FERTILITY AFTER CHILDBIRTH
If you’ve just had a baby you may not be thinking about having sexhowever it is important to remember that fertility can return quicklyafter childbirth. It is a good idea to think about contraception if youdo not want to get pregnant again. There are lots of contraceptivechoices available, see the Contraceptive Choices table for moreinformation or talk to your GP or family planning clinic about thebest option for you.
IF YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO BREASTFEED
Breastfeeding is not in itself a reliable contraceptive method, but itdoes reduce a woman’s fertility and delays the return of ovulation.The lactation amenorrhea method (LAM) has been developed tohelp women who wish to use breastfeeding for child spacing duringthe first six months after birth.
The lactation amenorrhea method (LAM) is 98% effective only if:
◆ Used only in the first six months after giving birth and menstrualperiods have not returned;
◆ The woman is exclusively breastfeeding day and night – at leastsix feeds in 24 hours including night time feeds.
Remember, women should not wait until the return of theirmenstrual period before starting contraception as ovulation occursbefore menstruation making pregnancy possible. Talk to your GP orfamily planning clinic about the options available to you.
HOW YOUR BODY CHANGES OVER TIME
From the age of 35 onwards a woman’s body starts to change.Periods can become heavier, more irregular or stop, sometimes forweeks or months. 90% of women over 40 who have regular cyclesmay still ovulate, but not in every cycle.
THE PERIMENOPAUSE & THE MENOPAUSE
The perimenopause is the time before the menopause when yourbody starts to change. It usually starts in your forties and lasts up tosix years or more. 90% of women have 4-8 years of menstrual cyclechanges before their periods stop completely. Although it’s harder toget pregnant as you get older, pregnancy is still possible at any timeuntil the menopause. Most doctors don’t consider that a woman hasreached the menopause until she has not had a period for a year (or two years if her periods stop before she is 50). Even if your periods stop or become irregular you can still getpregnant. From the age of 35 onwards a woman’s body starts to change. Fertility falls and the menstrual cycle (periods) can change. Periods can become heavier, more irregular or stop, sometimes for weeks or months.
Even if your periods stop or become irregular you can still get pregnant.
More information on your contraception choices
If you don’t want to get pregnant you need to use contraception every time you have sex – whatever your age.