You’ve made it to your six week appointment and you are preparing yourself for the “talk” with your health care provider. Maybe you have decided that your family is complete but permanent contraceptions leaves you a bit unsettled. Maybe you would like another child but want some time in between. There are many options to consider.
First, lets talk about Lactational Amenorrhea. Chances are that you have heard that you cannot get pregnant while breastfeeding. The effectiveness of exclusive breastfeeding is 98-99.5% IF:
- Your baby is less than six months of age Contraceptives
- Your period has not returned
- You are breastfeeding day and night on cue and your baby is only taking token amounts of food.
If you baby is sleeping long periods at night, eating quite a bit of solids, or you are supplementing then this method is not reliable.
Female or male sterilization is greater than 99% effective. If your partner has a vasectomy then you want to use a back-up method until confirmation of the procedure’s effectiveness.
Estrogen containing contraceptives are not recommended while breastfeeding. Estrogen is linked to a decreased milk supply. There are many options of progesterone only methods. For most mothers, progesterone only contraceptives do not cause problems with milk supply when started around 6-8 weeks postpartum.
IUD’s can be inserted into the uterus after 6-8 weeks postpartum. They have a greater than 98% efficacy rate. The copper version of the IUD (Paraguard) that does not contain any hormones. It can be left in place for 10 years. The Skyla is a progesterone-releasing IUD that can be left in place for 3 years. Mirena is a progresterone-releasing IUD that can be left in place for 5 years. IUD’s are usually covered by insurance. Once they are removed they can begin trying for pregnancy after one monthly cycle and are a great option for busy moms who may not remember to take a pill.
Depo-Provera is an injection that is given every 3 months. It has a 91-94% efficacy rate.
The mini pill is a progestin only pill. It has a 91-93% efficacy rate if taken within 3 hours of the same time every day
Diaphragms are also an option. Your healthcare provider must fit you for it. It has to be inserted before sex and remain in place for 6 hours after. It has a 78-88% efficacy rate when used correctly.
There are many options of contraception these days. Many are as effective as sterilization but not permanent. Talk to your partner and healthcare provider about what will work best for you and your family.
**The rates are accurate when method is used properly
This post was written by Jesica Miller,an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and the owner of Learn, Latch Love. Make sure you check out her weekly breastfeeding support group on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8.