Birth control

During your pregnancy, you should start thinking about what kind of birth control you will use after birth.

You can still get pregnant even if you haven’t had your period yet. Ovulation can occur as soon as the third week after vaginal delivery or C-section. Use an effective birth control method to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

Breast-feeding and lactational amenorrhea method (LAM)

If you breast-feed exclusively, ovulation may be delayed. To use breast-feeding (lactation) as a birth control method, you have to understand the principle behind the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM).

LAM is only effective during the first six months after the baby is born. For it to work, LAM requires:

  • Breast-feeding exclusively (the baby should not be given any commercial infant formulas, food or water)
  • Not having a period for those first six months.

Before using LAM or another natural method of birth control (e.g., Billings or symptothermal), you should contact the Serena organization for further information and support.

You can also visit the following websites:

Serena
Organization promoting natural family planning methods
www.serena.ca
514 273-7531 / 1 866 273-7362

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)
www.waba.org.my/resources/lam

Birth control methods

Your choice of a birth control method depends on your preference and your personal situation, which should be assessed by your health professional. This assessment can be done at the end of pregnancy or before you leave the hospital or birthing centre.

The table below describes the birth control methods available.

Method

When you can start if you have no contraindications

Possibility of a slight drop in milk production

Hormonal IUD (Jaydess®, Kyleena®, Mirena®)

Any time after vaginal delivery or C-section

Copper IUD

Any time after a vaginal delivery or C-section

 

Contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera®)

Any time after a vaginal delivery or C-section

Progestin-only pill (Micronor®)

Any time after a vaginal delivery or C-section

Combined hormonal contraceptives that contain an estrogen and a progestin:

  • Pills
  • Contraceptive patch
  • Contraceptive vaginal ring
  • 6 weeks after vaginal delivery or C-section
  • Depending on your situation, your health professional may recommend you start as soon as you resume sexual activity

  • Diaphragm
  • Cervical cap

6 weeks after a vaginal delivery or C-section

 

Condom

From the start of sexual relations

 

The IUDs, contraceptive injection, progestin-only pill (Micronor®), and combined hormonal contraceptives are the most effective types of birth control. The withdrawal method, or coitus interruptus, and the calendar method are not effective.

When using the progestin-only oral contraceptive (Micronor®), be sure to take it at the same time every day. If you deviate by more than three hours from this time, it becomes less effective. Use condoms during sex until you are back on your regular schedule for at least two days.

Don’t stop your current birth control method before starting another. To avoid unprotected sex, keep a supply of condoms handy.

If you use hormonal contraceptives and you are breast-feeding, it’s possible you will experience a slight drop in milk production. These methods do not affect the quality of your milk or the health of your baby. If you notice a problem, contact a lactation consultant your midwife, your doctor, or a CLSC nurse.

Learn about birth control methods by visiting the website prepared by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada: www.sexandu.ca.

Emergency contraception

If you have had unprotected or poorly protected sex, there are emergency contraception methods you can use.

Emergency oral contraception (EOC; the morning after pill)

It works up to five days after unprotected or poorly protected sex, at any time after a vaginal delivery or C-section, whether or not you’re breast-feeding. The sooner it is taken after poorly protected or unprotected sex, the more effective it is. You can get it from a pharmacist without a doctor’s prescription.

If you’re breast-feeding, be sure to mention it to your health professional. They can prescribe an EOC that you can take while you’re breast-feeding.

Copper IUD

Provided it is not contraindicated for you, your doctor can insert a copper IUD up to 7 days after unprotected or poorly protected sex at any time after a vaginal delivery or a C-section.