After giving birth most women since they do not have anything on their minds apart from their babies, they tend to forget about the most important thing that needs their immediate attention. We are talking about postnatal contraceptive methods. If you are not planning on having another baby ten months into having the first one, you definitely need to decide on a contraceptive method.
A lot of women have this notion that if they are breastfeeding, they do not need contraception which is to an extent right, but there is a catch. Breastfeeding can be considered a contraceptive method because it postpones menstruation, but it can only work if it is:
- done frequently and regularly
- if the baby is not more than six months old
- in case you have not started menstruating again
- if you are breastfeeding day and night with a gap of not more than 4 hours between each feed
It has been seen that even when a woman is breastfeeding there is a great chance of her getting pregnant if she does not use contraception as soon as possible.
Usually, a woman is in her fertile period two weeks prior to starting her periods, and they might return after a period of 6 weeks to 3 months after delivery which means that in the absence of proper protection a woman is at risk of getting pregnant again. However, this is not something to be worried about as there are a lot of options available when it comes to contraception after delivery, and they are all quick, safe, and easy.
1st option: The Implant
The progesterone implant known by the brand name Nexplanon is a popular contraception option which is as the name suggests is an implant that is inserted in the arm, and it lasts for up to a period of three years. The whole process involves the insertion of a small rod made of plastic into the arm, which then releases the hormone progesterone into the body. This stops the ovaries from making an egg every month.
The implant might cause some changes in the menstrual cycle and also might cause it to cease altogether in some cases. Since it is one of the safest methods of contraception, many women get it right after giving birth, and the good news is that it also does not pose any risk while breastfeeding.
Nexplanon is one of the quickest and risk-free options when it comes to this type of contraception which easily lets you create a gap between pregnancies. However, some side effects of it include mood swings, weight gain, and changes in the skin. When it comes to its efficacy rate, the implant is 99.95 per cent potent, and one of the safest method of contraception after delivery
II Option: Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An intrauterine device or IUD is a tiny T-shaped device that is placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. These are either made of copper which can last for ten years with an efficacy rate of 99.4 per cent or progesterone ones that last for around five years and come with an efficacy rate of 99.8 per cent. An intrauterine device can be placed inside the uterus either six weeks after giving birth or right after the delivery.
Under post placental placement an intrauterine device is placed inside the uterus 10 minutes after the removal of the placenta. The rate of expulsion, which is the chance of falling out of the IUD device with this method is higher at about 12 per cent as compared to the insertion of the device after a period of 6 weeks. Even then the chances of the IUD falling out is very minimal, and so the benefits of post placental placement are much higher than its cons.
The intrauterine devices known as ParaGuard and Mirena since they do not pose any risk for breastfeeding mothers while also being a reliable method of contraception are a popular choice for post placental placement. These also last for years.
Some facts about them are:
The Mirena intrauterine device contains the hormone progesterone and is effective for a period of 5 years. In some cases, it causes the periods to stop completely and also might cause breakthrough bleeding.
The Paragard intrauterine device is made with a combination of plastic and copper that is effective for about ten years. It does not contain any hormone, and with it, regular bleeding may occur, but they might be painful along with being prolonged. Both of these devices can be removed at any time, which means that a woman will be able to conceive again.
IIIrd Option: The Shot
Depo-Provera® is the shot that contains the hormone progesterone, and it is given every twelve weeks. Unlike the intrauterine devices and the implant opt the shot is not a popular method of contraception among most women. Being devoid of estrogen it can be given right after delivery but those women that are breastfeeding need to wait for a period of 21 days before starting with the Depo- Provera shots.
The side effects include headaches, an uneasy feeling in the stomach, mood swings which can continue for a period of 12 weeks. When used as per the instructions, the shot method has an efficacy rate of 99.8 percent at preventing pregnancy.
Fourth Option: The Mini Pill
The mini-pill, which is also known as the progesterone-only pill, is one of the safest methods of contraception after delivery that a woman can start with right after giving birth. This is a perfect option for those women that are sensitive to the pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone.
Also, it is a perfect choice for those women that want a contraceptive method that they can administer themselves without the need to get it injected or inserted. The mini pill works by turning mucus inside the cervix highly viscous, which makes it very difficult for the sperm to be able to get past it and swim towards the egg.
Along with that the mini pill also causes the uterine wall to get thinner which means that even if the sperm manages to reach the egg and fertilizes it won’t be able to attach itself to the wall of the uterus. Although the mini pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg every month, unlike the combination type pill, it is not that effective at doing that. Even while on the mini pill, some women do get pregnant. The mini pill is the right option if a woman is breastfeeding, is older than 35 years with hypertension, or if they want to avoid the hormone estrogen.
Reference from American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists