Learn about birth control options and things to consider before you plan your next pregnancy.

If you’ve had your baby and would like to wait before having another, it is important to know your birth control options. It is recommended to space your pregnancies 18 months apart. This will allow your body to recover completely, decreasing the chances of complications with subsequent pregnancies.

Breastfeeding and birth control

Breastfeeding can be an effective birth control method also known as Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM) (though not 100 percent effective and does not prevent against STIs ), as long as you meet all of the following guidelines:

  • Your baby must be less then six months old
  • Solely breastfeeding, no bottles, soother or infant cereal
  • Your baby must feed at least every four hours in the daytime and go no longer then six hours between feeds at night
  • You have not had any periods since your baby was born.

If you do not meet all of the above requirements, then it is recommended that you find an additional method of birth control that is safe when breastfeeding.

Birth control options

There are short and long term options for preventing pregnancy. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. You can decide which one is best for you by learning about its effectiveness, cost and side-effects.

Note: If you are breastfeeding, it is not recommended to use any birth control option that contains the hormone estrogen as it may decrease your milk supply. This includes the pill, patch or ring.

Compare different birth control methods and take time to learn about which birth control option is best for you and your partner. What you were using before getting pregnant may not be the best choice after having a baby. Take time to consider alternatives.

Things to consider

  • Planned timing between pregnancies
  • Whether you are breastfeeding
  • Personal choice and convenience
  • Protection for sexually transmitted disease

Note: Diaphragm or cervical cap may need to be refitted after pregnancy or weight change.

Talk to your health care provider about the best choice for you.