Sex HealthRecovering from birth

How Soon Can You Get Pregnant After Giving Birth?

You can get pregnant surprisingly quickly after delivering a baby. One study found the first ovulation for women who weren’t breastfeeding is around six weeks. Some women ovulated even earlier.

If you’re breastfeeding, the hormonal benefits of nursing can act as a “natural” form of birth control for the first four to six months after delivery. Breastfeeding may be 98 percent effective as a form of birth control in women who:

  • are less than six months postpartum
  • still exclusively breastfeed their child
  • haven’t started menstruating

However, only about 1 in 4 women who use this lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), or breastfeeding as birth control, actually do so properly. That increases their risk for pregnancy.

If you’re going to have sex after pregnancy but don’t want to risk another baby so soon, plan to use a reliable method of birth control.

A barrier method, such as a condom, may be good to use at first. An implant or IUD can also be used. However, hormonal options may affect breastfeeding and can also come with certain risks, such as an increased risk for blood clots.

Talk with your doctor about the right option for you.

Is It Safe to Get Pregnant Again in the First Year?

Getting pregnant too quickly after one pregnancy can put you at an increased risk for premature birth or birth defects.

Healthcare professionals encourage women to space their pregnancies. The Office of Women’s Health recommends waiting at least 12 months between each pregnancy. And the March of Dimes recommends waiting 18 months.

If you’re thinking about another baby, talk to your health care professional. They will be most familiar with your health history and offer more personalized recommendations.

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