Birth control or contraception is a method of protection against unplanned pregnancy. It helps a couple decide whether or not to have a baby.
A woman can have sex after pregnancy albeit some initial mild discomfort for the first two weeks. However, she stands a high chance of becoming pregnant as her menstrual cycle (that had stopped during her pregnancy period) is likely to resume. Since a new baby demands a lot from the family – especially the mother, becoming pregnant again immediately is not something most parents would welcome. Birth control after pregnancy is a safe and stress-free way of avoiding the anxiety of becoming pregnant again.
Just as there are ways for a woman to look good again after pregnancy, there are ways by which she can protect herself against pregnancy as well. In addition, it is important to note that only a few birth control methods protect an individual against sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or HIV/AIDS.
For any birth control method to be effective, it is important for a couple to understand the way it has to be used and the various do’s and don’ts associated with it. Talking to a qualified professional definitely helps and you get to clear your apprehensions before you chose any specific birth control method.
Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)
LAM is a natural method of birth control during breastfeeding that relies on the postnatal infertility of the woman. Lactation suppresses ovulation hormones. However this is possible only up to the first six months provided the baby is exclusively and frequently breast-fed throughout the day. LAM is no longer effective once menses resume.
Fertility Awareness Method
Also known as natural family planning, this involves studying a woman’s menstrual cycle after pregnancy, to arrive at safe periods for intercourse and practice abstinence during ovulation periods. As a birth control method it is the safest as it does not involve any consumption, implantation or insertion of alien or external drugs or devices. However the success rate of this method depends upon a lot of factors such as self-control and regularity of menses.
Barrier methods such as condoms, sponges, diaphragms and cervical caps with spermicide, bar the sperm from entering the uterus and do not affect the breast milk.
Hormonal methods include oral contraceptives (birth control pills), skin patches, injections and vaginal rings comprising estrogen and progestin. Emergency or ‘morning after’ pills taken within three days of intercourse prevent pregnancy. However these are not advisable for lactating mothers as they affect the quantity and quality of milk produced. Also, hormonal methods involve other side-effects that may or may not agree with some women.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An IUD (also known as a loop) is a small device of plastic or metal that is inserted into the uterus by a health professional. IUD is a safe contraception that does not affect lactation. It can be removed when a woman wishes to conceive again.