Back in the Sack: Birth Control Options After Babyby Carissa Andrews - March 2nd, 2015
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.
1. Lactational Amenorrhea MethodIf 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 MethodInterestingly, 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 MethodKnowing 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
2. IUD (copper)
4. Cervical Cap
5. Vaginal Sponge
6. Spermicidal Cream, Jelly, or Foam
1. Progesterone-only Birth Control Pills
2. IUD (progesterone)
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
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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Carissa Andrews is an passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing.