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What contraception can I use when breastfeeding?

Expert’s answer:

After giving birth, sex and contraception may be the last thing on your mind. Waiting until your period returns to think about contraception may be too late. Ovulation comes before menstruation – so it is possible to get pregnant after having a baby without having a period.

All contraceptive methods are very effective and most are 99% effective – when used correctly and consistently. Some contraceptives are more suitable for breastfeeding Mums.

  • Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM): if you are exclusively breastfeeding (giving breastfeeds only):you might choose to use LAM. This is where you rely on the ovulation delaying effect of exclusive breastfeeding. It is generally only effective for the first six months after your baby’s birth. You need to be exclusively breastfeeding, not giving any supplementary (formula) feeds for this to be effective.
  • Intrauterine devices (IUD): can be inserted within the first 48hrs after birth or at any stage from 4 weeks after birth. From the time of insertion this will provide immediate, long-term protection.
  • Progesterone-only pill (POP): you can start taking this anytime after birth. If started before 21 days after birth you don’t need to use additional contraception, such as condoms. If started after day 21, you’ll need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for two days.
  • Progesterone-only implant: can be inserted up to day 28 after birth without the need to use additional contraception, such as condoms. If inserted after day 28, you will need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days after insertion.
  • Condoms: used correctly and consistently these can provide both short-term and long-term protection.
  • The Levonorgestrel-releasing Intrauterines System (LNG-IUS): can be inserted from 4 weeks after birth. Additional contraception, such as condoms, should be used for seven days after insertion. After this time it will provide long-term protection.
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