Birth Control After Delivery

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If you are a new patient seeking prenatal care, please call 310-794-7274. If you are an established patient and need to reach labor and delivery, call 310-825-9111 for Westwood or 424-259-9250 for Santa Monica.

Birth Control After Delivering Your Baby

Pregnancy spacing is a personal decisionbased on many factors. There are risks to the mother and the baby if there isless than 12 – 18 months or more than 5 years between pregnancies. Some of therisks to the baby are premature birth, birth defects, low birthweight andautism. Risks to the mother include high blood pressure, miscarriage andbleeding.

To give your body proper time to heal, yourhealth care team may recommend no sexual intercourse for 4 – 6 weeks afterchildbirth.

Birth Control While Breastfeeding

There are many birth control methods thatare safe to use while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about your options andpreferences.

Types of Birth Control

There are many effective birth control methods.Talk to your doctor about the side effects and benefits of these methods beforeyou decide.

In general, it isn’t safe to use birthcontrol pills, patches or rings that contain a hormone called estrogen for thefirst 3 weeks after childbirth due to a higher-than-normal risk of blood clot formation.You can start all other methods safely right after delivery. If possible,choose your next birth control method before you give birth. If your choiceinvolves a hospital procedure, it might be possible to make the arrangementsbefore you go home with your baby.


An implant is a tiny capsule implantedinto the skin of your upper arm contains a hormone called progestin. Thishormone keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs for up to 3 years. Your doctor ormidwife will use a local anesthetic to insert or remove your implant.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

There are both hormonal and nonhormonal IUDs. Depending on the type of IUD you choose, it must be replaced every 3 – 12years. Talk to your doctor or midwife about the risks and benefits of IUDs.


A progesterone-like drug preventspregnancy by stopping eggs from being released by the ovaries. It is effectivefor about 3 months, so it’s used for temporary birth control. If you want to keepusing it, you need to get additional shots. You can get the shot before youleave the hospital.

Combined pills

You must wait for 3 weeks after your babyis born before using what are called “combined” birth control pills. Birthcontrol pills usually contain estrogen and progestin hormones. You take thesepills daily to prevent eggs from being released by the ovaries.

This type of birth control offers severalhealth benefits, including regulating your menstrual cycles and often makingthem shorter and lighter. This is helpful for women who have iron deficienciesdue to heavy bleeding. Combined pills may also help prevent certain ovarian andendometrial cancers. Women with certain medical conditions, such asuncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, migraines with aura or a risk ofclots may not be able to take these pills.


Unlike traditional (combined) birthcontrol pills, the mini-pill includes only one hormone: progestin. You canstart taking the mini-pill right after delivery. When you take it daily, the mini-pillthickens your cervical mucus and keeps sperm from reaching your eggs.


This skin patch releases estrogen andprogestin hormones into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. You may not beable to use the patch if you have medical conditions, such as uncontrolled highblood pressure, diabetes, migraines with auras or a risk of developing bloodclots. Like pills, patches require you to wait for at least 3 weeks afterdelivery before using.

Hormonal vaginal ring

The ring, which is placed inside thevagina, releases estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. Some medicalconditions may make it dangerous for you to use the ring. This birth controlmethod requires you to wait for at least 3 weeks after having your baby beforeusing it.


You insert these foams or creams intoyour vagina to kill sperm. Spermicides may also help protect you againstsexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially when used with latexcondoms.

Male condom

This is a thin tube made of latex or anothernatural material that your male partner places over his penis. Sperm collectsin the end of the condom. Latex condoms can also help protect you fromcontracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Female condom

You insert this latex or natural materialliner into your vagina. Like male condoms, female latex condoms can helpprevent some sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Natural family planning

This strategy is also called the “rhythmmethod.” It uses the timing of sexual activity to avoid your “fertile” days. Italso includes monitoring your body temperature, watching for changes in yourcervical mucus and possibly using ovulation prediction kits. This method maycarry a high risk of unexpected pregnancy.

If you are breastfeeding, the timeframeduring which you are fertile could be challenging to predict. This may makenatural family planning a difficult method right after childbirth. Please talkto your doctor for more information.

Withdrawal method

This approach requires your male partnerto withdraw his penis from your vagina before he ejaculates. This method mayalso carry a high pregnancy risk.

Permanent methods

Female sterilization, or “tying thetubes”, can be done in the hospital right after delivery or on an outpatientbasis 6 weeks after your baby is born.


Vasectomy is a permanent birth controlmeasure for men. It involves a doctor cutting or clamping the tubes that carrysperm from the man’s testes.

Formore information about birth control, visit Family Planning.