Many people have questions about breastfeeding and contraception. For most people who’ve just had a baby, getting pregnant again is definitely not a priority! So what do you need to know about contraception and breastfeeding?
- Breastfeeding alone is not a reliable contraception method.
While there is often a dip in fertility while you are breastfeeding exclusively, breastfeeding alone is not a reliable method of contraception. In fact, many unplanned pregnancies happen in the first few months after childbirth! It's much safer to arrange other forms of contraception after giving birth.
- Some contraception methods can be started immediately after childbirth.
The implant, the injection, the mini-pill and condoms do not reduce breast milk production, and are quite effective in preventing pregnancy. Think about which could suit you best, given how busy you might be with a newborn!
- The implant: 99.9% effective, lasts up to 3 years
- The injection: 94% effective, requires 3 monthly injections
- The mini-pill: 91% effective, requires daily pills with strict timing
- Condoms: 79-98% effective, used every time you have sex, and protects from STIs
- Some contraception methods can be started a few weeks after childbirth.
Intra-uterine devices are extremely effective and long-lasting. Unless they are inserted immediately in the 48 hours after childbirth, you will need to wait at least 4 weeks before they can be inserted:
- The hormonal IUD: 99.5% effective, lasts up to 10 years
- The copper IUD: 99.5% effective, lasts up to 10 years
- Some contraception methods are not recommended while breastfeeding, until at least 6 weeks after childbirth.
- The combined contraceptive pill and the vaginal ring are not recommended until at least 6 weeks after childbirth, as they can reduce breastmilk production.
- The diaphragm cannot be used until at least 6 weeks after childbirth, and it is recommended that a nurse or doctor checks if the diaphragm is a good fit for you.
- Emergency contraception is still available while breastfeeding.
- The emergency contraceptive pill “Levonorgestrel” is safe to use while breastfeeding. It is available at pharmacies without prescription, and should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
- The emergency contraceptive pill “Ulipristal” (brand name EllaOne®) is not recommended if you are breastfeeding. If you use this emergency contraception, do not breast-feed your baby in the following week.
- The copper IUD is available as a form of emergency contraception. To be effective as emergency contraception, it must be inserted no more than 5 days after unprotected sex. However, as usually it is inserted at least 4 weeks after childbirth, the copper IUD is only a useful emergency contraception option if the unprotected sex happened 4 weeks or more after childbirth.
If you want to have a chat about the different types of contraception options available, and where in Victoria you can go to get them, 1800 My Options can help! Call us on 1800 696 784, or email firstname.lastname@example.org