It is possible to become pregnant as soon as three weeks after you’ve given birth. It is also possible to become pregnant before your first period returns during your postnatal phase.

You have a few options for contraception after giving birth. We offer long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). This includes:  

The injection 

This is the only method of contraception which can delay the return of your fertility by up to 12 months. Depo-progesterone injection. The depo-progesterone injection (DEPO) is an injection that goes into the muscle, usually in your bottom. It lasts for three months, so you will need to go back to your GP or sexual health clinic for another injection every three months. With typical use, about three women in every hundred become pregnant while using the injection. 

The coil 

The coil is a small T shaped device which we place into your womb after your baby has been born. There are two types of coils. The copper coil (or intrauterine device, IUD) does not release hormones, and lasts for 10 years. Whereas, the hormonal coil (or intrauterine system, IUS) releases progestogen hormone and lasts for 6 years. About one woman in every thousand will become pregnant while using the coil. 

The hormonal implant  

This is a small matchstick sized rod which is inserted just beneath the skin in your non-dominant arm. It provides highly effective contraception for three years. Less than one woman in every thousand will become pregnant while using the implant. 

For some, injections, implants and coils can be associated with discomfort or pain. If you are worried about pain or suffer from needle phobia, please discuss options for management with your midwife or doctor. 

Progesterone only pill (POP) 

The POP needs to be taken at the same time every day to provide highly effective contraception. With typical use, about 9 in every 100 women using the POP over the course of 1 year become pregnant. 

Can I get pregnant if I am breastfeeding? 

If you are using dummies, or expressing breastmilk, it is possible to become pregnant before your first period after giving birth. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you may experience Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), which can delay your periods from returning for the first 6 months after birth, however, this may not prevent ovulation or pregnancy. 

It is not advisable to rely on breastfeeding for your contraception if you are not planning to become pregnant during your postnatal phase.  

Will I need to pay for contraception after giving birth? 

We can give you a type of contraception that is safe to use immediately after birth, and whilst breastfeeding, before you are discharged from the hospital. You will not need to pay for contraception while using our maternity services. Please give yourself plenty of time to plan by speaking with your midwife about your options for contraception at your next antenatal appointment.