Food for thought: Before your baby arrives, decide on a post-delivery birth control

If you are not using a birth control method, you may become pregnant very soon after having a baby. Using a birth control method in the postpartum period helps you avoid an unintended pregnancy.

These postpartum birth control methods will help to prevent you from conceiving another baby before you’re ready. Talk to your doctor about what method is the best for you

The Pill: The birth control pill, which uses hormones to halt ovulation, is fine to use once your doctor has okayed sexual activity, usually at your six-week postpartum checkup. It’s considered 99 percent effective when taken according to schedule. If you’re breastfeeding, your doctor will prescribe a progestin-only pill, also known as the minipill, which won’t affect milk production.

IUD: The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped device that your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) inserts into your uterus. IUDs usually can be inserted right after a vaginal or cesarean delivery or at your first postpartum health care visit.

Depo-Provera: Depo-Provera is a birth control shot is an injection of progestin you are given every three months. The shot suits women who want a highly effective method of contraception but don't want or can't use an IUD, can't take estrogen, or have trouble remembering to take pills. The shot suppresses ovulation; it also thickens the cervical mucus, thereby blocking sperm and preventing fertilization in case ovulation does occur.

Condoms and barrier methods: These prevent sperm from entering the vagina and uterus and fertilizing the egg. Ideally, they should be used in conjunction with spermicide for maximum effectiveness.

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