This article originally appeared on Antidote Health.
Congratulations! You've made it through one of life's most amazing, challenging, and beautiful experiences. You're now a mom! Your body has been through a lot and needs time to recover and heal. Because of this, you may not be ready to have another baby immediately. Many contraceptives are available to help you space out your pregnancies and give your body the time it needs that are also safe for breastfeeding. Here is a look at some of the most popular options:
What are The Different Types of Contraceptives?
The two main types of contraceptives are hormonal and non-hormonal.
Hormonal contraceptives contain either progestin or a combination of estrogen and progestin. These work by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary during your monthly cycle). They also thicken the mucus in the cervix, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg.
There are several hormonal contraceptives available, including:
This is a daily pill that you take by mouth. The most common side effects are nausea, breast tenderness, and irregular bleeding. There are several kinds of birth control pills, combined pills, and mini-pills. The combination is the most common and contains both estrogen and progestin.
Unlike the combination option, the mini-pill contains only progestin. It's a good option for women who can't take estrogen for medical reasons or who are breastfeeding. Adverse effects can include breakthrough bleeding and breast tenderness.
This is a small, beige patch that you stick on your skin. You wear it for a week and then replace it with a new patch. Side effects may include skin irritation, breast tenderness, and irregular bleeding.
The ring is a small, flexible ring that you insert into the vagina. You leave it in for three weeks and then remove it for one week. Breast tenderness, breast soreness, and anovulatory bleeding have all been reported among women using the Ring.
This is a shot that you receive once every three months. Because of bone density loss, it's not recommended for women who want to use it for more than two years. Some common side effects are weight gain, irregular bleeding, and breast tenderness.
The implant is a small rod that a doctor inserts under the skin of your upper arm. It releases progestin and can prevent pregnancy for up to three years. The most common side effects are irregular bleeding, weight gain, and headaches.
Non-hormonal contraceptives do not contain any hormones. The most common type is the copper intrauterine device (IUD). The IUD is a small, T-shaped device inserted into the uterus by a doctor. It prevents pregnancy by releasing copper, which is toxic to sperm. The IUD can stay in place for up to 10 years.
The most common side effect of the IUD is cramping during insertion. Some women also experience heavier periods.
Other less common non-hormonal contraceptives include:
A diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup you insert into the vagina before sex. It covers the cervix and prevents sperm from reaching the egg. The diaphragm must be used with spermicide and should be left in place for six hours after sex.
The condom is a sheath that covers the penis during sex. It prevents pregnancy by trapping sperm inside the condom. They make condoms of latex, polyurethane, or lambskin.
Spermicide is a chemical that kills sperm. It comes as foam, cream, jelly, film, or suppositories inserted into the vagina before sex.
The sponge is a small, disk-shaped device that contains spermicide. It covers the cervix and prevents sperm from reaching the egg. The sponge must be used with spermicide and left in place for six hours after sex.
What are the Pros and Cons of Hormonal Birth Control Options?
It's only natural to want safe birth control for nursing with few side effects. There are several pros and cons to these contraceptive types.
Hormonal contraceptives are highly effective. They're also convenient since you only have to think about them once a day or every three months. Another advantage is that they can help with menstrual symptoms like cramps and PMS.
For women with endometriosis, the mini-pill can help relieve pain. If you're breastfeeding, the mini-pill is the better option because it doesn't affect milk production. Many postpartum women choose to start the mini-pill right after leaving the hospital.
Hormonal contraceptives can have side effects like weight gain, headaches, and mood swings. They can also make your periods irregular. If you're breastfeeding, they can decrease your milk supply, which is a severe disadvantage depending on your baby's needs.
Also, you can only use the mini-pill right after childbirth safely. With the most common, the combination pill, you must wait 3-4 weeks to prevent blood clots.
What are the Pros and Cons of Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options?
There are several pros and cons to these contraceptive types.
Non-hormonal contraceptives are just as effective as hormonal contraceptives. They don't have any hormones, so there's no risk of side effects like weight gain or mood swings. And these don't harm breast milk or production for nursing mothers.
Non-hormonal contraceptives can have side effects like cramping and heavier periods. They can also be less convenient since you have to think about them every time you have sex.
What's the Best Birth Control Option for me?
There's no one answer to this question. Your best contraceptive depends on your health, lifestyle, and preferences.
The copper IUD may be a good option if you're looking for a highly effective contraceptive with no hormones. It also lasts up to 12 years, so you don't have to think about it for a long time. However, it can cause heavier periods.
It's okay if you don't like the idea of a device inside your uterus, so the pill may be a good choice when you want a convenient contraceptive that you only have to think about once a day. The pill has been an effective and popular contraceptive for decades.
The best way to find out is to talk to your doctor and explore your options.
Why Do I Need a Contraceptive Following Birth?
You need a contraceptive following birth because your body needs time to recover. This is especially true if you had a c-section or other complications during childbirth.
Your doctor will probably recommend waiting at least six weeks before trying to conceive again. This gives your body time to heal and reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy.
Doesn't Breastfeeding Protect Against Pregnancy?
It's a common myth that breastfeeding protects against pregnancy, but it's not true. While breastfeeding can delay ovulation, it doesn't prevent it, so if you're not using another form of contraception, you could get pregnant while breastfeeding.
If you need help, Antidote Health can connect you with professionals who can help. We offer regular monitoring and complete digital management solutions to help busy people like you stay on top of your health. Our comprehensive services are affordable and convenient, so you can get the care you need without the hassle.
Use the Antidote app to locate clinicians without the need for insurance and get access to prescriptions online. We also offer a wide range of health and wellness services so that you can take care of your complete self. Get started today to learn more about how we can help you live your best life. At Antidote, your health is our priority.
Check out the original version of this story.