UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - West

2255 John F Kennedy Road
Dubuque, IA 52002

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What do new moms need to know about using birth control after giving birth?

Mom's First Year: What Should I Know About Birth Control

Your menstrual period may occur as early as six weeks to two months after your discharge from the hospital.

Women who are breastfeeding six or more times a day, may find they do not resume menstruation until four to six weeks, or later when weaning in completed. 

  • Breastfeeding is not an effective means of birth control.
  • Breastfeeding may delay the return of ovulation, but not always. Ovulation may start before the menstrual cycle has returned.

It is important to talk with your partner and health care provider about birth control before leaving the hospital. Attending your follow-up appointment is another opportunity to continue to talk with your health care provider about your options and birth control plan.

There are many different options approved by the FDA that are available for you. Your choice depends on your health, frequency of sexual activity and partners, and desire to have children in the future.

Why discuss options now?

After giving birth, the idea of birth control and future pregnancies may be far from your mind. But, did you know that you can get pregnant even before your first menstrual period following childbirth? Choosing a birth control method can help prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Get the facts: birth control

  • 88 percent of women report using birth control
  • 21 percent of women give birth within 2 years of a previous birth
  • 49 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned

Get the facts: breastfeeding:

  • 75 percent of mothers decide to breastfeed
  • Medical recommendations include: Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How will each method fit into my lifestyle?
  • How responsible am I to use each method correctly?
  • Am I breastfeeding?

When do I plan on being pregnant again, if ever?

Questions to ask your health care provider:

  • How does each method work?
  • How effective is each method?
  • What are the side effects of each method?
  • What methods can I safely use if breastfeeding?
  • What methods should I avoid due to my personal history?

Any further questions? Contact Finley Hospital's Lactation Consultants at (563) 583-BABY


AWHONN. (2006). The Compendium of Postpartum Care, 2nd Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Medical Broadcasting Company. 

Contraception options. (2010). Check contraception options for postpartum. Contraceptive Technology Update.

Hale, T.W. (2012). Medications and mother's milk (15th ed.). Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing, L.P.

Stanton, R.W. (2011). A road map for change: Ensuring that women have breastfeeding support. The Journal of Pediatric Education, 20(3).

Women's Health. (2012). Birth control methods fact sheet: What is the best method of birth control (Or contraception)? Retrieved from womenshealth.gov

December, 2013 TE MSN, RN