You just had a baby, and most likely the last thing on your mind is having a second one too soon. Sure, babies are a blessing for every woman, but it can be extremely challenging to take care of two of them, especially if they are close in age.
To avoid a new pregnancy while you are breastfeeding, taking birth control might be one of the first solutions you consider.
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Can you take birth control while breastfeeding?
You can definitely use birth control while you are nursing without exposing you or your baby to any side effects.
There are several types of birth control that you can rely on as a breastfeeding mother.
A) IUD (Intrauterine Device) implants
IUD implants are some of the most efficient birth control methods you can count on. You can use Mirena IUD or other types according to your doctor’s recommendation.
- Some mothers decide to have the IUD implant as soon as they give birth or at their first check-up. It is a simple procedure that can be quickly done in the hospital.
- This method is also preferred by most mothers because you don’t have to remember to take a pill each day.
- Your doctor will simply introduce an IUD into your uterus that will prevent unwanted pregnancies.
And it is reversible, meaning that you can take the IUD out when you are ready to try for another baby.
B) Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive method
Breastfeeding is a contraceptive method by itself.
- However, to use breastfeeding as birth control, you need to breastfeed exclusively without giving your baby formula.
- It is efficient for the first 6 months after you had your baby because after this time frame, you will start to introduce solid food, and therefore you will not breastfeed them as often.
- You are also able to use breastfeeding as a birth control method if you didn’t get your menstrual cycle back.
Once you get your period, you will have to rely on other birth control methods.
C) Emergency Contraception Pills
Emergency contraception pills are also safe for nursing mothers. If you need to do that, use a progestin-based tablet recommended by your doctor.
- The chemicals in these pills might get into the breastmilk, but they will not cause any side effects.
- It is essential to ask your doctor and read the indications of the product because not all emergency contraception pills are safe for your baby.
- Some could pass a higher concentration of chemicals into the breastmilk, and there are not enough studies to show how this might impact your baby.
D) Using Mini-pills
Using mini pills is an excellent way to prevent unwanted pregnancies as well. However, you should make sure the mini pills you use are high in progestin and no estrogen.
- Birth control pills with estrogen might reduce your milk flow and affect your breastfeeding.
- Generally, progestin mini-pills are only available under a medical prescription. So, your doctor will recommend the best option for you.
- These pills will also affect your monthly period, which will not be regular, and it will happen mostly in the form of spots.
You can start using mini pills at least 6 weeks after you had your baby, and it is about 87% efficient as a birth control method.
E) Unwanted 72 Pills
There is a particular discussion we have to make about the Unwanted 72 pill. This tablet will work if you take it within 72 hours after you had unprotected intercourse.
- It is highly recommended to talk to your doctor if you are breastfeeding and want to try this contraceptive method.
- There could be significant side effects such as breathing difficulties, abdominal pain, swelling, heavy vaginal bleeding, nausea, tiredness, breast tenderness or pain, and even blood clot formation.
- With such side effects, you should never take Unwanted 72 until you consult your doctor and come to the conclusion that the benefits are more significant than the risks involved.
- It contains progestin, and it might get into the breastmilk. But the concentration it gets to your baby is minimal and not expected to create any side effects for them.
You should always talk to your doctor to find the best birth control method for you. Reading the instructions of these methods doesn’t provide you with enough information to make an educated decision.
- “Contraception after having a baby” – NHS Barts Health. Accessed March 27, 2020. Link.
- “Hormonal IUDs Have No Effect on Lactation or Breastfeeding | University of Utah Health”. Accessed March 27, 2020. Link.
- “Emergency contraception (morning after pill, IUD) – NHS”. Accessed March 27, 2020. Link.
- “Minipill (progestin-only birth control pill) – Mayo Clinic”. Accessed March 27, 2020. Link.
- “Effectiveness of emergency contraceptive pills between 72 and 120 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse. – PubMed – NCBI”. Accessed March 27, 2020. Link.