If you are expecting your first child, or if you have just given birth, you may be be wondering how long it is before you can get pregnant again.
You may want your kids to be very close in age, or you simply may be curious as to when you have to worry about birth control again (or getting pregnant again may be the last thing on your mind!). Either way, the answer may surprise you. It is actually not long at all.
How Soon Can You Get Pregnant After Giving Birth?
Your body is remarkably capable of getting pregnant again soon after having a baby. In fact, you could get pregnant almost immediately after giving birth. It all depends when your body decides to start ovulating again – this is different for everyone.
You will have your first postpartum period somewhere between 4 and 24 weeks after giving birth. And you can get pregnant before this happens, depending on a few things (we’ll get to that). Some women don’t ovulate during their first cycle, so their first period may be what is known as a ‘sterile period’. However, some women begin ovulating very soon after giving birth, and so could potentially get pregnant. You might be surprised how many women arrive at their first postpartum checkup (six weeks) only to announce they are pregnant again.
How Breastfeeding Affects This
Breastfeeding has been shown to delay ovulation, and some women choose to use this as a contraceptive method called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). However, this is not a particularly reliable method. When ovulation returns is different for every women – it really depends on how regularly and long babies feed for. For example, LAM is most effective when a child breastfeeds exclusively (no bottle feeding and no pacifiers), on demand day and night, at least six times a day and for at least sixty minutes. This requires quite a lot of discipline and many things can disrupt it – sleep deprivation and stress being a couple of common ones. Any disturbances to your breastfeeding routine can cause ovulation to return sooner.
If you’re not breastfeeding, ovulation will likely not return until at least six weeks after you gave birth. But this range varies greatly between women. To play it safe, it is recommended that you use birth control once you start having sex after giving birth, regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not.
Risks Associated With Getting Pregnant Soon After Giving Birth
It is recommended that couples wait at least twelve months before thinking about getting pregnant again. There are some risks associated with pregnancies with shorter intervals between them.This is thought to be because your body hasn’t fully replenished the hormones and nutrients required during pregnancy.
Some of these complications include:
• Premature birth
• Low birth weight
• Increased risk of birth defects
Plenty of babies born soon after another birth are completely healthy, but if you are thinking about getting pregnant soon after giving birth, be sure to discuss it with your OBGYN so you know exactly what risks are involved. Also consider how your child’s life may be affected (both positively and negatively) by having a sibling close to them in age.
If you have had a caesarean, you should definitely wait until your caesarean wound has healed to full strength before having your next child.
If you would like to know more about getting pregnant after giving birth, or if you’d like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.