We know motherhood makes birth control feel less urgent (can’t get pregnant when you nod off next to your toddler during bedtime stories!) but even if your sex life looks nothing like pre-baby days, you still need a reliable form of birth control if you’re not ready for your little family to get bigger in nine months.
And just like how everything else changes when you become a mom, your birth control choice might need to change too — your body’s different plus you’re (so much) busier. You’ve heard of mom jeans, but mom birth control? It’s a thing, and we’ve created a handy guide to discovering yours.
Mothers of newborns
When you’re postpartum you shouldn’t use a birth control pill containing estrogen (or the birth control patch or ring) for the first three weeks after you give birth, because estrogen would put you at risk of a dangerous blood clot. You’re probably not having sex this soon (doctors usually advise against it for at least a month postpartum and, anyway, ouch), but if you do, then use estrogen-free protection. If you’re looking for immediate, low-maintenance protection it’s safe for an Ob-Gyn to insert an IUD at your postpartum visit.
Exclusively breastfeeding your baby can help suppress ovulation and prevent pregnancy, but this is only reliable if you’re nursing every four hours during the day and every six hours at night and your period hasn’t returned yet. That means the minute you go back to work, start actually getting sleep, or feed your baby anything other than breast milk, you’ll need more than nursing to prevent pregnancy. Medical professionals usually recommend that breastfeeding moms use progestin-only birth control, such as progestin-only pills (also known as minipills), since estrogen can sometimes reduce milk supply. If you’re committed to continuing to breastfeed, progestin-only birth control may be your best bet.
Moms who’ve had it up to here with periods
One way busy moms can buy themselves more time? Skip your monthly period, and all the tampon changes, cramps, and mood swings that accompany it. It’s safe and easy to do by taking continuous birth control, which means you skip the placebo week of your pill pack and take active pills every day (or skip the week without a birth control patch or a Nuvaring). If you want a birth control pill that’s designed specifically so you have a period just four times per year, try Seasonique.
Moms who suddenly have migraines
Hormonal fluctuations are common during the postpartum and breastfeeding months, and if you experience hormonal migraines, birth control can help. By steadying out your hormone levels, and preventing the steep plunge in estrogen that happens before your period, hormonal birth control can reduce or even eliminate hormonal migraines. One important note: If you experience migraine with aura, you can’t take birth control methods that contain estrogen, because it could put you at increased risk of blood clots and stroke. Instead, stick to progestin-only pills or the birth control shot.
Moms who can’t remember a daily pill
Once you have kids you have more things to remember, and are often operating on too little sleep or too many interruptions — all of which makes remembering a daily birth control pill far from simple. If you need one less thing to worry about every day, try a once-weekly contraception like the birth control patch, or a once-monthly option like Nuvaring.
Moms who can’t remember anything, actually
If even inserting a Nuvaring once a month is more than you feel like dealing with, we hear you. Consider the birth control shot, which you inject yourself just once every three months. Even longer-term options? The IUD, which is inserted by a doctor and can stay in your cervix for between 3-12 years, depending on which type of IUD you choose, and the Nexplanon implant, a small rod that’s inserted under the skin of your arm and which prevents pregnancy for up to 4 years.
The Bottom Line on Birth Control for Moms
No matter how crazy-busy you are momming, you need to make sure you have a birth control method that works for your body and your lifestyle. Nurx can help you find one, and we’ll prescribe it on your schedule and deliver it to your door. If you experience side effects, have questions, or want to make a change, our medical team will be just a text message away with answers.
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.