After nine months without worrying, what are the best post-birth contraception choices when you're not ready for baby number two?
While labour itself may have just proved to be the world’s most effective contraception (‘You’re never coming near me again’, etc…), you will get the urge again, promise – and it pays to get clued-up.
You can never be too careful
Although you’ll probably be advised not to have sex until after your six-week check-up, some women feel ready before then. And while you can’t get pregnant for 21 days after giving birth, you’ll need contraception after that.
Exclusively breastfeeding does offer some contraceptive protection for the first few months, it certainly isn’t foolproof, so discuss options with your GP as soon as you want to start having sex again.
Don’t use your period as an indicator
You can become pregnant even before your period returns, as ovulation occurs around two weeks before. If you want to go back on the Pill, the hormone oestrogen may reduce milk flow so, if you’re breastfeeding, a progestogen-only pill is recommended.
You take it continuously, so you won’t have any regular bleeding. You can also take the morning-after pill if you’ve had a slip-up and aren’t planning another pregnancy.
You may be too tired to remember to take the Pill, so consider a more low-maintenance option
Consider ‘fit and forget’ options
You may well be too busy or tired to remember to take the Pill at the right time, so consider a more low-maintenance option, such as the contraceptive injection, the implant, the intrauterine system (IUS) or the non-hormonal intrauterine device (IUD).
If you want to try for another baby, the implant, IUS and IUD can be removed, and your normal fertility should return to normal straightaway. It takes longer with the injection, so weigh up what suits you best. For more advice, visit the Family Planning Association.