How Can I Keep From Getting Pregnant Immediately After Childbirth?

The Short Answer from a women's health specialist

Q: I’ve just given birth. How can I keep from getting pregnant again immediately?

A: For women who are hoping to avoid becoming pregnant, long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) have been around for decades. Recently, many states have begun mandating that doctors offer LARC at the hospital after a woman has given birth.

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At many hospitals, birth control wasn’t discussed until a mother’s six-week follow up appointment with her doctor after delivering a baby. However, doctors have recently seen an uptick in women unintentionally becoming pregnant again within one year.

LARC includes intrauterine devices (IUD) and a device that is implanted in the arm. We encourage new moms to consider getting a LARC during her hospital stay, especially if there’s a chance that she won’t see her doctor in six weeks.

Both methods are safe for most women, and are extremely effective — more so than a pill or a shot. When a woman wants to become pregnant again, the device is simply removed by a physician.

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— Women’s health specialist Salena Zanotti, MD 

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