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“I won’t need contraception for a very, very long time!”

 

Almost every woman tells me this when I see her for the first time with her newborn baby. And while she understandably wants to use ‘abstinence’ as contraception in the first few weeks after giving birth, sooner or later things usually change. It’s an important conversation to have with both your partner and your doctor well before things warm up in the bedroom again. Here are some things to consider:

 

  • If you want to keep breastfeeding, you need to avoid anything with oestrogen in it, as it will dry up your milk.
  • On the other hand, if you AREN’T breastfeeding for any reason, taking an oestrogen-containing pill can be very helpful in drying you up on purpose.
  • The ‘mini-pill’ (progesterone-only pill, containing no oestrogen) needs to be taken at the same time every day – even a delay of a few hours one day can result in an annoying breakthrough bleed. So if your newborn is making it hard to remember to take it reliably, then consider another form of progesterone-only contraception. Options include the depot injection, implant, or a progesterone containing IUD (intra-uterine device).
  • If you know this is definitely your last baby, then talk early with your GP or Obstetrician about your ‘permanent’ contraception options. For example, it takes six months after a vasectomy before you can rely on a sperm count of zero as being permanent. Some couples choose to arrange a vasectomy to be done during the pregnancy, or straight after delivery (once they know their newborn is safe and well).
  • Relying on breastfeeding as a form of contraception is a great way to fall pregnant again! While breastfeeding does suppress ovulation, it really should not be used as the sole contraception.

 

There are now such a large range of contraceptive options on the market it is helpful to talk about your options early on, which gives you some time to think/read/research the best option for you once you get to the point of actually needing it.

 

Words: Dr Natasha Yates, Mudgeeraba General Practice

Dr Natasha Yates is a mother of four, Assistant Professor of General Practice – Bond University, and GP at Mudgeeraba General Practice

 

More: www.themgp.com.au

 

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