Birth Control While Breastfeeding: 10 Methods of Contraception

a woman choose between a condom and pills. birth control while breastfeeding.

If you don’t plan a new pregnancy it is better to start using contraceptives from the moment of the resumption of sexual activity. There are various methods of birth control while breastfeeding. These are barrier, chemical, intrauterine, and oral contraceptives. There is also a fairly reliable method of lactational amenorrhea that requires a number of conditions. The most simple, reliable, and safe means of protection is a condom (99%).

How to Choose Birth Control While Breastfeeding?

The best thing you can do is to consult with the obstetrician-gynecologist during pregnancy about the method of postpartum contraception. If you couldn’t do it, then you can consult a doctor in the maternity hospital. But if you still have doubts and questions, be sure to consult a doctor in the maternity welfare center or a family planning center. Do not take risks when choosing a method of contraception yourself. Remember that you can choose the right birth control method only with the help of a doctor.

The main difficulties of choosing a method of contraception in the postpartum period are related to the fact that you are breastfeeding. The chosen method should not adversely affect the lactation and your baby’s health. It should be noted that birth control while breastfeeding often involves combining various methods of contraception.

a woman breastfeeding a newborn. birth control while breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is very important not only for a newborn but for the young mother as well. It promotes the natural restoration of the reproductive system of a woman after childbirth and is also a method of natural contraception.

If a woman doesn’t breastfeed her baby, then she can choose any method of contraception that is optimal for her.

The Methods of Birth Control While Breastfeeding

header 1 Sexual Abstinence

This method has 100% effectiveness. It does not affect breastfeeding. But for most couples it is unacceptable. Sometimes it can be used as an intermediate method of birth control while breastfeeding.

header 2 Lactational Amenorrhea (the Absence of Menstruation During Breastfeeding)

This is a natural method of contraception based on natural processes occurring in the body of a woman after childbirth. It doesn’t affect the health of the child and the mother. After childbirth, a hormone prolactin is produced in the female body. It stimulates the production of milk by the mammary glands and simultaneously suppresses ovulation (the possibility of pregnancy).

The condition under which this method of contraception will be effective: exclusive breastfeeding without the use of complementary feeding. You need to feed the baby on demand. The break between feedings should not exceed 4 hours during the day and 6 hours at night. This means there should be up to 20 feedings per day, and from 2 to 4 at night. This birth control method is effective only during the first 6 months after childbirth. Also, this method works only until the recovery of the menstrual cycle.

a woma's tummy. birth control while breastfeeding

The Advantages of Lactational Amenorrhea:

  • Natural and easy.
  • Does not adversely affect the health of the mother and the child.
  • It is a natural preventive measure against postpartum complications.
  • It contributes to the recovery of the mother’s body after childbirth.
  • Useful for the child.
  • Has no contraindications.
  • It doesn’t affect sexual contact.


  • It requires strict adherence to the rules of breastfeeding.
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • In the cases when lactation crises occur (there becomes less milk), it is better to use additional methods of contraception.
  • It is the least effective of all means of birth control while breastfeeding.

Barrier Methods of Contraception

header 3 Condom

The effectiveness of the method with proper use is close to 100%.

condom. birth control while breastfeeding


  • Easy to use.
  • Can be used immediately when the sexual life is resumed after childbirth.
  • It does not adversely affect the lactation and the health of the child.
  • The condom is the only contraceptive that protects against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Ability to combine with other methods of birth control.


  • The use is associated with sexual contact. It is necessary to take care in advance that this contraceptive is in stock.
  • There is a need to strictly follow the instructions.

header 4header 5 Diaphragm or Cervical Cap

The diaphragm is a membrane that is inserted deep into the vagina. The cap is a cylinder which is put on the cervix. These devices protect the cervical canal (the channel leading to the uterine cavity) from the penetration of sperm into it. The diaphragm or cap can be inserted 20-30 minutes before sexual contact.

This method is used no earlier than 6 weeks after childbirth which is associated with the restoration of the size of the cervix and vagina.

If lactational amenorrhea takes place during breastfeeding, then the effectiveness of this method increases to 80-90%.

diaphragm birth control while breastfeeding



  • The use is associated with sexual contact. It is necessary to take care in advance that this contraceptive is in stock.
  • Selection and insertion of the diaphragm for the first time should be performed by an obstetrician-gynecologist. If you used this method before childbirth, then after giving birth you need to specify the size of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is used together with spermicides (substances that inhibit the activity of sperm). Remove the diaphragm or cap not earlier than 6 hours after sexual contact and no later than 24 hours after the introduction. Their longer stay in the vagina can lead to infection and the penetration of pathogens into the cervical canal and further into the uterus.
  • The diaphragm requires special care.

header 6 Spermicide

This method of contraception is the local use of creams, tablets, suppositories, and gels containing spermicides. Cream or pills are used 5-20 minutes before sexual intercourse (the exact time is indicated in the instructions to the drug).

