The recommended waiting period between the birth of the baby and getting pregnant again is at least a year. This is because it takes that much time for your body to heal and regain health, so as to reduce the chances of complications like low birth weight or miscarriage or preterm birth. Use of a reliable birth control method can be an option for many mothers who are not yet ready for the second pregnancy.
The contraceptives containing estrogen are connected to a lower supply of milk and a short breastfeeding duration. Estrogen does not harm the baby directly but you should refrain from taking something that can potentially reduce the baby’s milk supply.
Breastfeeding itself is a birth control method. When you are breastfeeding, the level prolactin hormone is increased in the body. It can prevent ovulation and, therefore, conception. However, it is good only for six months and that too if you are exclusively breastfeeding. Also, it works only if your baby is fed every four hours and offered no supplement, and your menstrual period has not returned post birth.
There are a number of other options available for effective birth control which we are mentioning in detail for you.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
IUDs are more than 99 percent effective, which makes them the most effective birth control method. IUDs available are of two types – hormonal and non-hormonal. The availability of both is only through a doctor’s prescription. Hormonal IUDs contain progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone hormone. It thickens your cervical mucus and prevents the sperm from reaching the uterus. Hormonal IUDs can also make your period lighter. IUD can be placed right after delivery, but it is better to take advice from your doctor. Some of the side effects include cramping after insertion, spotting between periods, and irregular or heavy bleeding. IUD can be removed when you decide to get pregnant again.
A mini pill is a viable option if you want to take oral contraceptives. The pill also contains progestin so it is safe for breastfeeding mothers. The pill is available only by the doctor’s prescription but can be acquired over the counter too. You are unlikely to have periods if you are taking the pill. You may experience irregular bleeding and spotting as your body adjusts to pills. You can also have headaches and a reduced sex drive. You can start taking the pills after six to eight weeks of the delivery. Stop the pill if you want to get pregnant again and check with your doctor. Fertility in some women can return immediately while for others it may take months to return.
As it says in the name, a barrier method prevents the conception by blocking the sperm to enter the uterus and fertilize the egg. Condoms are the most popular barrier method and work by blocking the sperm’s entry into the vagina. Condoms also provide protection from STIs or STDs. Use condoms with other contraceptive methods, like mini pill, spermicide, or natural family planning, to provide added protection.
Sterilization is a good option if you do not want to have another child. Female sterilization is also called tubal ligation, tubal sterilization, etc. This is a permanent method of birth control. In female sterilization, the fallopian tubes are blocked or cut to prevent pregnancy. It does not have any effect on your menstrual cycle. The risks of this procedure are similar to that of an abdominal surgery including infection, abdominal pain, anaesthesia, etc. Opt for sterilization should only if you are completely sure that you do not want to have a child ever again.