You can get pregnant as little as three weeks after the birth of a baby, even if you're breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again. Contraception may be the last thing on your mind when you have just had a baby, but many unplanned pregnancies happen in the first few months after delivery.
You should discuss contraception with your midwife and health visitor at your new birth visits and at your six to eight-week postnatal check-ups, but you can also ask your health visitor, midwife, GP or local family planning clinic at any time.
If you are breastfeeding, using the combined contraceptive pill, vaginal ring and contraceptive patch may affect your milk supply and so you are usually advised to wait until the baby is six months old or you have stopped breast feeding. These methods contain oestrogen which may reduce the flow of milk flow, however it is safe to use a progesterone only contraceptive method while breastfeeding.
We don’t want another baby for some time
If you don’t want to get pregnant again for some time you might want to try using a long acting reversible contraceptive (the contraceptive injection, implant or the IUD or IUS (non-hormone and hormone ‘coils’). These methods are very effective, particularly if you have trouble remembering to take the ‘pill’.
See the attached leaflet about contraceptive choices after having a baby or for more details about each method visit the Family Planning Association website on www.fpa.org.uk
Thinking of having another baby?
If you are planning a pregnancy, it’s never too early to start taking folic acid and vitamin D. It is also the best time to make other lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, stopping drinking alcohol, eating a healthy diet and being more active.
Long-term health conditions
If you have any long-term health conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy, please discuss your medication with your consultant or GP to check if they are safe to continue during pregnancy or need switching to another medication. Ideally this conversation should happen before you conceive or as early as possible when you find out you are pregnant.