This birth control method can be used while breastfeeding and along with other methods of contraception.

The effectiveness of the method with proper use reaches 95%.

The contraceptive effect occurs a few minutes after the insertion and lasts from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the type of the drug.

spermicide birth control while breastfeeding

Advantages and Disadvantages:

The advantages and disadvantages are similar to those of condoms.

header 7 Hormonal Contraception

  • Birth control pills can be used while breastfeeding. But they should contain only hormones from the group of progestogens.
  • Most often doctors prescribe birth control pills to young mothers. But it is very important to strictly follow the rules of intake for their effectiveness.

There are contraceptives that contain only one hormone (progestogen), and the others include hormones of two kinds (estrogen and gestagen).

Of all the hormonal contraceptive pills, only pure progestogens can be used while breastfeeding.

How Do Progestagen Contraceptives Work?

Progestogens make mucus that covers the cervix very thick. This prevents sperm from entering the uterus and fertilizing the egg.

In addition, these hormones slow down the progress of the egg through the fallopian tubes. Also, they change the properties of the endometrium. Even if fertilization has occurred the embryo cannot attach to the uterine wall and develop.

progestin pills. birth control while breastfeeding

Birth control pills have the following advantages: they rarely cause undesirable effects, do not affect the quantity and quality of breast milk, do not shorten the duration of breastfeeding. Sometimes they are even prescribed for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and painful menstruation. They reduce the risk of thrombosis and do not affect the emotional state and sexual desire. Women quickly recover their fertility after they stop taking pills.

In any case, you need to consult a gynecologist before taking pills.


In general, the adverse effects are rare but they are possible:

  • changes in the menstrual cycle (prolonged menstruation, vaginal bleeding between periods),
  • the absence of menstrual periods,
  • increased sensitivity of the breast,
  • ovarian cysts which disappear on their own in 1-2 months after discontinuation of the drug,
  • acne,
  • increased skin sensitivity to ultraviolet rays (therefore women should not sunbathe and go to the solarium),
  • 2% of women have enhanced hair growth.

These phenomena usually disappear on their own 2-3 months after the drug’s withdrawal. If you have diabetes, then nausea, general weakness, dizziness are possible. If you wear contact lenses slight visual impairment is possible. Therefore, before taking the drug you need to check with an eye specialist the condition of the nervous tunic of your eyeball. If you’ve already started taking birth control pills while breastfeeding and you have complaints, contact your doctor.

header 8 Subdermal Implants as Birth Control While Breastfeeding

Subdermal implants are also compatible with breastfeeding. The actual implant is about the size of a matchstick and is inserted under the skin on the inside of the upper arm. The procedure lasts 2-3 minutes. The implant contains a progestin hormone which penetrates the blood in small doses and blocks ovulation.

subdermal implant. birth control while breastfeeding

Subdermal implant is designed for 3 years. It can be inserted only 6-8 weeks after childbirth. Implants do not represent any health risks but they do require medical advice.

header 9 Intrauterine Birth Control While Breastfeeding

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, often T-shaped birth control device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. It prevents the implantation of the embryo which has nowhere to attach since the uterine cavity is occupied by a foreign body.

The method can be used immediately after uncomplicated labor if there are no contraindications to the introduction of IUD. The device is inserted no earlier than 6 weeks after delivery.

The efficiency of the method is close to 98%.

Intrauterine Birth Control while breastfeeding


  • The absence of negative influence on lactation and the health of the child.
  • The method provides a contraceptive effect immediately after the introduction of the device.
  • Long-term (up to 3-5 years) protection from pregnancy. Ability to remove the IUD at any time.
  • Restoration of the ability to conceive after the removal of the IUD comes very quickly.


  • The IUD is inserted and removed by a doctor.
  • The method is not recommended for women who have several sexual partners and for those who suffered inflammatory diseases both before the birth and in the postpartum period.
  • Sometimes the device causes unpleasant sensations in the lower abdomen, caused by the contractions of the uterus during breastfeeding.
  • In some cases, after the introduction of the IUD, the first menstruation can become more abundant and painful than usual. This is due to the fact that the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) “gets used” to the presence of a foreign body, trying to tear it away.
  • Women who use intrauterine contraceptives need to remember that they should visit the gynecologist regularly (at least once every 6 months).

header 10 Surgical Sterilization

Female and male sterilization is a method of irreversible contraception. It is a surgical procedure: a woman’s fallopian tubes are clamped and blocked or severed and sealed. It prevents eggs from reaching the uterus for implantation. What concerns men, the male seminal ducts are severed during the procedure, and then they are tied or sealed to prevent sperm from entering into the urethra and thereby prevent fertilization.

This method is acceptable only for those who are absolutely sure that they will not want to become parents again. Sterilization is an irreversible method of contraception, so you need to be 100% sure about your decision.







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