Birth Control After Baby

3 experts share their best advice to prevent pregnancy postpartum.

We’re all for having sex after baby arrives (whenever you’re ready, of course!). Let’s remember, though, sex is how that baby got here. And if you’re not quite ready for another baby, it’s time to start taking birth control. Before you simply revert back to your pre-baby birth control — or just skip it altogether — we wanted you to hear some expert opinions on the best way to prevent pregnancy during those first few weeks and months postpartum. So we turned to the founders of Cycles + Sex, a day-long event meant to educate and celebrate women’s menstrual, hormonal, reproductive and sexual health.

Below, hear what 3 of the preeminent birth control experts in the industry think about postpartum pregnancy prevention. Want to hear more? Hit up Cycles + Sex on April 30, and use code WELLROUNDED for 25% off your ticket.

Dr. Robin Berzin, founder and CEO of Parsley Health & co-founder of the physician communication app Cureatr.

What’s your birth control suggestions, advice or guidance for a new mom who doesn’t want to get pregnant again right away?
After years of being out of favor, IUDs are once again becoming a preferred form of birth control in this situation. At Parsley we particularly like the copper IUD for many women. It is a great way to have constant birth control without exposure to the extra hormones she would get from the pill.

What do you wish all new moms knew about birth control?
If you want to be sure you don’t get pregnant, you definitely need to use birth control! You can’t rely on breastfeeding as a form of birth control.

Dr. Alfred Shihata, a world-class researcher in Women’s health, and inventor of FemCap and FemmyCycle.

What’s your birth control suggestions, advice or guidance for a new mom who doesn’t want to get pregnant again right away?
An an expert in birth control, I strongly suggest women breastfeed in the early months after delivery to help suppresses fertility. I also recommend a non-hormonal birth control, like FemCap, to actually put both physical and spermicidal barriers between the sperm and another egg.

What kinds of things should be important to her in this postpartum (and possibly preconception down the line) stage?
One of the biggest challenges for women after delivery is postpartum depression and anxiety. In order to mitigate this risk, I usually recommend avoiding using hormonal birth control that suppresses breastfeeding and may have an impact on postpartum depression.

What do you wish all new moms knew about birth control?
I wish that new mothers understood and applied a breastfeeding plus non-hormonal birth control method to protect from an unwanted pregnancy. Pairing these right after delivery provides the safest approach to birth control for the mother and the baby.

Holly Grigg-Spall, author of “Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control.”

What’s your birth control suggestions, advice or guidance for a new mom who doesn’t want to get pregnant again right away?
In the post-birth period, women can experience hormonal imbalances causing everything from postpartum depression to yeast infections. Adding synthetic hormones into this mix can exacerbate the problem. I suggest a blend of condoms and fertility awareness. It’s tricky to figure out when you first ovulate post-birth and you will have your first period after you first ovulate. This shouldn’t be a source of worry or anxiety, though, you’d just need to consistently use condoms with a separate natural spermicide like Contragel (making a highly effective birth control method together) until your first period, and then start tracking your cycles.

With new mom’s often disrupted sleep patterns in the first year or more, one of the best options for tracking your cycle is the Daysy fertility computer. Simply take your temperature after only 3 hours of consecutive sleep to get your fertility status for the day – a red light means you’re fertile, a green light means you’re not fertile. This way you can have unprotected sex on the days you are not fertile and choose to abstain, use condoms, or do non-baby-making sex stuff on your fertile days, until you’re ready to conceive again.

What do you wish all new moms knew about birth control?
New moms can be vulnerable to coercion from healthcare practitioners when it comes to birth control. Too often women feel pressured into accepting an IUD or implant. I wish that all new moms felt empowered to say no and make their own informed choices.

Photo via The Pleasure Chest.

Jessica Pallay

Jessica Pallay

Jessica Pallay is Co-Founder and Editor of Well Rounded NY. She is a Brooklyn mama to Libby and Elsie, and writes about all things pregnancy and new motherhood.

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