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Chance of getting pregnant after birth
How soon can you get pregnant after having a baby?
Myths about postpartum fertility are widespread. From rumors that it is impossible to get pregnant while breastfeeding to beliefs that the body will not get pregnant until it is “ready,” it can be hard to get the facts.
While unlikely, it is possible to get pregnant less than 6 weeks after having a baby. However, it is impossible until a woman ovulates again. The point at which ovulation happens varies from person to person, which means some women could get pregnant earlier than others.
Sometimes, ovulation happens before a period, so it is also possible for a woman to get pregnant before having the first postpartum period.
In this article, learn more about how soon a woman can get pregnant after having a baby, as well as how long to wait, and the possible risks of pregnancies that are too close together.
Share on PinterestMost women resume ovulation between 45 to 94 days after giving birth.
Ovulation occurs when an ovary releases an egg for fertilization. If the egg is unfertilized, the body expels the egg, the uterine lining, and blood in a menstrual period. Ovulation must occur for a woman to get pregnant, and regular periods are a sign that a woman has ovulated.
A 2011 review of previous studies found that women ovulate for the first time between 45 to 94 days after giving birth. Most women did not begin ovulating until at least 6 weeks after childbirth, but a few ovulated sooner.
Usually, women who are not breastfeeding ovulate sooner after giving birth than women who do breastfeed.
However, a woman’s first ovulation cycle might occur before she gets her first postpartum period. This means that it is possible for a woman to get pregnant before menstruation begins again.
Pregnancy causes many hormonal shifts, and it takes the body time to get back to normal. For many women, their first few postpartum periods are irregular.
Breastfeeding often prevents ovulation, but this is not always the case. However, women who breastfeed their infants exclusively for 6 months are less likely to ovulate during this time than women who do not breastfeed.
Some women use breastfeeding as a birth control method. Doctors call this the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). Amenorrhea means a lack of menstruation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following three factors must be present for LAM to have the best chance at preventing pregnancy:
The baby must be younger than 6 months old. After 6 months, breastfeeding often becomes less frequent, increasing the risk that ovulation will return.
The mother must be exclusively or almost exclusively breastfeeding. Giving formula or other foods to the baby increases the time between breastfeeding sessions. Breastfeeding on demand with intervals of no more than 4–6 hours between feedings is the most effective strategy.
The woman’s period must not have returned. While not all menstruating women are fertile, the return of a woman’s period suggests the body is preparing to ovulate.
Research on the effectiveness of the LAM is mixed. One major challenge of this method is that it is difficult to use correctly. Traveling away from the baby overnight or spending long days at work can create gaps in breastfeeding that make this method less effective.
According to Planned Parenthood, LAM is about 98 percent effective when people use this method in the first 6 months after the baby is born.
After 6 months postpartum, LAM is less effective. Women who are not considering another pregnancy might think about starting to use another contraceptive method.
Share on PinterestThe World Health Organization advise waiting 24 months before trying for another baby.
Getting pregnant again too soon after giving birth increases the risk of adverse outcomes for both the woman and baby. Recovering from birth takes time, especially if there were complications.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the safest option is to wait 24 months before trying for another baby. The charity March of Dimes suggests waiting at least 18 months.
Women who have had a pregnancy loss, stillbirth, hemorrhage, or surgical birth may need to wait longer. Talk to a midwife or doctor for help timing the next pregnancy.
Some women cannot imagine having another baby after giving birth, while others cannot wait to start planning for another.
There is no right or wrong way to feel about getting pregnant after childbirth. But practical considerations — including whether pregnancy might disrupt breastfeeding, and the safety of a pregnancy soon after birth — should play a role in the decision.
Also, recommendations for when it is safe to have sex after giving birth vary. In general, it is best to wait until postpartum bleeding has stopped, pain has disappeared, and a woman wants to have sex.
Consider using the final postpartum doctor’s visit as a chance to discuss birth control options and ask questions about fertility, as well as any concerns about having sex.
