Postpartum Contraception

Once you have your baby it can be a good idea to start thinking about contraception to give your body time to recover before falling pregnant again if you are wanting to continue growing your family.

Methods of contraception 

Some contraception can be used immediately after your birth but most are not recommended until 6 weeks as your hormones balance out. 

  • contraceptive implant – the implant (Jadelle) lasts for five years and can be removed at any time. It is very effective, and can be inserted immediately after delivery 
  • depo provera injection – the injection is given every 12 weeks and is very effective. It can be started immediately 
  • progestogen-only pill – suitable when breastfeeding 
  • condoms – condoms are a safe and affordable option. Condoms can be used at any time 
  • intra uterine device (IUD) – a copper or hormonal IUD can be inserted immediately after delivery, but it is more common to have it inserted six weeks later. It lasts for five plus years (depending on type) and can be removed at any time. A copper IUD can be inserted as emergency contraception in certain circumstances 
  • combined oral contraceptive pill – It is often avoided until breastfeeding is established 
  • emergency contraceptive pill – the ECP can be used any time after delivery and can be taken up to three days after sex. The ECP is less effective for women who weigh more than 70kg – an emergency IUD can be best in this instance 

Lactational Amenorrhoea Method 

  • Breastfeeding can also be a form of contraception for the first six months after giving birth. However be aware you may ovulate before your first period after having your baby so there is a risk of pregnancy. To be used as an effective contraception, the woman must be less than 6 months post partum, amenorrhoeic (periods have not yet returned), and are fully breastfeeding (i.e. no other liquids given in addition to breastfeeding). The risk of pregnancy increases when the frequency of breastfeeding decreases. For example, if stopping night feeds, bottle feeds, expressing milk or dummy use. 

Long-Acting Reversible forms of contraception are forms of contraception that don’t require you to take action everyday. Read more about LARC options here.

If you have any questions about postpartum contraception speak to your LMC, GP or contact Family Planning. www.familyplanning.org.nz