You just gave birth and amid all the new mom things you have going on, the last thing on your mind is having another baby. However, birth control after childbirth is an important subject to have covered, or you could very well find yourself having your next baby sooner than you'd planned.
It's important to talk to your health care provider about your plans for future children well before you intend to start thinking about having more kids. Contraception is a personal choice, and there are a number of options available. Your doctor will help you find what's right for your body and your circumstances.
If You're Breastfeeding
There are two types of birth control while breastfeeding: birth control while breastfeeding, and breastfeeding as birth control. If you plan to breastfeed after giving birth and want to get on a contraceptive, explore non-hormonal options first. Barrier methods include male/female condoms, diaphragms and copper intrauterine devices (IUD). Natural family planning is also an option, but in order to avoid another pregnancy, you'll need to stay on top of your fertility, which can be hard immediately after birth thanks for fluctuating hormones.
Breastfeeding itself can be used as a form of birth control, and may last as long as six months after giving birth. During this time, with exclusive breastfeeding, most women won't produce certain hormones necessary to ovulate.
Some hormone-based birth control methods like Depo-Provera and Mirena may be used under the oversight of a doctor and are generally safe.
If You're Not Breastfeeding
Hormonal birth control options like "the pill" and Ortho-Evra are the most popular for women who don't breastfeed after giving birth. While natural family planning methods are still an option, the strict attention to detail is daunting for many women. Hormone-based birth control methods may interfere with breast milk production, so women who are breastfeeding should stay away from any contraceptives with estrogen, specifically.
Estrogen-Progestin contraceptives are not advised for breastfeeding moms.
If You Don't Want Any More Kids, Ever
Sterilization is the best way to ensure that you won't have more children. However, if you decide that surgery isn't for you, there are both semi-permanent and permanent methods. Mirena and other cervical IUDs do need to be replaced every 10 years or so, but they offer sterilization-like protection. Essure is a non-surgical process that involves the permanent blockage of your fallopian tubes with plugs that cannot be removed.
There are a number of birth control options for new moms, but the most important thing you can do is talk to your doctor. There are certain time frames when it's not safe to use any hormone-based birth control after giving birth, so be sure you're under the care of a physician before trying anything out.