Women have many options for preventing pregnancy, including condoms and hormonal contraceptives that are safe to use while breastfeeding. In many cases, the LAM method will be effective for the first 6 months postpartum.
How long should you wait before getting pregnant again?
In This Topic
It's best to wait at least 18 months (1½ years) between giving birth and getting pregnant again.
Too little time between pregnancies increases your risk of premature birth. The shorter the time between pregnancies, the higher your risk.
Premature babies are more likely to have health problems than babies born on time.
Your body needs time to fully recover from your last pregnancy before it’s ready for your next pregnancy.
Use birth control until you’re ready to get pregnant again. Examples of birth control include IUDs, implants, the pill and condoms.
For most women, how long should you wait before getting pregnant again?
For most women, it’s best to wait at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again. This means your baby will be at least 1½ years old before you get pregnant with another baby. This much time gives your body time to fully recover from your last pregnancy before it’s ready for your next pregnancy.
The time between giving birth and getting pregnant again is called birth spacing, pregnancy spacing and interpregnancy interval (also called IPI).
Why is waiting at least 18 months between pregnancies important?
Getting pregnant again before 18 months increases your risk for certain health problems for your baby, including:
Premature birth. This means your baby is born too soon, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies are more likely to have health problems and have to stay in the hospital longer than babies born on time. The shorter the time between pregnancies, the higher your risk for premature birth.
Low birthweight. This is when your baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
Being small for gestational age (also called SGA). This means your baby is smaller than normal based on the number of weeks he’s been in the womb.
Babies with these health conditions are more likely to have long-term health problems or even die than babies without the conditions.
What can you do to help you get the right amount of time between pregnancies?
Here’s what you can do:
Wait at least 18 months after having a baby before getting pregnant again. Give your body this time to recover from your last pregnancy before you get pregnant again.
Use effective birth control (also called contraception or family planning) until you’re ready to get pregnant again. Birth control helps keep you from getting pregnant. Examples of birth control include include intrauterine devices (also called IUDs), implants, the pill and condoms. Other than abstinence (not having sex), IUDs and implants are the most effective kinds of birth control. They work well at preventing pregnancy because they’re low maintenance. This means that once you get them from your provider, they work for a long time (up to several years) and you don’t have to worry about or remember how or when to use them. Once you have an IUD or implant, you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant until you have it removed. Talk to your provider to see if an IUD or implant is right for you.
If you’re pregnant, talk to your provider before you give birth about getting an IUD or implant right after you have your baby. If you don’t get an IUD or implant right after giving birth, talk to your provider about getting one at your postpartum checkup. This is a medical checkup you get about 6 weeks after you have your baby.
If you’re older than 35 or have had a miscarriage or stillbirth, talk to your provider about how long to wait between pregnancies. Waiting 18 months may not be right for you. A miscarriage is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy. A stillbirth is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Why does getting pregnant again too soon increase your chances for premature birth?
Experts don’t know for sure why getting pregnant again too soon increases your chances of premature birth and other health problems for your baby. It may be because your body needs time to:
Build up its supply of nutrients, like folic acid. Nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, help your body stay healthy. If your body doesn’t have enough nutrients and you get pregnant again too soon, it may cause health problems for you or your baby. For example, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, your baby gets the nutrients she needs from your body. After having a baby, your body may not have enough of certain nutrients, like folic acid. Folic acid is a vitamin that every cell in your body needs for normal growth and development. If you take it before you get pregnant, it can help reduce your baby’s chances of having birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (also called NTDs). If you get pregnant again too soon and your folic acid levels are low, your next baby is more likely to be born prematurely, with low birthweight or with NTDs.
Heal from infection and inflammation. Infection during pregnancy can lead to inflammation (redness and swelling) in parts of your body, like the uterus (womb). If you have a condition like endometritis (inflammation of the lining of the uterus) during pregnancy and get pregnant again before your body has fully healed, you may have the condition again in your next pregnancy. Inflammation may play a role in preterm premature rupture of membranes (also called PPROM). PPROM is when the sac (bag of waters) around the baby breaks before 37 weeks pregnancy, causing labor to start. PPROM can cause premature birth.
