Contraception guide

When can I use contraception after having a baby?

It's possible to become pregnant again very soon after the birth of a baby, even if you're breastfeeding and even if your periods haven't returned.

You ovulate (release an egg) about two weeks before your period arrives, so your fertility may have returned before you realise it.

It's important to sort out contraception from the start. If you had your baby in hospital, you will probably have discussed contraception with a family planning advisor before being discharged home.

You'll also be asked about contraception at your six week postnatal check, but you can discuss it at any time with your health visitor, midwife, GP or local family planning clinic.

As soon as you're ready

You can use male condoms, female condoms or the progestogen-only pill as soon as you feel ready to have sex.

21 days after birth

You can start to use a contraceptive implant from 21 days after the birth.

If you are not breastfeeding, you can start to use the combined pillvaginal ring and contraceptive patch from 21 days after the birth.

However, if you are breastfeeding, the combined pill, vaginal ring and contraceptive patch may affect your milk supply and you are usually advised to wait until the baby is six months old.

Around six weeks after birth

You can usually have a contraceptive injection or start using a diaphragm or cap around six weeks after giving birth. If you used a diaphragm or cap before becoming pregnant, see your GP or contraception (family planning) clinic after the birth to ensure that it still fits correctly. This is because childbirth (and other factors such as weight loss or gain) can mean you need a different size.

Six to eight weeks after birth

An intrauterine device (IUD), also known as a 'coil', or intrauterine system (IUS) can sometimes be fitted within 48 hours of giving birth. 

If this is not possible then they will usually be fitted six to eight weeks after giving birth.

Page last reviewed: 14/07/2015

Next review due: 13/07/2017

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