5 things to know about getting back on birth control after pregnancy

Right time to get back on birth control after pregnancy

Most doctors recommend waiting for up to 18 months before a couple can try again for another baby. A gap of more than a year is crucial because your body needs time to recover from the first pregnancy, and it’s better to wait until your first child has grown up a little so you don’t have a hard time tending two babies at the same time. While a lot of moms depend on breastfeeding alone for birth control, since you don’t ovulate when you’re feeding, it’s not the most reliable method. You surely don’t want to be in a situation where you have to reach for your Home Pregnancy Test Kit too soon. But with everything your body has undergone and the hormones still going crazy, when is the right time to get back on the birth control wagon? Should you stick to the same old pills? Let’s answer all these questions.

When is the right time to start birth control?

It depends on how you’re feeding the baby. If you’re exclusively just breastfeeding the baby, then you will need birth control pills prescribed by your obstetrician. Many regular birth control pills get mixed up with the milk supply and can affect the baby’s health. According to World Health Organization, it’s best for breastfeeding mothers to wait for at least 6 weeks after the baby is born to be able to take progesterone-only birth control pills. Women who are not breastfeeding can start birth control immediately but it is recommended to wait for at least 21 days before taking pills. 

Should I go see my doctor?

Absolutely. It’s not necessary to stick to the same birth control methods that you were using before pregnancy. But it is necessary to get birth control prescribed by your obstetrician. Moreover, confusion surrounding the right time as well as your health and the baby’s well-being are paramount, and only your obstetrician will be able to offer you accurate advice. Your doctor will also discuss alternative forms of birth control, based on your health and requirements. 

Will my birth control pill affect my baby?

A lot of birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin in a combination. These hormones cause your body to produce less milk, providing lesser nutrition to your baby. Moreover, these pills can also cause blood clots after pregnancy. On the other hand, some birth control pills contain only progestin, which does not affect your milk production and supply at all and are safe to take while you’re breastfeeding. It’s important that you discuss your options and timelines with your obstetrician first. 

 While every woman’s body responds differently, birth control pills have been found to trigger mild side effects in many women. These include – nausea, tenderness in the breasts, weight gain, mood swings, headaches, unexpected spotting etc. These side effects appear in the first month or so of taking the pill postpartum, and don’t indicate anything harmful. However, if the symptoms persist for a long duration, make sure you see your doctor immediately.  

Can I use another method of birth control?

Yes. Aside from hormonal methods (like breastfeeding and the pill), there are many other alternatives of contraception. Besides, it’s always useful to have a backup method ready, to avoid any surprises for which you’re not prepared. Discuss with your partner how long you would like to wait before having another baby, weigh the pros and cons of each method with your partner as well as your doctor, and take your own health and comfort into consideration.  You can use the following:

1. Condoms
2. IUDs (Intra Uterine Devices) such asCopper T (a device made of copper that’s fit into your uterine lining) or Progestin device that delivers the hormone directly to the uterine lining. 
3. Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation for men and women respectively, these are permanent solutions, in case you don’t want to have another child at all. Both methods are surgical and permanent. Although a vasectomy can be reversed surgically, a tubal ligation cannot.

Those with a history of blood clots, breast cancer, liver disease, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol or with a smoking habit should stay away from birth control pills, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Consult with your doctor about your family planning strategy thoroughly and only then make the next move. If you have any more questions, drop them in the comments! 



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