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Postpartum contraception options

Finding postpartum contraception that is right for you is an important part of your postnatal care.

Some contraception can be used straight after delivery. We recommend progestogen-only methods, which research shows has no effect on breast milk volume, or on infant-growth.

  • Contraceptive implant – the implant (Jadelle) lasts for five years and can be removed at any time. It is very effective, and can be inserted immediately after delivery
  • Depo Provera injection – the injection is given every 12 weeks and is very effective. It can be started immediately.
  • Condoms – condoms are a safe and affordable option and can be used at any time.
  • Emergency contraceptive pill – the ECP can be used any time after delivery and can be taken up to three days after sex. The ECP is less effective for women who weigh more than 70kg - an emergency IUD is best in this instance.

Other methods of contraception

  • Intra uterine device (IUD) – a copper or hormonal IUD can be inserted immediately after delivery, but it is more common to have it inserted six weeks later. It lasts for five plus years (depending on type) and can be removed at any time. A copper IUD can be inserted as emergency contraception in certain circumstances.
  • Combined oral contraceptive pill – when you can start taking the pill depends on a few factors, but your nurse will help work out what is best for you.
    • If you’re not breastfeeding – you can start taking the pill 21 days after delivery. Heavier women need to wait until 6 weeks, so talk to your nurse or midwife if this applies to you.
    • If you’re partially breastfeeding – you can start taking the pill after six weeks.
    • If you’re fully breastfeeding – you can start taking the pill after six months.

Breastfeeding as contraception

Breastfeeding can also be a form of contraception for the first six months after giving birth. Ask your nurse or midwife about how this works and what you need to be aware of during this time.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.