Finding the right contraception after baby is born, is an important part of your postnatal care. This is called postpartum contraception.
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. And, we recommend starting your contraception straight after delivery - it means you've got good contraception in place and is one less thing you have to worry about while you're caring for baby.
- 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 10-14 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. Condoms are free if you get a prescription for them.
- Emergency contraceptive pill – the ECP can be taken up to three days after sex. Because pregnancy is extremely unlikely in the first 21 days after delivery, you won't need emergency contraception if you have unprotected intercourse during that time. The ECP is less effective for those who weigh more than 70kg - an emergency IUD is best in this instance. An emergency IUD cannot be used until you are at least 28 days post delivery.
Other methods of contraception
- Intra uterine device (IUD) – a copper or hormonal IUD can be inserted immediately after delivery if your Lead Maternity Carer is trained to do so, but it is more common to have it inserted four 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 usually start taking the pill 21 days after delivery. For some it is safer to wait until 6 weeks, your nurse or midwife will discuss if this applies to you.
- If you’re breastfeeding – you can start taking the pill after six weeks.
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.