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Sometime during or after your pregnancy, you will probably want to talk to your low- or high-risk obstetrician in Melbourne about contraception options for after you give birth. You might decide to resume the birth control method you were using before your pregnancy, or you might choose a new method you feel would work better. Whichever you choose, it's a good idea to have a plan in place before you start having sex again. Options include:
Barrier methods of birth control physically stop sperm from reaching the egg. These methods don't affect hormones, interfere with breastfeeding, or have any significant side effects. Barrier methods include condoms for men, condoms for women, diaphragms, and cervical caps. You can begin using condoms as soon as you're ready to have sex after giving birth, but you'll need to see your doctor to be fitted for a diaphragm. Even if you've used one before, you might need a different size after giving birth.
Hormonal methods of birth control suppress ovulation, thicken cervical mucus (to prevent sperm from reaching the egg), and thin the lining of the uterus so that the egg can’t implant there. These contraceptives are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, but keep in mind that they offer no protection against STIs. Some hormonal methods of contraception may impact on breast feeding, so if you are planning to breast feed (or are already breast feeding) you should discuss these options with your obstetrician. Hormonal birth control methods include the mini-pill, the pill, the ring, the patch, the shot, and the implant.
An intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small, flexible, plastic, T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a doctor or other healthcare provider. The two types available in Australia are the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD. IUDs can last anywhere from three to 12 years and offer protection against pregnancy that is effective and long-term but also easily reversible. If you wish, you can have an IUD inserted right after you deliver; it’s safe to breastfeed with one in place.
Making decisions about contraception for after you deliver is just one of the things you’ll need to consider while pregnant. There are of course many others. If you haven’t already, make an appointment with an obstetrician servicing Port Melbourne. An ultrasound can confirm your pregnancy and ensure your baby looks healthy. Continue your schedule of prenatal care visits throughout your pregnancy – you'll receive valuable advice, care, and screening tests to keep you and your baby in the best possible health.
Dr Stephen Cole practises Obstetrics in East Melbourne and is one of only seven Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists practising in private obstetrics in Victoria. Most women have normal, low-risk pregnancies, and Stephen provides excellent care and support to women with low risk pregnancies, but if complications arise, an MFM Specialist is equipped to provide any medical intervention needed to ensure the best possible odds of a healthy mother and baby throughout pregnancy and delivery.