn't use hormonal birth control right away, you can still take steps to prevent pregnancy. Barrier methods such as condoms and non-hormonal intrauterine devices (such as the copper IUD) are options to explore.
Is the Natural Rhythm Method An Option?
This method uses fertility planning to prevent pregnancy. Instead of a pill or device, you will use a calendar. This helps you to track your most fertile days. In theory, you wouldn't get pregnant if you avoid sex on these days. But if your menstrual cycle hasn't returned to a pre-pregnancy norm yet, you may not have the ability to accurately calculate your most or least fertile days. This can result in an unintended pregnancy. Before you attempt this method, talk to your OBGYN about its effectiveness in postpartum women.
What Should You Do If You Don't Want To Get Pregnant Again?
You've decided that this is your only or last child. Whether you know that you don't want to expand your family again, feel that your age/life stage may interfere with another pregnancy, had an extremely complicated pregnancy that you don't want to repeat, or have any other reason for not getting pregnant again, you can talk to a doctor such as Dr. Ronald Cypher MD in your OBGYN practice about a more permanent solution. These may include sterilization procedures such as tubal ligation (for women) and vasectomy (for men).