Using effective contraceptive methods following the birth of a child supports you to plan for future pregnancies. Thinking about the type of contraception you can use after the birth of your baby is important for the health of you, your baby and other children you may have. Pregnancy is a time for preparing for birth and the care of the newborn. It is also the ideal time to start thinking about contraception.
Birth spacing is the time between one birth and another. Some people begin pre-natal planning immediately post-pregnancy. Other people prefer to wait for a number of months or years before they have another child.
When birth spacing between children is more than 2-3 years health risks related to the second pregnancy are reduced. Birth spacing time allows the mother to restore her health, weight, and to regain iron and folate levels. Contraceptive choices can be used to support birth spacing and encourage better health outcomes for both the mother and baby.
After stillbirth or termination
If you have recently experienced a stillbirth or termination of pregnancy, you may also be considering trying new contraceptive methods.
If you decide you’d like to be pregnant again, you can stop using the contraceptive method. Fertility will return immediately.
When can I start?
There are many myths about when contraceptives can and cannot be used following pregnancy. Most contraceptive methods can be started immediately. If you choose an IUD or a contraceptive implant, you can have it inserted on the same day as the delivery or termination. It can be useful to plan in advance for a contraceptive insertion.
The table below provides a guide as to how long after pregnancy a new contraceptive method can be started. Keep in mind that these methods may not be effective immediately.
- Anytime after birth or termination
|Contraceptive||Contraceptive Insertion or Start Time|
|Method||Effectiveness||After birth and with postnatal breastfeeding||After birth without postnatal breastfeeding||Termination of pregnancy within 24 weeks (miscarriage or medical abortion)||Termination of pregnancy after 24 weeks (stillbirth or surgical abortion)|
|Hormonal Intrauterine Device||99.8%||Within 48 hours of delivery or after 4 weeks||Within 48 hours of delivery or after 4 weeks||Within 48 hours of delivery or after 4 weeks||Copper Intrauterine Device||99.2%||Within 48 hours of delivery or after 4 weeks||Within 48 hours of delivery or after 4 weeks||Within 48 hours of delivery or after 4 weeks|
|Tubal Ligation||98-99.5%||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks|
|Contraceptive Ring||91%||6 months after birth||6 weeks after birth|
|Daily Combined Hormone Contraceptive Pill||91%||6 months after birth||6 weeks after birth|
|Daily Progestogen Contraceptive Pill||91%|
|Diaphragm||88%||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks||Not recommended for at least 6 weeks|
|Emergency Contraceptive Pill||85%|
|Fertility Awareness Methods||75-99%|
|No PIV Activity||-|
Support and Advice
You can visit a reproductive and sexual health clinic or your GP for a prenatal contraceptive consultation, discuss birth spacing, or seek advice related to recovery following a pregnancy or termination.