Ok, so sex may be the last thing on your mind right now, but before the urge reappears why not reassess which contraception best suits your needs now you’re a mum. Here’s the lowdown on what’s out there...
If you’re a new mum and still breastfeeding, you won’t be able to take the combined pill as it contains oestrogen which affects your breast milk, so you may want to ask your doctor about alternative options. If you’re not breastfeeding you can take the combined pill 21 days after birth.
How it works
The combined pill contains two hormones: oestrogen and progestogen which are like hormones that occur naturally in your body. It's a highly effective contraceptive, but you need to make sure you follow the instructions on the packet very carefully because if you miss a pill you may not be fully protected and you could get pregnant. There is also a progestogen-only pill may be a good option for you if you can't take a pill that contains oestrogen. Take one pill at the same time each day without a break and check with your GP which one is most suitable for you.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC)
Many women who have just given birth like to use a long acting form of contraception, so they don’t have to think about it after it's fitted. The good thing about most of these methods is that fertility quickly returns when they are removed, so they are perfect for women who are considering having more children. All of the following options below can be used whether you are breastfeeding or not.
How they work
- Intrauterine System (IUS) - Fitted inside the womb it works by releasing a steady dose of a hormone progestogen (the same hormone found in some contraceptive pills). This thickens the cervical mucus to stop sperm from reaching the egg and the womb wall from thickening thus making any fertilised egg unlikely to implant. The IUS can be used for contraception for up to 5 years.
- Intrauterine Device (IUD) - Sits inside the womb stopping sperm from reaching the egg or stopping a fertilised egg implanting. The IUD can be used for up to 5 or 10 years, depending on the type of device.
- Injection - Usually given in the bottom but is sometimes given in the upper arm or leg. It gives you protection from getting pregnant for up to 12 weeks, but you must have regular injections in order to stay protected.
- Subdermal Implant - A small flexible rod that is placed underneath the skin on the inside of the upper arm. You can feel it under the skin but it can’t be seen. It must be fitted by a doctor or healthcare professional and lasts for up to three years.
The IUS, the IUD and the Subdermal Implant need to be fitted by a trained healthcare professional.
- Most women spend less than 10 minutes a year discussing contraception with their healthcare practitioner
- This year is the 50th anniversary of The Pill and there are now over 20 different types of pill available
- You can find more information at www.contraception.co.uk as well as by asking your GP