Whether you’ve recently given birth or are chasing after toddlers, there are several birth control options available if you are not ready to expand your family just yet.
We get it, the world of birth control can be confusing - but we're here to help and bring you doctor-vetted advice to help you find a reliable form of birth control as you progress through different stages of motherhood. Here’s our top advice:
For your first 3 weeks after giving birth, it is not recommended to use any form of birth control that contains estrogen (such as the combination pill with estrogen, the patch or the ring). Estrogen can put you at higher risk of a blood clot. However, you still have options! There are several progestin-only methods including the progestin-only birth control (known as the “minipill”) and the birth control shot, which can be self-administered at home or by a clinician at the doctor’s office. If you’re looking for something more long-term, an IUD or implant can be provided by your doctor during a postpartum visit.
During the first 6 months after childbirth, breastfeeding can be a natural form of birth control for most women when it is done on a regular schedule and without any supplements. This means that you are exclusively breastfeeding every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night. Your baby needs to consume only breast milk, and it needs to come from the breast, not a bottle. With this regimen, the risk of pregnancy is <5%.
It’s not always easy sticking to this schedule and there are many reasons you might want to supplement breast milk with other alternatives. In those scenarios, breastfeeding moms can use progestin-only birth control, such as progestin-only pills (also known as minipills), since estrogen can sometimes reduce milk supply. In addition to helping maintain a higher volume of milk supply, progestin-only pills are considered to be safer for breastfeeding mothers and infants. Studies have demonstrated very small amounts of progestin detected in the breast milk of mothers who use the progestin-only pill, but no harmful amounts detected in the infant. Your baby will not be harmed whatsoever.
During the postpartum and breastfeeding months, it’s common to experience hormonal fluctuations. If you’re someone who experiences hormonal migraines, birth control can help. Birth control prevents the fluctuation in estrogen that happens before your period, which can steady your hormone levels and mitigate or even eliminate hormonal migraines altogether. Please note: if you’re someone that experiences migraine with aura, you should not take birth control methods that contain estrogen because estrogen could put you at increased risk of blood clots and stroke. Instead, you can consider progestin-only pills or the birth control shot.
If you’re looking to skip your periods altogether, there are many safe ways with different birth control methods:
Additionally, there are some birth control methods where many people will experience lighter or no periods:
If you decide to stop taking birth control at some point, your period will typically return to normal after about a month, but can vary depending on the method.
We know that moms often have busy days, and there are options to take birth control off of your daily to-do list. You can try a once-weekly option like the birth control patch or a once-monthly option like the birth control ring. There’s even a birth control ring you can use all year, called Annovera. Additionally, there’s the birth control shot, which is administered every 3 months.
There are lots of great options for long-acting birth control methods that can last from months to years. Consider the birth control shot, which you can inject yourself right at home just once every 3 months. Or, for even longer-term options, consider the IUD, which is inserted by a doctor and can stay in place up to 12 years, depending on which type of IUD you choose. There’s also the implant, called Nexplanon, which is a small rod that’s inserted under the skin of your arm and effectively prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years.
From the daily pill to the IUD, there are many birth control options to meet your needs no matter what stage of motherhood you’re in. For more information and doctor-vetted advice, visit our homepage and sign up today.