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Getting pregnant again
Having another baby might be the last thing on your mind right now. But getting pregnant too soon after giving birth can be risky for both you and your baby. Becoming pregnant again within a year of giving birth increases the chance that your new baby will be born too soon. Babies that are born too soon can have health problems.
Planning your next pregnancy if you want more children — or preventing a pregnancy if you don't — is important. Spacing pregnancies at least 12 months apart will give your body time to fully recover. In the meantime, using reliable birth control is the best way to prevent pregnancy until you decide if and when to have another baby. Women who have just given birth should wait three weeks before using birth control that contains both estrogen and progestin. This includes the pill, the patch, and vaginal ring. Using these methods in the early weeks after giving birth increases the risk of dangerous blood clots. Wait six weeks to use birth control with both estrogen and progestin if you delivered by c-section or have other risk factors for blood clots. These risk factors include obesity, history of blood clots, smoking, or preeclampsia. Women have many good choices for birth control after giving birth. Keep in mind that breastfeeding alone isn't a foolproof way to prevent pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your birth control options.
Read more from womenshealth.gov
Birth Control Methods Fact Sheet — This fact sheet explains the different types of birth control (contraceptives) that are available for women and answers common questions that can help a woman decide which form is best for her. It discusses the safety and effectiveness of each method, and whether or not it protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Explore other publications and websites
Birth Control and Family Planning — There are a number of birth control methods available, and there are many factors to consider before choosing one. This fact sheet discusses each option’s cost, effectiveness, availability, and more.
Birth Control: How Hormones Work to Prevent Pregnancy (Copyright © Association of Reproductive Health Professionals) — This interactive Internet site provides information on how the various types of birth control methods work to regulate hormones and prevent a woman from becoming pregnant.
What Is Withdrawal? (Copyright © American Pregnancy Association) — This fact sheet has information on the birth control method called withdrawal. It explains what it is and how effective it is as a natural method of family planning.
Connect with other organizations
American Academy of Family Physicians
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
March of Dimes
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Content last updated November 15, 2011.
Resources last updated September 27, 2010.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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