Barrier Methods

●     Condoms can be used anytime in the postpartum period

●     Use lots of extra water-based lubricant with male condoms to avoid vaginal irritation

●     Diaphragms and cervical caps should be re-fitted at 6 weeks postpartum. Use of the contraceptive sponge may be initiated at 6 weeks as well.


Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP)

●     Can be started at 3 weeks after birth if not breastfeeding. Should not be started sooner due to an increased risk for blood clots in this early postpartum period.

●     The combined pill (estrogen + progestin) can decrease breast milk production, and should not be started until at least 6 weeks postpartum in breastfeeding women because of this

●     The progestin-only pill (POP) does not affect milk supply and can be used during breastfeeding. It is very important that this pill is taken at the same exact time every day. The POP does not carry with it the same risk for blood clots as the combined OCP.

Contraceptive Patch or Vaginal Ring

●     Similar to the combined OCP; can start at 3 weeks if not breastfeeding or at 6 weeks or later if breastfeeding

Injection (Depo-Provera)

●     One shot every 12 weeks

●     Can be started immediately postpartum, regardless of breastfeeding status


Implant (Nexplanon)

●     Inserted by a provider into the arm at or past 6 weeks after delivery

●     Can be started immediately postpartum, regardless of breastfeeding status

Intrauterine Device or Intrauterine System

●     Inserted by a provider into the uterus at or past 6 weeks after delivery

●     Provides reliable, long-term birth control for:

○     3 years (progesterone-containing IUD, brand names: Skyla and Liletta)

○     5 years (progesterone-containing IUD, brand name: Mirena)

○     10 years (copper IUD, brand name: Paragard) 

●     Can be removed at any time

Lactational Amenorrhea Method

●     Effective for up to 6 months when a woman is exclusively breastfeeding (most effective when the infant is eating at least every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours during the night)

●     Efficacy decreases/ceases when a woman’s menstrual period returns, when the infant begins to sleep through the night, when the mother supplements feedings at the breast with pumped bottle feedings, or when any food besides mother’s milk is introduced


Female sterilization: tubal ligation

●     Permanent

●     Abdominal surgery: can be performed as early as the day after delivery, through a 2-3 cm incision at the belly button

○     Or, laparoscopically through one or 2 small incisions after 6 weeks


Male sterilization: vasectomy

●     Permanent

●     Outpatient/same-day procedure

●     Less risk and more effective than tubal ligation







Planned Parenthood:



(Also available as an app)