Why You Should Use Condoms Postpartum

by Irina Gonzalez

You just had a baby and, after the appropriate time of healing, your doctor has finally given you the go-ahead for postpartum sex. But you and your partner aren't ready for another baby right now, so immediately the conversation turns to contraception. Determining the right form of birth control is important and the first question that comes to mind is should you use a condom after having a baby.

According to Parenting, you should discuss your postpartum birth control options with your doctor, midwife, or nurse-practitioner in the few months leading up to giving birth. Having a plan before you go home is ideal, especially because most women resume having intercourse within several weeks of their baby's birth.

When thinking about what type of birth control you and your partner feel most comfortable with, condoms may be a good postpartum option. You must consider some of the changes your body has recently gone through, such as the change in size of your cervix following childbirth and whether you are nursing. The good thing about condoms, however, is that they do not need to be fitted and they do not contain hormones that can interfere with nursing.

In this sense, condoms are actually an ideal form of contraception for new parents. According to Planned Parenthood, condoms are 82 perfect effective (98 perfect, if you don't account for human error), which is great if you're not planning for another baby number right away.

However, you need to pay attention to your body because recovery after childbirth is largely individual, according to Parents. Not only will your partner need a condom, but you may also need to use a personal lubricant. The reason for this is that you may experience vaginal dryness due to your body's balance of estrogen and progesterone being thrown off following childbirth. The best way to alleviate discomfort during sex is with an over-the-counter, water-based vaginal lubricant.

The other thing to keep in mind if you plan to use condoms as birth control after giving birth is that sex might feel different, according to the aforementioned Parents article. In particular, you may need your partner to be gentler than usual as you continue to recover and your partner may have some hidden fears about sex after baby. Make sure you talk to them about what it means to become sexually physical again after giving birth, and take it gradually at the start as you both get comfortable — condoms or not.