You may feel elated to not be pregnant anymore now that you’ve given birth. Elated, while simultaneously exhausted and touched out, seems to be the general consensus of new moms the first weeks postpartum, and getting pregnant again is the last thing on your mind. So how soon can you take birth control after giving birth? In addition to you not feeling up for it, The Office on Women's Health noted that getting pregnant too soon is risky for both you and the baby. Becoming pregnant again within a year of giving birth apparently increases the chance for health problems and premature birth.
According to The Office on Women's Health, spacing your pregnancies at least 12 months apart will give your body time to fully recover from your last pregnancy. And as you know, other than abstinence, the best way to prevent a pregnancy is using a contraceptive, whether it’s a form of birth control or condoms.
Apparently, breastfeeding is also a short-term method of birth control in "very specific situations," according to The Office on Women's Health. "The risk of pregnancy is less than two in 100 if all three of these describe you: you have a baby that is less than 6 months old, you exclusively breastfeed (meaning you only feed your baby your breast milk all of the time — no formula, no breast milk from other people, and no solid food), and you still haven’t gotten your period after childbirth," the website noted.
If you aren’t exclusively breastfeeding or don’t want to take the risk, the website suggested "you wait three weeks before using birth control that contains both estrogen and progestin." This includes the patch, vaginal rings, and the pill. "Using these methods in the early weeks after giving birth increases the risk of dangerous blood clots," the article warned.
If you delivered by C-section or have other risk factors for blood clots — which include obesity, history of blood clots, history of stroke, smoking, or preeclampsia — it's recommended by The Office on Women's Health that you wait six weeks to use birth control with progestin and estrogen.
It’s also important to talk to your doctor about which types of birth control interfere with breastfeeding. According to Kelly Mom, "estrogen-containing contraceptives have been linked to low milk supply and a shorter duration of breastfeeding," and progestin-only contraceptives or non-hormonal contraceptives are safer. Kelly Mom suggested using "progestin-only pill (mini-pill), birth control injections (Depo-Provera), progesterone-releasing IUDs (Mirena and Skyla), or a birth control implant, such as Implanon or Nexplanon."
"For most mothers, progestin-only forms of contraception do not cause problems with milk supply," if you start after six to eight weeks postpartum and take normal doses, according to Kelly Mom. "However, there are many reports (most anecdotal, but nevertheless worth paying attention to) that some women do experience supply problems with these pills, so if you choose this method, you still need to proceed with some caution."
Postpartum, having another baby is probably the last thing on your mind, and who could blame you? But before rushing to use hormonal birth control, it’s best to wait three weeks if you had a vaginal delivery, and six weeks if you had a C-section or are prone to blood clots. It also helps that you’re not supposed to have sex for at least six weeks postpartum anyway, so not having sex is a 100 percent foolproof way to not get pregnant. Talk to your doctor about birth control options that work best for you and your body’s needs before starting any birth control regimen.