Believe it or not, a few weeks after the birth of your baby you will be interested in resuming intimacy with your partner. Many couples may plan to add to their family in the future, and others may feel that their family is complete. The average age of menopause, when women are no longer able to conceive, is just over 51-years-old in the United States—an age that may leave you with many years of pregnancy prevention ahead. One half of all pregnancies are unintended, and one half of those unintended pregnancies are the result of a contraceptive failure. There are many options available to couples who want to have some control over their fertility. Below is a brief over review of some different methods that are available. As you consider your options, you should consider effectiveness and safety, as well as your personal lifestyle. Of course, you should discuss your plans with your partner and your provider to make sure you are making the best choice for you.
Options range from permanent to reversible. Permanent options include male sterilization (Vasectomy) and female sterilization (laparoscopic tubal ligation and the newer non-invasive approach ESSURE). Reversible methods include hormonal methods such as pills, patches, vaginal rings, injections, and implants. Other reversible methods include two different types of intrauterine devices (IUDs).
For those couples who do not want to use hormones, or have medical conditions that prevent them from using hormones, barrier methods such as male condoms, diaphragms, or female condoms are safe and effective. Other non-hormonal methods include fertility awareness-based (FAB) methods and lactational amenorrhea method (LAM).
With the many choices available, you should feel confident that you and your partner will choose a method that fits both your fertility needs and your lifestyle. You should plan to speak with your provider to discuss all your options at your six week post-partum visit.