Contraception After Childbirth

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Contraception After Childbirth
Contraception After Childbirth

Video: Contraception After Childbirth

Video: Contraception After Childbirth
Video: Contraception after pregnancy in 10 Q&As: an Essential MRCOG lesson by ACE Courses. 2023, March

Contraception & sex after childbirth

The first time after the birth is a very special one. The focus is on the new family member, a new everyday life begins, a relationship of two has become a relationship of three. The woman also needs time and rest to recover from the peak performance of pregnancy and childbirth. If sex falls by the wayside for a while during this time, this is perfectly normal.

When a couple feels like having sex again after giving birth is very different and individual. It should be remembered that women can be fertile again within a few weeks after giving birth.


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Sexuality after childbirth

One has waited so long for it, finally it is here and now it takes up a lot of space: In the first time after the birth, everything revolves around the baby. A new everyday life begins as a family, the two-person relationship becomes a three-way relationship. It is completely normal for couple sexuality to take a break for the time being.

More on the topic: The first time with a child

For the partnership, however, it is important to gradually create freedom. Not only the newborn but also the relationship between man and woman needs care. Otherwise there is a risk that two who once met as lovers only experience each other in their role as mother and father.

Sexual listlessness after childbirth

For many couples, sexual desire decreases significantly after the birth of their child. There are many reasons for this: pregnancy and childbirth required top physical performance from women. Therefore a regeneration phase for body and soul is absolutely important. Perhaps a perineal incision has yet to heal or a caesarean scar may still hurt. The breasts adjust to breastfeeding and are often very sensitive to touch. The hormonal change can also cause mental imbalance, and sleep deprivation and exhaustion also leave little room for eroticism.

Even for men, sexuality is usually not in the foreground during this special time. They, too, sometimes feel exhausted or tired, because the child demands the attention of their parents around the clock. In addition, the changed body of the partner or possible traumatic birth experiences can trigger insecurities and contribute to a reduced libido. A certain amount of sexual listlessness in the postpartum period is quite normal.

When is sex possible after the birth?

Whether it's a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section - there is no precise, generally valid time for how long to wait to have sexual intercourse after giving birth. Some couples feel lust after just a few days, others need weeks or months to sexually approach each other again.

Note Sexuality is not limited to sexual intercourse; it is also possible to be intimate with one another in other ways.

Weekly flow

There is conflicting information on the subject of weekly flow that unsettles many women. The weekly flow is a natural discharge from the vagina, triggered by the wound created during childbirth: At the point where the placenta separates from the uterine wall, a wound surface is created, which is accompanied by bleeding and secretion. As long as the weekly flow continues (approx. Four to six weeks), the uterus is very susceptible to infections and provides the perfect breeding ground for germs. Therefore, during this time you should either avoid sexual intercourse or at least use a condom.

Contraception after childbirth

When breastfeeding, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for milk production and milk flow. In many cases, the increased prolactin level prevents the onset of ovulation and a menstrual cycle - but there is no guarantee that this will happen. That is, if the woman is fully breastfeeding, it may or may not prevent ovulation. Breastfeeding is therefore not a contraceptive method!

Women who are not breastfeeding have their first menstrual bleeding around six weeks after giving birth.

Which contraceptives are suitable after the birth?

Not every contraceptive is suitable for the postpartum period. Especially during breastfeeding, a contraceptive must be chosen that is neither dangerous for the child nor does it affect milk quality or milk production. Let your gynecologist advise you on the advantages and disadvantages of the individual methods.

You can use the following contraceptive methods while breastfeeding:

  • condom
  • Diaphragm: Note: A diaphragm that was used before the pregnancy must be checked again after the birth (about three months) and readjusted if necessary.
  • Minipill: This only contains the hormone progestin, which has no effect on breast milk. Combination pills with progestin and estrogen, however, should not be taken during breastfeeding.
  • IUD: In principle, both the copper IUD and the hormone IUD are suitable for women who are breastfeeding. However, an IUD may only be inserted after the uterus has completely regressed.
  • Hormone implants (contraceptive sticks) and three-month injections: like the mini-pill, these contain only progestin and are therefore generally also an option during breastfeeding.
  • : When breastfeeding, it is very difficult to estimate the fertile days and the onset of a regular cycle, and the risk of misjudgments is higher than usual.

More on the topic: Contraception methods at a glance

Whom can I ask?

For information and advice on sexuality and postpartum contraception, please contact

  • Gynecologists (doctor search)
  • Midwives
  • Advice centers of the Austrian Society for Family Planning
  • Advice centers of the Federal Ministry for Family and Youth

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