Birth Control After Pregnancy: While pregnant or after delivery, you may be thinking about starting birth control. Your healthcare provider can help you determine which contraceptive method is right for you. 

Immediate Birth Control Options Following Delivery

Permanent birth control options upon delivery include the intrauterine device and tubal ligation. Your healthcare provider will insert the IUD. This releases progestin into the uterus and prevents sperm from reaching eggs. Tubal ligation is permanent and requires surgery. It is safe to begin the pill and patch methods three to four weeks after delivery, but no sooner due to the increased risk of blood clots. 

Birth Control Options While Breastfeeding

If you plan to breastfeed, choose a method that is progestin-only. Estrogen-based methods can decrease the milk supply. Progestin-only options include the shot, the implant, condoms, the mini-pill, Paragard, and IUD. 

The birth control shot is effective for three months at a time. You can begin this method immediately after delivery. The implant method is a flexible, small plastic rod. Your healthcare provider will insert the implant into your arm. This method is effective for three years. Condoms are non-hormonal and produced for both males and females. The mini-pill is like the combination pills, but the mini-pill is progestin-only. Paragard is a different form of an IUD, which triggers inflammation to sperm, and is effective for 10 years. 

Alternative Hormonal Methods of Birth Control

The birth control pill is the combination pill with estrogen and progestin. The pill must be taken at the same time every day. Another option is the patch. The patch can be applied to your arm or abdomen. This must be used on the same day for three weeks, then removed for the fourth week for a menstrual period. A third option is the vaginal ring. The ring provides hormones that create a thick mucus in the cervix to prevent sperm from entering. 

Barrier Methods 

Male and female condoms are an effective barrier method; they also protect against sexually transmitted infections. Diaphragms fit to your cervix. For best results, spermicide needs to be used also. Spermicide is a cream that contains chemicals that kill sperm before they can reach an egg. Another option is a cervical cap. The cap also fits to your cervix. You must insert the cervical cap up to six hours before sexual activity. For best results, spermicide is also necessary. 

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