Congratulations on your new arrival! You’ve managed to make it through the initiation period of motherhood, and it’s time to prepare for your six-week check-up. Most new mothers visit their obstetrician at the six-week mark to review healing, breastfeeding, and birth control needs.
Before your appointment, consider your situation and do your best to come prepared with questions. An in-depth discussion is essential, especially if you’re managing breastfeeding alongside intimacy.
Multiple options are available to suit nearly every need. As you manage the restrictions associated with breastfeeding, you may find similarities to those you experienced while pregnant. Aim to get the details on multiple options to make the best choice for you and your young family.
1. Progesterone-Only Oral Medication
Combination birth control pills, which contain both progestin and estrogen, are off-limits while you’re breastfeeding. Contraceptives with estrogen can lead to decreased or loss of milk supply, which contradicts your breastfeeding goals. Fortunately, progestin-only oral medication is an excellent alternative for breastfeeding mothers.
The progestin-only pill is taken simultaneously daily and is 99% effective when taken ideally. Most successful users set a timer to keep their medication intake on track. As you’re navigating late-night wake-ups and overall exhaustion, it may be easier to put your pill-taking time in the daytime.
As you’re deep in the business of new parenthood, make it easier on yourself and order your birth control online. Most major brands and generics are available and are often covered by insurance and delivered free of charge. With one less thing on your to-do list, you can snuggle your baby or sneak in a nap.
2. Barrier Methods
The regular condom can be your friend once again as you manage your contraception needs alongside breastfeeding. Review today’s modern options spanning materials, lubrication, and spermicide if it’s been a while since you’ve used one. As there are both male and female condoms, discuss with your partner which type you’d prefer. Appropriately used, male condoms can be 98% effective.
You’ll need to use only one condom simultaneously, as doubling up male and female condoms can cause breakage. Aim to purchase several kinds until you land on one that’s best for both of you.
Be gentle with yourself as you become intimate after childbirth. Mothers who have vaginal births will likely experience some discomfort initially. Those who have cesarean deliveries will also need to manage their incision and abdominal healing. Take your time and communicate with your partner where you are, which may change daily.
3. Natural Family Planning
Using a special thermometer, women take their basal body temperature upon waking. This data helps users predict their fertile periods, which then can inform when conception may be more likely. This option requires consistent vigilance but can be an excellent choice for people who prefer to be medication-free.
As a contraceptive, NFP can be 98% effective when users abstain during their most fertile periods or use an alternative contraceptive method. For example, if you wish to be intimate during a fertile period, back up this method with a barrier contraceptive like a condom.
As you shift back to hormone-free, you may experience more painful periods and increased sexual interest. This is because your body works toward evening back out while continuing to supply milk to your baby. Be patient with your body as you reach a new equilibrium, and add the task of diligent temperature tracking.
Potentially one of the least fun approaches, abstinence is a reasonable option to prevent pregnancy while you’re breastfeeding. Whether you’re experiencing simple exhaustion or postpartum anxiety and depression, sex may be the last thing on your mind. However, sex is more than pleasure-focused — it’s a way to be close with your partner. Employ abstinence when you need to, but aim to connect in other ways as your relationship dynamic shifts toward parenthood.
Recognize that your relationship has evolved from that of a couple into a family unit. Celebrate your addition and all of the wonders they bring, but work at retaining the love that got you there. Individuals who make time for intimacy in the traditional sense and other means often cite greater relationship satisfaction. Lying together, making eye contact, and having deep conversations can help you regain the connection sometimes lost in early parenthood.
Motherhood is hard work, and making time for intimacy may not be at the top of your list. But not being prepared can ruin a spontaneous romantic moment that could help bring you closer to your partner.
Parenthood and the exhaustion that comes with it can leave couples with a more roommate-like experience. Aim to be open to intimate moments, even if the setting or your perception of your physical appearance isn’t perfect. Remember that your partner is alongside you on this new journey, and their interest in you hasn’t waned. They may see you as more beautiful than ever, in awe of all that you’ve created. Lean into love knowing that birth control worries won’t stand between a beautiful moment and a chance to reconnect.