Reset the microbiome of the vagina (birth canal). The microbiome is a group of microorganisms. Microorganisms (like bacteria) are living things that are so small you need a microscope to see them. Some experts think the microbiome in a woman’s vagina (called the vaginal microbiome) may play a role in premature birth. For example, having an infection called bacterial vaginosis affects the vaginal microbiome and can increase your chances of having a premature baby. Also, the vaginal microbiome of women who have had a premature baby may be different than that of women who have a baby after 37 weeks of pregnancy. And it may take time—even a year—for the vaginal microbiome to go back to how it was before pregnancy. So getting pregnant again too soon may cause problems in your next pregnancy, like premature birth. The March of Dimes supports research to learn more about the vaginal microbiome and premature birth.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Show Your Love Preconception Health
Last reviewed: July, 2017
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Pregnancy after childbirth: is it worth the risk?
A second pregnancy immediately after childbirth is quite common. Why do doctors recommend waiting about two years before planning another pregnancy? Learn more about this in our article
IMPORTANT! Information from the article cannot be used for self-diagnosis and self-treatment! Only a doctor can prescribe the necessary examinations, establish a diagnosis and draw up a treatment plan for a consultation!
Children - the weather - not one happiness, but two. This is the opinion of many women who become pregnant shortly after giving birth. Of course, such kids are more sociable, less selfish, their needs are about the same. Often they even go to first grade together. But for a mother, such a pregnancy is a serious test.
The author of the article: Lekareva Tatyana Mikhailovna, obstetrician-gynecologist, candidate of medical sciences
A woman's body does not have time to recover from previous births, pregnancy often proceeds with the threat of termination, and childbirth occurs prematurely. Doctors usually recommend waiting about two years before planning another pregnancy.
It is believed that women resume sexual activity after childbirth after 5-8 weeks. Is it so? Many women postpone the start of their sexual life due to fatigue, decreased libido, and most importantly, because of the fear of an unwanted pregnancy.
Are there ways to help prevent an unplanned pregnancy after childbirth?
To the question "What is important when choosing a method of contraception?" lactating mothers answered:
no effect on the quality and quantity of breast milk;
no effect on the growth and development of the baby;
The most common after childbirth is the so-called lactational amenorrhea method, which is based on the temporary loss of the ability to conceive during breastfeeding. The mechanism of action is a change in the production of hormones in the pituitary gland, which occurs due to irritation of the nipples during feeding.
But it must be remembered that contraceptive effectiveness is maintained only if the following rules are strictly observed:
Postpartum period not more than 6 months;
Exclusive breastfeeding at least every 4 hours during the day and 6 at night;
Absence of menses.
Unfortunately, these conditions are not always feasible… What can we offer in this situation?
Barrier methods (condoms) combined with spermicides, i.e. chemicals that cause the death of spermatozoa are readily available and do not have a systemic effect on the woman's body. However, they must be remembered before every sexual intercourse, and even the highest quality condoms can break.
Voluntary surgical sterilization (tubal ligation and transection) may be offered to women over 40 who already have three or more children. The procedure is performed during laparoscopy or at the time of the caesarean section, in a situation where the last birth did not occur through the natural birth canal.
This method is irreversible and if the question of pregnancy later arises, it can only occur with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Intrauterine devices do not affect lactation and also do not have a systemic effect on the woman's body. This method is highly effective and confidential, i.e. does not require the consent of the partner to use. The introduction of the spiral is usually done 6-8 weeks after birth. Only a specialist can insert a spiral. Before manipulation, it is necessary to conduct a bacteriological examination of the discharge from the genital tract to exclude infectious processes, both specific, caused by chlamydia, mycoplasmas, Trichomonas, etc. , and non-specific, provoked by their own opportunistic microflora.
Side effects of intrauterine contraceptives include pain in the lower abdomen, increased menstrual blood loss, intermenstrual bleeding. Expulsion is also possible, i.e. loss or displacement of the spiral. If this fact is not noticed by a woman, the risk of pregnancy will be extremely high.
