Postpartum Family Planning: What You Should Know

Postpartum family planning is an important issue. You should be well informed of all the options and risk factors so that you can make wise decisions for yourself and your family.
Postpartum Family Planning: What You Should Know
Marisol Rendón Manrique

Written and verified by preschool graduate Marisol Rendón Manrique.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Postpartum family planning is an aspect that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Depending on what you want after giving birth, you’ll have to choose between the different options that exist.

You may not mind getting pregnant again, but if you prefer to delay it, you should select the method that best suits your needs. In addition to the natural methods of avoiding pregnancy right after the first birth, there’s the use of contraceptives. As for these, whether hormonal or a barrier, there’s a great variety to choose from depending on your personal preferences and needs.

One aspect that you should consider before choosing a method is the influence it can have on the breastfeeding process. In the event that you decide to use contraceptives, specifically hormonal ones, professionals recommend that they only contain progestin. For diaphragms, a readjustment is necessary after childbirth due to possible changes in the shape of the woman’s body.

Why is postpartum family planning necessary?

Having a baby too soon after giving birth can cause physical problems for a woman. The possibility of a complicated pregnancy increases if the gestation occurs in less than 18 months after delivery.

Postpartum Family Planning: What You Should Know

There may also be complications in the breastfeeding process. The food may not have enough nutrients necessary for the normal growth of babies.

Pregnancies that are separated by short intervals within the first year after birth are the ones that pose the greatest risk to the mother and the newborn, and represent greater risks of adverse outcomes; such as premature birth, low birth weight, and small neonates for the gestational age.

– Da Vanzo, J. –

What you should know about postpartum family planning

  • Women can get pregnant even before they have their period. This occurs because ovulation takes place two weeks before menstruation.
  • Breastfeeding mothers can also conceive again. Contrary to what many people believe, breastfeeding isn’t a method of birth control.
  • Women who choose not to breastfeed their babies ovulate approximately 45 days after delivery. This can occur between day 25 and day 72 after the baby’s birth.
  • Many family planning methods require weeks to start taking effect. Hence, if you don’t want to have a baby yet, it’s necessary to implement birth control as soon as possible.
  • Women who are breastfeeding shouldn’t use birth control pills that contain estrogen. This will prevent the concentration of hormones in the body from becoming unbalanced.
  • Hormonal contraceptive methods are usually more effective than barrier methods. Pills, patches, IUDs, and injections are up to 99% safe. On the other hand, barrier methods such as a diaphragm, condoms, and spermicides have a lower percentage of efficiency.

How to choose a family planning method?

The following factors are the most important when choosing a birth control method:

  • Time. Some contraceptives can be used as soon as the mother gives birth. Others require a couple of weeks to start acting in the body.
  • Lactation. All methods are safe during breastfeeding. However, not all are convenient because there’s a small chance that they can affect food production.
  • Effectiveness. The method you used before getting pregnant may not be the best postpartum option. This is due to the physical and hormonal changes that a woman’s body goes through after pregnancy.
Postpartum Family Planning: What You Should Know

The most common contraceptive options

  • Intrauterine device (implant that is located in the uterus and can last between 3 and 5 years, depending on your choice).
  • Birth control implants (rods that are inserted into the arm and release progestin; they are also effective for 3 or 5 years).
  • Injections (contain progestin and are responsible for preventing ovulation. You can use them every month or every three months).
  • Combined hormonal methods (pills, rings, and patches. They contain estrogen and progestin and prevent ovulation).
  • Barrier methods (spermicides, female and male condoms, diaphragm, etc. They are responsible for preventing sperm and ovum from joining).

Whatever your choice is, be well informed of the benefits and possible side effects. Remember that taking care of your reproductive health also guarantees your baby’s and partner’s well being. Implement the necessary controls so that each pregnancy is an experience you enjoy with your family.

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  • Association of Reproductive Health Professionals-Method Match –

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