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When you have just had a baby, life can be stressful. At times, it seems like you have so much to worry about, and so many checklists to go through, that you can't handle it any more. That is why it is a great idea to start thinking about birth control options for after pregnancy before your baby is born. Most healthcare providers bring the topic up at traditional six week post-partum appointments, and it might be beneficial to think about contraception in advance so that you can discuss it with your doctor. So, what are the options open to you after you give birth, and what are their pros and cons?

If you are breastfeeding on demand, the chances are that your cycle will not return for quite a while. You will not be ovulation and therefore will be covered by a natural contraceptive, as it were. When used correctly, this is a very reliable method. But charting your fertility to monitor when you start ovulating again is a good idea, as you can ovulate once before you get your first post-partum period. The other natural option is, of course, abstaining from intercourse. This happens to many couples in the early months of their baby's life anyway, because newborns need a lot of care around the clock. When you have some free time, you often just want to... sleep!

Both of these methods, temporary infertility as a result of breastfeeding and abstinence, could be seen as Natural Family Planning (NFP) and are great to use for Catholics or others who do not want to use artificial birth control for whatever reason. Then there is the birth control pill. The birth control pill is a hormonal contraceptive and not all pills are safe to combine with breastfeeding. If you are a nursing mother, your choices of contraceptive pill are limited, and those pills that can be used safely while breastfeeding are often less effective. You can discuss this with your doctor. A more reliable option is using condoms. The advantage of condoms is that they are hormone-free and are the most secure contraceptive method out there. Finally, there is the option to use a coil, either traditional or hormonal.

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