Contraception may be the last thing on your mind when you have just had your baby, but it is something you need to think about if you want to delay or avoid another pregnancy soon after this baby. A lot of unplanned pregnancies happen in the first few months after childbirth, so even if you’re not interested in sex at the moment, it is better to be prepared.
When can I have sex again?
You can have sex as soon as you and your partner want to. However, having a baby causes many physical and emotional changes for both partners, and it may take some time before you feel ready to have sex. It is common to feel nervous, but there is usually no reason why you should not enjoy sex just as much as before. It can help if you and your partner talk about any worries you have. If you have any discomfort which might affect your enjoyment of sex, such as stitches which have not healed, discuss this with your Midwife, GP or Health Visitor.
When can I expect my period?
If you bottle feed, or combine bottle and breastfeeding, your first period could start as early as five to six weeks after your birth. If you are breastfeeding, your periods may not come back until you stop. However, you can be fertile before you get your first period because you ovulate (release an egg) about two weeks before a period so you are able to become pregnant without having had a period.
Can I use contraception?
Use contraception every time you have sex, don’t wait for your periods to return, or until you have your postnatal check as you could become pregnant again before then.
You can use male and female condoms as soon as you want to. Other methods of contraception will need to be discussed with your GP.
Does breastfeeding work as a contraceptive?
Breastfeeding is not 100% effective in avoiding pregnancy.
Can I use emergency contraception?
If you have unprotected sex you can use emergency contraception. If you are breastfeeding, using the emergency pill will not harm your baby or affect your breast milk. Your GP or Pharmacist will be able to provide further information on this.
Where can I go for advice?
You and your partner can visit your GP, practice nurse, family planning clinic or sexual health clinic.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk