Birth control after childbirth

How effective are contraceptives after the baby is born?


A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology questions the issue of how effective birth control methods are when used in postpartum women.

The majority of women who have recently delivered (or at least in the past year) are not ready to have another, and it turns out that a remarkable 70 % of pregnancies in the first year and a half are unintended. So why is this the case in women with good access to reproductive health care? At least a quarter of women used no birth control at all and a slightly lower percentage used less effective methods such as condoms or the rhythm method. Women who used long active reversible methods (LARCs) including IUDs such as Mirena, Paraguard or long acting injections or implants such as Depo Provera had very few unintended pregnancies. The rate was less than 0.5%. The big surprise was for women taking oral birth control pills. Over 12% of these women taking these otherwise very effective contraceptives conceived when they thought they were protected.  It turns out that birth control pills may not be as effective after childbirth and women who are not ready to conceive again and want to retain their fertility might be best served going to long acting methods such as IUDs. injections or implants.