The birth of a baby is a joyful, exciting, and, at the same time, shocking event. As parents, you find yourself in a new environment and have to adapt to it. Probably, at such moments, you want to disconnect from the whole world and, for example, pick up a Birmingham City car hire and go on a road trip.
Yes, Sixt in Birmingham offers a large selection of comfortable vehicles that you will find hard to resist. However, while searching for the perfect SIXT car hire deal, the last thing you want to think about is another pregnancy. Firstly, it’s difficult for the mother’s body, and secondly, it’s fraught with serious consequences for the baby in the womb.
According to research from the University of Michigan, maternal mortality increases by 32%, and infants die 10% more often when the interval between birth and subsequent pregnancy is less than 2 years. At the same time, postpartum family planning can reduce the frequency of medical abortions by 90%.
How can you reduce your risk of pregnancy during that time? The answer is to use the best birth control methods while breastfeeding. Keep reading to explore all the available options.
Effective Birth Control Options for Breastfeeding Mothers
1. Lactational amenorrhea
Lactational amenorrhea is a natural contraceptive based on the suppression of ovulation by the hormone prolactin, which stimulates lactation. That is, with active breastfeeding, you can rely on lactational anovulation until the child reaches the age of 4–5 months, subject to certain rules.
The effectiveness of the method is about 98% only if the woman feeds the baby on demand, including at night. This means, daytime breaks are no more than 3–3.5 hours, and a single feeding-to-feeding night break doesn’t exceed 5–6 hours. Reducing the number of feedings for any reason (medical or social) minimizes the effectiveness of the method and makes ovulation unpredictable. Lactational amenorrhea has the following important advantages:
- easy to use;
- doesn’t hurt the mom’s and kid’s health;
- serves as a prevention of postpartum complications;
- has no contraindications.
2. Hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)
Benefit from a hormonal IUD as a cheap and safe contraception while breastfeeding. It resembles a T-shaped object and contains a built-in reservoir with the hormone levonorgestrel inside. It’s gradually released throughout the entire time the intrauterine device is in the uterus. Hormonal IUD:
- affects cervical mucus, thickening it and making it impermeable to sperm;
- causes morphological changes in the endometrium, which complicate embryo implantation;
- inhibits ovulation.
Only a doctor can decide whether to use a hormonal intrauterine device. After examining and discussing with the patient, he determines whether you can place such a coil, and if so, he also places it inside.
The IUD can be used immediately after childbirth or after half a month, with a maximum period of use of about 5 years. However, you can, of course, remove the IUD earlier and thereby return your fertility to its previous level.
3. Single-component contraceptive pills
The good old pills can be safely used during lactation. It’s probably the most popular method of contraception among new mothers and, along with the intrauterine device, the most commonly chosen method. Single-component contraceptive pills:
- suppress ovulation;
- increase the viscosity of cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to penetrate into the uterine cavity;
- affect the endometrium and thereby complicate embryo implantation.
You must take these tablets every day at a specific time for 28 days in a row, in the order indicated on the blister, regardless of bleeding. The next blister begins immediately after the end of the previous package.
The ingredients of these tablets don’t impair lactation. A small part of the active substances in this drug can pass into the mother’s milk, but numerous studies haven’t proven their negative effect on the child’s health and development.
4. Barrier contraception
Barrier contraception is a group of drugs whose action is based on the mechanical impossibility of sperm penetration into the cervix. This is, first of all, a condom that has no contraindications for use (except for individual intolerance), but is highly effective when used correctly. It also protects against sexually transmitted diseases, has no effect on breast milk, and can be used immediately after birth.
Unfortunately, it has disadvantages. The main one is the need to use it immediately before sexual intercourse and maintain a certain discipline.
Birth control for breastfeeding mothers can also be achieved by other barrier methods, including cervical caps, vaginal diaphragms, and spermicides. You should insert the diaphragm or cap 20–30 minutes before sexual intercourse to prevent sperm from entering the cervical canal.
However, the use of these means of barrier contraception is possible only after the end of the postpartum period (6 weeks after birth), with the obligatory determination of the desired size. In combination with lactational amenorrhea, the effectiveness of the method increases to 80–90%. The diaphragm can usually be combined with spermicides, but be sure to remove it 6–24 hours after intercourse, as longer use poses the risk of ascending infection.
Local use of creams, tablets, suppositories, and gels containing spermicides (myristalkonium chloride, benzalkonium chloride, and nonoxynol) is possible when sexual relations are resumed while breastfeeding. The contraceptive effect occurs a few minutes after injection and lasts from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the type of drug. This method is quite effective and allows you to avoid unwanted pregnancies in 95% of cases when used correctly.
So, breastfeeding and family planning are as easy as traveling by car in the United Kingdom. Having a baby is not a reason to forget about each other, and choosing the right contraceptive method is up to you and your partner. Therefore, take into account the opinions and wishes of both, and enjoy the time spent together!