Birth Control After Baby

More Next-Baby Plans

date night

Amy Mikler

"I need a solid handle on parenting first... gimme a few years!"

Consider this: Implanon, a flexible plastic rod (about 4 centimeters long and 2 millimeters wide) that's infused with progestin and inserted under the skin of your upper arm

Cost: $300 to $900 every three years

New-mom perks: You can use this method while you're nursing (it won't decrease your supply), and you'll free up brain space because there's nothing you have to remember. It's 97 to 99 percent effective, and lasts for three years. You're Fertile Myrtle as soon as you have it removed.

Good to know: Implanon may cause unpredictable spotting, Dr. Minkin says. Because it is progestin-only, it doesn't provide the same cycle control as methods containing estrogen, she adds. Breakthrough bleeding usually diminishes over time.

It's probably not for you if: You'll be seriously PO'd by spotting.

"We'll talk when this munchkin's in preschool."

Consider this: An IUD. The Mirena releases progestin into the uterus via a plastic device; the copper-based ParaGard is hormone-free. Both interfere with sperm's ability to reach the egg by thickening cervical mucus and altering the uterine lining.

Cost: $500 to $1,000. That may seem pricey, but protection lasts for years.

New-mom perks: Once your OB inserts your IUD, you can cross a surprise pregnancy off your worry list: Mirena works for five years, ParaGard (safe to use while nursing) for 12, and they're both more than 99 percent effective. Struck by baby pangs? Have it removed and get busy! Good to know An IUD can be inserted four to six weeks post-birth, possibly sooner. The progestin in Mirena can cause irregular bleeding for months after insertion; after that, periods become lighter or nonexistent. Nicci Micco, a mom of two in Burlington, Vermont, didn't see an improvement for nearly eight months. "I spent a small fortune on 'light' tampons," she says. As for ParaGard, you have a regular period, but it can be heavier and crampier.

They may not be for you if: You don't like the idea of a foreign object in your uterus. Since doctors can't foresee how you'll respond to either period-wise, make sure that's a variable you're prepared for.

"The shop is closed!"

You're 100 percent confident your family is the perfect size? It might be time to consider a permanent form of contraception. The old standbys, vasectomy (a procedure for men that blocks the tubes that carry sperm) and tubal ligation (an intervention that involves cutting and tying a woman's fallopian tubes), are still around, but you've also got two effective nonsurgical options to consider: Essure and Adiana. Both can be done in your doctor's office under local anesthesia, and they work basically the same way: Your physician inserts a small device into each fallopian tube (a coil for Essure; a silicone insert for Adiana). Over the next three months, scar tissue forms around them, blocking the tube. "These devices are by definition safer than other types of tubal sterilization," Dr. Allen says. "There are no incisions, nor is work performed inside the abdomen." Always a good thing.

Originally published in the June 2012 issue of American Baby magazine.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment