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Birth Control for New Moms

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After giving birth, sex may be the last thing on your mind.

But this is the time for you and your partner to think about birth control.

As soon as you start having sex again, it's possible to get pregnant, even if you're breastfeeding and/or your period hasn't returned yet.  

You may want to go back to the birth control method you used before the baby, or you might want to try something different.

Here are some questions to ask when choosing a method of birth control:

  • How effective is it
  • Will it affect breastfeeding?
  • How easy is it to use?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How do we feel about it?
  • Will we be protected against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
  • Could we manage another pregnancy now?

Methods of birth control which are NOT reliable and NOT recommended?

  • withdrawing the penis before ejaculation (73-96% effective)
  • douching or rinsing the vagina with a water based or spermicide containing solution after intercourse

Is breastfeeding an effective birth control method? 

Although there are no guarantees, breastfeeding may be effective birth control if all the following criteria apply to you:

  • your baby is under six months old, and
  • your baby is exclusively breastfed during the day (at least every four hours) and at night (at least every 6 hours) , and 
  • your baby is not given a bottle, infant cereal, or soother, and 
  • your period has not yet returned

As soon as your baby is sleeping longer at night or having other foods or fluids, breastfeeding is less likely to work as birth control.

For more information on birth control, talk with your healthcare provider, call the Options for Sexual Health 1-800-SEX-SENSE Line (1-800-739-7367) or call Health Link BC at 8-1-1.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods


Last Updated: August 8, 2013