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When to Resume Birth Control After Pregnancy

Apr 1, 2024 | Pregnancy

Having a new baby in the family is a huge life change that influences your decisions about your future. Whether you plan on this being your final pregnancy, want to get pregnant in the future, or aren’t sure yet, you may want to get back on birth control.

You can trust our OB/GYNs and nurse practitioners at The Association for Women’s Health Care to guide you through every step of pregnancy and what comes next.

No matter which type of birth control you prefer, we can make sure you get back on it safely following childbirth. Simply visit our offices in The Loop in Chicago or in Northbrook, Illinois, to consult with our team about birth control after pregnancy.

There isn’t a singular answer to the question of when to restart birth control after pregnancy. It depends on your personal circumstances and preferred birth control method. In this month’s blog, we give you the information you need to decide on the best time to resume yours.

How did your pregnancy end?

Not all pregnancies end in childbirth, though many do. The way your pregnancy ended could influence your decision about when to resume birth control pills.

Childbirth

If you give birth, we can tell you when it’s safe to start taking birth control pills again based on the type you take. You can resume progestin-only pills immediately but should wait at least three weeks to resume combination pills with estrogen and progestin.

While the hormones from combination pills can appear in your breast milk, there isn’t much evidence to indicate that they have a negative effect on your baby. Still, if you’re worried, consult your OB/GYN about when to resume taking combination pills while breastfeeding.

Miscarriage

Unfortunate as it is, around 10-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Until you’re ready to try for another pregnancy, you may resume birth control pills of any kind immediately after a miscarriage.

Abortion

Not all pregnancies are viable. If you terminate your pregnancy with an abortion, regardless of the reason, you can resume taking birth control pills of any kind right away, just as you could after a miscarriage.

Considering your birth control type

Not everyone prefers the pill for various reasons, including hormonal side effects or the inconvenience of having to remember to take it daily. Fortunately, you have other options for postpartum birth control.

Here are a few options to consider and when you can resume them after pregnancy:

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Many women opt to go back to their trusted IUD shortly after pregnancy. While we typically place hormonal IUDs 4-6 weeks after pregnancy during postpartum visits, some OBGYNs are increasingly placing them earlier.

You may be able to get your new IUD as early as three days after childbirth.

Barrier methods

Barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms are safe to use immediately after pregnancy. If you become sexually active again shortly after pregnancy but aren’t able to safely resume hormonal methods for another few weeks, barrier methods and spermicide are good ways to avoid getting pregnant again.

Injections

We administer birth control injections once every three months to prevent pregnancy. If injections are your birth control method of choice, you can safely resume them immediately after giving birth as long as you don’t plan to breastfeed.

If you plan on breastfeeding, talk to your OB/GYN about the best timing for your next injection.

The implant

The implant is a hormonal birth control device that we place under the skin in your arm. It’s small and rod-shaped, and many women like it because they don’t need to think about taking a pill every day or even getting injections every three months.

Implants last three years, and you can get one right after giving birth as long as you don’t plan on breastfeeding.

The bottom line

Always talk to your doctor about resuming birth control after pregnancy. Generally, you need to wait a few weeks to resume hormonal methods, or longer if you’re breastfeeding and concerned about hormones affecting your breast milk.

The best time to bring up postpartum birth control is while you’re still pregnant. To discuss your options with your OB/GYN, contact us at The Association for Women’s Health Care today.