Contraception after giving birth
You likely do not want to get pregnant too soon after delivery, and you may choose to get some form of contraception right after birth. In addition, it's not safe to get pregnant within 18 months after a cesarean section, so birth control is something you will have to think about.
You will have a lot going when you have a new baby, and the last thing your will probably want to think about is what contraceptive method you are going to use. A lot of couples find that a baby waking up at all hours of the day and night does the job just fine. If somehow you still find time for intimacy, congratulations! You are a lucky person indeed. Just in case you will catch a minute or two, you will definitely like having birth control already sorted out.
So, what are the best options?
To a large extent, this depends on personal preference. Here are some birth control methods you might want to consider.
1) Exclusively breastfeeding on demand has been shown to be a very unreliable birth control method. Even if you exclusively breastfeed, which means not supplementing with formula, or giving your baby solids, and nursing your baby whenever he or she wants, breastfeeding as a birth control method is imperfect. Many women start ovulating as early as 3-4 months after delivery.
2) Charting to avoid getting pregnant may sometimes give you insights into your fertility, and can help you avoid getting pregnant. However, after pregnancy the typical fertility signs may not be there, so charting your fertility postpartum is not a good idea.
3) Using condoms is a very popular choice after having a baby. This is an effective method that does not involve hormones, and therefore allows your body to recover from pregnancy and birth more easily. However, you must use condoms all the time and not make any mistakes when using them.
4) The birth control pill is another common choice. Please be aware that you are only able to use certain birth control pills such as progestin-only pills if you are breastfeeding.
5) An intrauterine device (IUD). IUDs are great contraceptives and they are safe. They can be inserted while you are still in the hospital or shortly afterwards. IUDs are available both in hormone-free and hormone-added varieties.
6) Injectable contraceptives such as depo provera work well for preventing ovulation. They are injected once every three months. However, they can delay ovulation for some time, and are not the best contraceptives if you want to get pregnant soon. Ovulation can be delayed for up to 6-9 months after the last injection.
Of course, no method is absolutely fail-safe, except for total abstenance, but these previously mentioned contraceptive methods, if used properly, tend to be very reliable in avoiding pregnancy.
Learn more about other birth control methods in our Birth Control Guide!