For many reasons, either emotional, financial or medical, mothers or parents may want to stop at having just one child. To ensure this is under control, birth control is used. However, most women prefer to avoid birth control, as there is always the common question:

“But what if I’ve already had a child in the past? How will it affect my body?”   

This concern is because birth control does affect the body in different ways. Therefore, it is important to research before coming to any definite decision. Some types of birth control are better suited for women who have already had children and some are not suitable.

 So what would be the best option for you as a woman who has already given birth? Here, we help you understand what birth control will work best for you.

1. Hormones

There are many hormonal birth control methods available for mothers who want to avail it. However, if you’ve given birth recently, you need to remember to check the required duration before you can start using these. This is because your baby depends on you for nutrition in the form of breast milk and hormonal treatments may affect this flow.

The different hormonal treatments available are birth control pills, patches, shots and rings. The ring, pill and patch basically release the hormones oestrogen and progesterone (or the synthetic progestin) in low doses, which prevent the ovary from releasing the egg. You must wait at least 6 weeks after delivery before you start using these methods if you have healthy milk production. If not, it is advisable to avoid using these methods. Shots are given every three months. It takes a while for fertility to be restored when the shots are stopped, so consider this option carefully.

2. Condoms

There are male and female condoms that are available as physical methods of contraception. They prevent sperm from reaching the eggs alongside providing protection from the transmission of STDs. These can be used as early as after pregnancy or whenever you’re ready to be sexually active.

3. Diaphragm

This is a dome-shaped device that is partially filled with spermicide and inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse. It prevents the sperms from reaching the egg and the spermicide helps to kill the sperms that have entered the vagina. Diaphragms need to be fitted according to the size of your vagina. This size tends to change after you’ve given birth due to stretching of the muscles. The fitting of the device can be done during your first postpartum visit, which is generally at six weeks and is approx. 80% effective.

4. Cervical Cap

These are similar to diaphragms in terms of structure and function. It is advisable to wait at least 10 weeks before getting one fitted for yourself.

5. IUD (Intrauterine Device)

An intrauterine device is a t-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus (by a medical professional). These can be inserted right after delivery and provide long term contraception (anywhere between 3 to 10 years). It is best suited for women who have less risk of catching an STI. There are two types of IUDs – one made with copper and one which releases progestin. They work to kill the sperm before it reaches the egg. The copper doesn’t affect the breast milk of nursing mothers.  

As we have seen, most common birth control measures can be used by mothers who have already given birth. It’s just important to know when they can be administered or used. It is advisable to always consult a healthcare professional before using birth control methods.

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