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Having another baby might be the last thing on your mind right now. But getting pregnant too soon after giving birth can be risky for both you and your baby. Becoming pregnant again within a year of giving birth increases the chance that your new baby will be born too soon. Babies that are born too soon can have health problems.
Planning your next pregnancy if you want more children — or preventing a pregnancy if you don't — is important. Spacing pregnancies at least 12 months apart will give your body time to fully recover. In the meantime, using reliable birth control is the best way to prevent pregnancy until you decide if and when to have another baby. Women who have just given birth should wait three weeks before using birth control that contains both estrogen and progestin. This includes the pill, the patch, and vaginal ring. Using these methods in the early weeks after giving birth increases the risk of dangerous blood clots. Wait six weeks to use birth control with both estrogen and progestin if you delivered by c-section or have other risk factors for blood clots. These risk factors include obesity, history of blood clots, smoking, or preeclampsia. Women have many good choices for birth control after giving birth. Keep in mind that breastfeeding alone isn't a foolproof way to prevent pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your birth control options.
Content last updated: November 15, 2011.
Resources last updated: September 27, 2010.