The most reliable and easily reversible is hormonal contraception. However, combined hormonal contraceptives are contraindicated in breastfeeding women, as they reduce the volume of breast milk and may affect the development of the liver and brain of newborns.
In this situation, progestogen contraceptives are most often recommended. This type includes several methods - tablet preparations, depot preparations, subcutaneous implants, hormone-containing intrauterine systems.
The most commonly used in our time are precisely tablet preparations, known as "mini-pill". Their main difference from "ordinary" contraceptive pills is the presence of only one active ingredient, progestogen, an analogue of the hormone progesterone. Such drugs meet all the requirements for contraception for nursing mothers.
When can I start using minipills? According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, 6 weeks after birth, i.e. just at the moment when many women resume their sexual life. Moreover, it is acceptable to start taking as early as 3-4 weeks after birth, if other methods are unacceptable.
Conditions for starting these drugs include:
exclusive breastfeeding and absence of menstruation, if no more than 6 months have passed after childbirth;
4 weeks postpartum if not lactating;
first 7 days of the menstrual cycle;
confidence in the absence of pregnancy.
The main mechanism of action of such drugs is to increase the viscosity of the mucus in the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to penetrate through it. Modern drugs containing desogestrel also suppress ovulation, i.e. drastically increase the efficiency.
Instructions for use:
non-breastfeeding women start on the first day of the menstrual cycle;
tablets are taken daily, at the same time, after meals, in the evening;
additional (barrier) methods of contraception must be used during the first 7 days;
if you are sure that you are not pregnant (the menstrual cycle has not returned, the child is exclusively breastfed), you can start taking the drug on any day.
Classically, the deviation from the prescribed intake time should not exceed 3 hours, but for preparations containing desogestrel, this interval reaches 12 hours, which is very convenient, given that all the thoughts of a woman at this time are busy taking care of the baby.
And finally, a few words about emergency contraception. If unprotected intercourse has occurred, it is important to assess the real possibility of pregnancy. If less than 6 months have passed since the birth and the baby is breastfed, the risk is minimal. If these conditions are not present, emergency contraception should be used as soon as possible.
These can be special tablets designed specifically for use after unprotected intercourse, they can be taken within 96 hours, or the introduction of an intrauterine device is possible, this procedure can be carried out within 5 days.
However, if you have had to use emergency contraception, you do not have a reliable permanent method.
See a doctor who can help you avoid such emergencies. Together with your doctor, you will choose a reliable, safe method of contraception that is right for you, and peace and harmony will reign in life, family and relationships with your loved one.
You can sign up for a consultation with our specialist online on the clinic’s website or by calling +7 812 327 03 01.
General condition after childbirth and when you can get pregnant questions about a possible future pregnancy: is it possible to get pregnant after childbirth in the first months? Some mothers dream that their children grow up with the weather, and they have a corresponding question: I really want a second child, while I want to get pregnant in the near future, what should I do? And other families believe that they no longer need children in the near future, so they think about how not to get pregnant after childbirth, what methods of protection are better to choose.
To find out the answers to these and many other questions, you need to get an idea of what changes usually occur in the female body after the birth of a baby.
Return to the old life
The processes that occur in the female body after childbirth are like watching a film rolled backwards: they are all aimed at returning to the previous state.
Uterus and mammary glands
The biggest and fastest changes occur in the genitals. Already a week and a half after birth, the uterus contracts so much that it hides behind the pubic joint. From the penetration of infection into the cavity protects the cervical canal - a narrow gap in the cervix; its inner part also closes by the tenth day. But the final formation of the neck occurs only three months after the birth of the baby.
Cleansing and healing of the postpartum wound surface takes place inside the uterus; outwardly, this manifests itself in the form of specific secretions - lochia. The more time passes, the less villi of placental tissue and bleeding vessels remain in the epithelium of the uterus, and the lighter the lochia becomes: somewhere on the tenth day, they acquire a muco-serous character. After the lochia disappeared completely (about a month and a half after birth), the functional layer of the uterus is completely restored.
