birth control options for breastfeeding mothers

the mini pill 

The minipill is a progestin-only birth control pill. Each pill contains a small amount of progestin, the synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. The pills come in packs of 28, and you take one pill every day so that you’re getting a steady dose of the hormone.

What many doctors forget to tell you is that the mini pill must be taken at exactly the same time every day or it is not effective. The pill affects the mucus in the cervix for 24 hours making it a ‘bad environment for sperm’ but it is till possible to get pregnant. That’s why you have to be so careful about taking the minipill at the same time every day.

intrauterine devices

An IUD is a small T-shaped device made of flexible plastic that’s inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. There are two kinds of IUDs available in the United States: ParaGard, which is wrapped in fine copper wire and lasts for ten years, and Mirena, which contains progestin and lasts five years.

IUDs provide effective, long-term, reversible protection, and they’re safe for nursing moms. You can have one inserted about six weeks after delivery, when your uterus has returned to its pre-pregnant state.

Both types of IUDs work primarily by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. The copper IUD releases copper into the uterus, which works as a spermicide. The Mirena releases a form of the hormone progestin (levonorgestrel) into the uterus. The progestin thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm can’t reach the egg and may keep some women from ovulating.

In the unlikely event that an egg does get fertilized and survives, both IUDs cause inflammation in the uterus that makes it harder for the egg to implant there.

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