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Post-Baby Birth Control

Today on my personal blog, we’re discussing post-baby birth control. I’d love you to join the discussion!

The other day, I turned to the Husband and said with a laugh, “Man — I guess we have to think about birth control again soon.”  One advantage of being pregnant — it’s the ultimate birth control!  But now I’m 38 weeks, and it’s time to start considering our post-baby horizontal polka plans.

Click through to read what birth control options I’m considering.

Have you heard of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)? Basically, LAM takes advantage of “lactational infertility” that occurs while you are breastfeeding.  According to Planned Parenthood, it can be just as effective as the Pill.  The La Leche League claims that some clinical trials show it has a 99% effectiveness. Basically, if you are a new mother who fits the following three criteria, you can use the LAM method:  Your baby is less than 6 months old, you are amenorrheic (your period hasn’t returned), and you are breastfeeding day and night regularly (every four hours during the day and every six at night).  ‘More intensive’ periods of breastfeeding extend your infertility further.  Feeding formula, pumping instead of nursing, and introducing solids have been proven to reduce the effectiveness of LAM.

The other option that I am considering is the copper IUD (known by the brand name ParaGard). An IUD is a U- or T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus; copper IUDs are non-hormonal and work by making the lining of the uterus inhospitable to sperm and any fertilized embryos.  The IUD has to be inserted and removed by a doctor and lasts up to ten years. So there’s a huge bonus — insert it and be done thinking about birth control — yay!  Plus, since it doesn’t contain hormones, your period comes as it naturally would. And it’s 99% effective.

I am, however, concerned about some of the potential side effects of an IUD, including the introduction of bacteria during insertion, the risk of inflammation or scarring, a reaction to the copper/nickel, and heavier and more uncomfortable periods.

Assuming that breastfeeding works out, we will probably use LAM for a few months, and once I fail to fit one of the criteria (I get my period, the baby is older than six months, or I stop exclusively breastfeeding), we’ll switch to the IUD.  I’m not thrilled about the idea of inserting a copper device into my uterus, but it does seem like one of the best options for us.

To read the rest of this post, as well as reader feedback on their post-baby birth control choices, head over to Healthy Tipping Point.

Read more from Caitlin on Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful.  Follow all her Babble posts here!

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