The mammary glands change: in the first day or two of them, colostrum is secreted, by the end of the third day, the alveoli begin to actively produce milk. The process of breastfeeding by the baby causes a surge in the level of oxytocin in the mother's body, and the process of milk production itself causes the level of prolactin. So the hormonal chain twists into a tight ball.
Changes in the hormonal system are so colossal that often a woman becomes depressed or nervous. Those hormones, due to which the development of the fetus occurred, are removed from the body in the first few days, and the formation of hormones typical for a non-pregnant woman begins - follicle-stimulating (FSH) and luteinizing (LH). By the end of the second week, LH concentrations are approaching the levels characteristic of the menstrual cycle.
Under the influence of FSH, rapid growth of ovarian follicles begins. It has been established that in some cases, the first postpartum release of an egg can occur already on the thirty-third day. On average, the menstrual cycle begins to recover from the sixth to eighth week in non-nursing mothers. In lactating women, during the first half of the year, menstruation is anovulatory in nature, since prolactin suppresses the maturation of the egg.
Frequently asked questions and answers
In the maternity hospital, a woman is absorbed in her newborn miracle and does not have time or forgets to ask the gynecologist about her moments of concern. And when you return home, it becomes even more difficult to get out for an appointment with a consultation. So it turns out that painful questions remain unanswered. Here are examples of just some of them:
Is it possible to get pregnant after giving birth in the first few months? The answer to this question depends on whether the mother is breastfeeding or not. Obstetricians and gynecologists identify several signs that a woman will not be able to become pregnant in the near future:
the baby eats only his mother's breast, and if he is supplemented with a formula, then the mixture does not replace a single breastfeeding session. Gynecologists believe that at any time you can get pregnant from the moment at least one complementary food is introduced;
breaks between feedings are no more than three hours during the day and six at night. During this time, the hormone prolactin breaks down and the egg can mature;
the child is not more than six months old.
I really want to get pregnant after giving birth as soon as possible. Is this possible and what should I do if I want to get pregnant in a short time after giving birth? It is possible to get pregnant quickly after giving birth. But for this, you will have to sacrifice breastfeeding your first baby. For about three weeks, the body of a woman who has given birth still contains an increased amount of prolactin, and the egg does not mature. Then, if the milk is not demanded by the baby, prolactin ceases to be released, and ovulation begins, which means that there are conditions to get pregnant at any time. But in order for the baby to grow up healthy, he must suck at the breast for at least six months. Six months later, even with natural feeding, the amount of prolactin in the body is not enough to suppress ovulation. In addition, complementary foods are introduced and the number of feedings is reduced, they become less frequent. Therefore, if a woman says that she really wants to get pregnant as early as possible, it is better that the concept of “as early as possible” implies a six-month pause between childbirth and a new pregnancy. During this time, her body will recover and the baby will get stronger.
I don't want to get pregnant anytime soon. What to do? Up to six months, you can use the method of lactational amenorrhea: breastfeed the baby only with interruptions during the day no more than three, and at night - no more than six hours. This method is especially effective until menstruation has resumed. If the baby is on artificial or mixed feeding, contraception is needed. You can use hormonal tablets (for nursing - special, with a low dose of the hormone. For example, Exluton or Lactinet). Effective barrier methods (condoms, caps). Some women have an intrauterine device installed. This can be done ten weeks after giving birth by visiting a gynecologist.
Are there certain days when you can get pregnant after giving birth? This question arises among fans of the physiological method of contraception. But after childbirth, the menstrual cycle is extremely unstable, so focusing on the average cycle length is quite risky: you can make a mistake when calculating the days when ovulation occurs.
I really want to get pregnant as early as possible, but the previous pregnancy ended in a caesarean section. How long should it take if I want to get pregnant without risking my health and the health of the baby? After a caesarean section, it is necessary to protect yourself from pregnancy for two years.