Contraception after Pregnancy

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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.

After birth

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.

Future pregnancies

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 - 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)
Contraceptive Implant 99.9%
Vasectomy 99.9%
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 Injection 94%
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%
External Condom 82%
Vaginal Condom 79%
Breastfeeding Method 78% Immediately N/A N/A N/A
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.