Postpartum Contraception: When Should You Start Taking Contraception After Giving Birth?

Postpartum Contraception: When Should You Start Taking Contraception After Giving Birth?
Contraception is not required during the first 21 days following birth.

Postpartum contraception is crucial since conceiving too soon after childbirth can be risky for both the mother and baby.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : April 26, 2023 8:08 PM IST

Conceiving too soon after childbirth can be dangerous for both the mother and baby. Becoming pregnant within six months of a live birth is associated with increased risk of premature birth, placental abruption, low birth weight, congenital disorders, schizophrenia, maternal anemia and autism in second-born children. Read on to know the ideal interval between pregnancies and postpartum contraception.

Women can become pregnant as early as 21 days after birth, says Dr. Shalini Vijay, Senior Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Lullanagar.

She continues, "Postpartum contraception should be discussed with healthcare practitioners before a woman is discharged from maternity services. This is significant for two reasons: first, women are frequently too preoccupied with their newborn to seek contraception advice after discharge; and second, a birth-to-conception time of fewer than 12 months increases the risk of premature delivery, low birth weight, small-for-gestational-age babies, and foetal mortality."

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What is Postpartum Contraception?

Dr. Shalini replies:

Postpartum contraception is used in the first 12 months after giving birth to avoid unwanted and closely spaced births. Postpartum contraception is especially crucial since pregnancies at this time pose the highest danger to both mother and baby.

Contraception is not required during the first 21 days following birth, but we advise women to plan ahead of time because having a new baby is a hectic time for families. Discuss postpartum contraception with your midwife or a nurse to determine the best option for you.

When women should start taking contraception after giving birth?

Dr. Shalini replies:

Women are often fertile two weeks before their menstruation. Your periods will return between six weeks and three months after having a baby, depending on whether you exclusively breastfeed, formula feed, or utilise a combination of the two.

Periods may not resume until you lessen or discontinue nursing. You may, nevertheless, become fertile without realising it. If you intend to use contraception after giving birth, it is suggested that you begin three weeks following the delivery.

If contraception is started during the first 21 days, no further precautions are necessary; however, if it has been longer than this, the normal precautions for each contraceptive technique are required. If it has been more than three weeks following birth, women should take a pregnancy test before beginning contraception.

If a woman is not using contraception and has had unprotected intercourse for more than three weeks, ulipristal acetate or levonorgestrel can be safely administered as emergency contraception. The IUD is safe to use four weeks after birth. Breastfeeding mothers should stop nursing for one week after taking ulipristal acetate and instead express and discard their milk.

The Right Gap Between Pregnancies

Most doctors recommend waiting for 18 to 24 months after giving birth before trying to conceive again, especially for women who had a C-section. It is important to give enough time for recovery and healing from the previous delivery to reduce the complications in the next pregnancy.

What if I become pregnant before the recommended time frame? You can still have a healthy pregnancy with proper prenatal care. Talk to your doctor about it early on.

If do not want to wait for long to have another child due to your age or for other reasons, consult your doctor.

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