What birth control is safe while breastfeeding?

(August 13, 2010)

The chances of a woman getting pregnant after giving birth are quite high, especially if the woman is not breastfeeding her child. Since ovulation takes place before menstruation, it is possible that you have ovulated and that your menstruation will take place in the next two weeks or so. Therefore, even if menstruation is absent, it cannot be assumed that the woman is not fertile. The absence of menstrual cycles also makes it tougher to chart your ovulation dates.

The frequency of breastfeeding also plays a significant role in a woman’s fertility levels. A woman who has decided on exclusive breastfeeding which means that she feeds her baby nothing but breast milk will not get a menstrual cycle as quickly as a woman who is not breastfeeding a baby. However, a nursing mother can start ovulating anytime after three months of lactation. Thus, it is essential that you use birth control because it is normally too early to plan for a second child. However, the choice of birth control is a crucial matter as you are still breastfeeding and would not want to take any medication that will be harmful for your baby while breastfeeding.
 
It is advised that mothers who are still breastfeeding should not use oral contraceptives as they contain estrogen which is directly responsible for reducing the quality of the mothers’ milk along with its quantity. You can however, make use of contraceptives that contain relatively less amounts of these hormones such as progestin- only pills and so on. However, even though these contraceptives do not affect the quality of breast milk, it has considerable side effects and can alter your mood and behavior. Thus, on the whole, the use of hormonal contraceptives is not recommended. On the other hand, it is advised that nursing mothers use the non hormonal or barrier methods for birth control as they are reliable and do no come in the way of breastfeeding. There are a number of non hormonal methods that you can use and these include condoms for male and female, a diaphragm, cervical cap, copper intrauterine contraceptive device, sponge, spermicidal cream, foams, and so on. Couples who have decided not to have any more children can also consider permanent methods such as vasectomy or hysterectomy surgery. Keep in mind, that these permanent methods should only be used if you are absolutely sure that you will not want to have children in the future. Make sure that you discuss contraception options with your doctor when you go in for your next visit.  

Submitted by P T on August 13, 2010 at 01:03

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