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Back in the Sack: Birth Control Options After Baby

By Carissa Andrews  •   March 2, 2015

Nervous Couple with Contraceptives by creatista, despositphotos.com
by creatista, despositphotos.com
If you’ve been following some of the other articles I’ve written, you probably already know that I’ve recently given birth. With Valentine’s Day recently over (not to mention my anniversary!), I’ve been giving some thought to the type of birth control we should get started on. My husband and I have enough on our plates with six beautiful kids, so for obvious reasons, we’d like to prevent any accidental miracles – at least for now. But which option is the best one for a nursing mom? I thought I’d share some of the interesting details I’ve found out so far. Consider this a quick sex-ed refresher, in case it’s been a while. I know it has been for me!

Since my last baby 5 years ago, there seems to be a lot of new research out there that states any estrogen related contraceptives should be skipped until after your baby is weaned. This is because it can impede quantity and quality of your milk supply.

Here are a few methods that involve very little cost (if any), and can be implemented as soon as baby arrives.

Timing/Body Methods

1. Lactational Amenorrhea Method

If you’re a new mother who is nursing exclusively, this is an option to consider. However, the clock starts counting down with how long the method can be used from the moment your child is born. Lactational Amenorrhea Method is basically relying on the natural hormones your body produces as you nurse your infant to keep your body in check. This method only works if you are nursing your child at a minimum of every four hours during the day, and every six hours at night. It’s effective for up to six months after your newborn arrives, but if you get your period, all bets are off and a backup plan needs to be put in place.

2. Pull-Out Method

Interestingly, during my research, I’ve found that the internet is dubbing this generation of women and men the “Pullout Generation". More and more couples are opting to use this method, and trying to dispel some of the stigma against it. The pull-out method is safe, free, and doesn’t incorporate hormones, injections, or other devices. It’s important to note that those who practice this method accurately have roughly the same prevention as those who use a condom. But accurately can be difficult for some couples – and should only be practiced when there is a high level of trust with the male partner to know his climax response and act accordingly. That being said, this type of method is really best left for monogamous relationships. One would hope that if you’re using this method right after having a baby, you’re in a monogamous relationship – but that’s not the case, use with caution.

3. Rhythm Method

Knowing your own body and cycles goes a long way towards either getting pregnant, or preventing it. Pregnancy can only occur once you’ve ovulated: no egg means no pregnancy. By tracking your cycle and not having sex during your fertile time of the month, you are basically using the natural “rhythms" of your body to keep you pregnancy free. Obviously, this can be used in reverse to get pregnant, too! Tip: Download a period tracker, to start keeping more accurate accounts of when it’s safe to have sex. After a few months of tracking, you’ll begin to see a clear pattern emerge.

Of course, there are other ways to improve your chances of not getting pregnant. Below are the typical contraceptives we’ve all known about since our first sex-ed course. I’ve broken them down between non-hormonal, hormonal, and permanent. Each of them is valid in their own right, but it’s a matter of deciding which one is right for you and your partner.

Non-Hormonal/Barrier Contraceptive Methods

1. Condoms

2. IUD (copper)

3. Diaphragm

4. Cervical Cap

5. Vaginal Sponge

6. Spermicidal Cream, Jelly, or Foam

Hormonal Contraceptives

1. Progesterone-only Birth Control Pills

2. IUD (progesterone)

3. Depo-Provera

4. Estrogen-Progesterone Birth Control Pills (good for non-nursing moms)

5. Single-Rod Subdermal Contraceptive Implants

The following are the two permanent approaches to birth control. These are for the folks who are 100% sure they no longer want to have any more children.


1. Tubal Ligation

2. Vasectomy

As you can see, there are lots of options out there, and surely one (or more) worth thinking about. I was always a birth control pill gal, but after talking to my doctor and doing a bit more research, this time around I’ll be trying the Mirena IUD (with progesterone). I’m 36, and while we aren’t planning on having any more kids at the moment, we don’t want to close the door completely either. If we decide to give it one more go, it will be relatively soon (we’re not getting any younger!), and Mirena can be safely removed, letting my body resume its natural course right away. There is no lag time like the pill has to wear off and because it’s localized progestin only, it’s a good option while I nurse. For me, all of that equates to the perfect compromise for now.


This article is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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is an passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing.


The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.