It's Possible to Get Pregnant Soon After Birth, Study Shows

Filed under: Pregnancy Health, Research Reveals


If you just had a baby and aren't ready for the next one just yet, best use birth control. Credit: Getty Images

Remember when, shortly after giving birth, your baby doctor marched into the room with a checklist of dos and don'ts to follow during the early postpartum phase?

High on that list was sexual intercourse. Well, it turns out that in addition to the obvious physical recovery concerns, there's good reason to abstain: You could get pregnant again -- like, really soon.

A new study says if you just had a baby and are not in the mood to add on to the nursery just yet, it's best to consider contraception as soon as three weeks after giving birth, Reuters reports.

Though it is very unlikely for new moms who are breast-feeding to conceive, and most women who aren't breast-feeding won't start ovulating until six weeks later, it can happen sooner, researchers warn in the study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"For women with a new baby, contraception may not be at the top of their list of concerns," Dr. Emily Jackson, one of the researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and a family doctor in Los Angeles, tells Reuters. "It is really important that people who provide care to postpartum women bring up the subject of contraceptives, alert women to the fact that they may become fertile soon after having a baby and make sure that women have their chosen method before they become fertile again."

But there is one caveat and that is that using birth control pills right after pregnancy does pose some risk, researchers tell Reuters. That's because the estrogen in the pills and post-pregnancy hormones increase the risk of blood clots. That lessons over time.

The study was purposed to discover at what point the risk of taking contraceptive pills again outweighs the risk of getting pregnant.

The researchers examined the findings of four studies and found that, on average, ovulation started again between 45 and 94 days following birth. But it also was discovered that it can start less than a month later, as early as 25 to 27 days.

Based on these results and data regarding the likelihood of blood clots, the WHO determined the benefits of starting contraceptive pills containing both estrogen and progestin probably outweigh any risks starting at three weeks after birth.

After six weeks, WHO researchers say, there should be no restrictions on contraceptives.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.