Planning your contraception needs - during pregnancy or after having a baby
It’s really important you think about contraception and the choices available to you during your pregnancy or once you have given birth.
Your midwife may have already talked to you about the types of contraception available.
If you’re still in hospital - remember you can ask your midwife or doctor about contraception advice. Some methods can even be provided before you leave the ward.
Things you need to know:
- It’s possible to get pregnant again as soon as 3 weeks (21 days) after having your baby, so it’s important to get your contraception sorted as soon as possible.
- Many unplanned pregnancies happen in the early weeks or months after childbirth, so even if you’re not interested in sex at all right now, it’s important to be prepared.
- Research shows that it’s better to wait at least 12 months before becoming pregnant again. Becoming pregnant sooner can be associated with:
- a higher risk of going into labour too soon
- your baby being born with a low birth weight
- Of course it’s also better for you and the family to have longer time between babies, so you have more time to recover and focus on your own health and wellbeing, which is really important as a new Mum.
There are many safe methods of contraception that work well and are ideal for women who've just had a baby.
The best way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy is to choose a LARC (long acting reversible contraception) method such as:
- contraceptive implants
- contraceptive injections (Depo)
- intra-uterine methods (previously known as ‘coils’)
LARC methods are more effective and don’t rely on you taking them each day. They're all suitable if you are breastfeeding. You can start some of these methods straight away - click on the links above for more information.
If a LARC method doesn’t sound right for you there are other choices of contraception that may suit you better. Read about the other choices available here.
Contraception if you are breastfeeding
When you're breastfeeding there are a number of contraceptive options for you which will not affect your baby or your supply of milk but please remember breastfeeding on its own not a reliable method of contraception. For more info visit the NHS website.
I need contraception, where can I go for LARC?
There are many places that can offer you a LARC service with many based in the community and maybe close to your home - making it easy to access, even with a new baby in tow.
Many GP surgeries across Wirral offer LARC for free and you don’t always have to be registered as a patient - see our list here.
In addition, local contraception clinics are open evenings and weekends and appointments can be booked online. Please note, our regular timetable is currently suspended in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the information below.
Due to the changing nature of COVID-19 and our commitment to keeping people as safe as possible, our online booking facility and our walk-in and wait clinics are temporarily suspended.
These will only be allocated following a telephone assessment and if your needs meet our urgent criteria. This enables us to provide care to those most in need of sexual health or contraception services. It also enables us to reduce the amount of people in the waiting room.
- To request a telephone assessment please call 0300 123 5474 (Mon - Fri, 8am-6pm).
If you require a short supply of condoms please call 0300 123 5474 to request a telephone assessment and we can post some out to your address. A demonstration of how to use condoms and some top tips for maximum protection and safety is available to view here.
Other helpful information
How soon after giving birth can I have sex?
You can have sex as soon as you and your partner feel emotionally and physically comfortable to do so. Everyone is different and you shouldn’t feel pressured.
- When will I get my first period after giving birth?
You may have a period as soon as 5-6 weeks after giving birth. You can get pregnant before your first period, as you will release an egg from your ovary (ovulate) about 2 weeks before a period.
- I’m thinking of having another baby soon, what should I do?
National and international guidelines advise at least 12 months between pregnancies (that means from having one baby to becoming pregnant again) to have the best chance of a healthy pregnancy for mum and baby.
Whenever you are thinking of having a baby, there are some really important things you can do to have the best possible chance of getting pregnant and of having a healthy and happy pregnancy. You can find more information here.
You'll find further information about methods of contraception and information about what local services offer on this website.
You can also have a read of the 'Contraception choices after you've had a baby' leaflet from Sexwise, which provides lots of information.
As always, condoms can be used as contraception and are also important to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These are FREE from all of our clinics - please refer to the information above about COVID-19.