You’ve heard it all: You can’t get pregnant right after giving birth. You can’t get pregnant while you’re breastfeeding. You can’t get pregnant before your first postpartum period.
But is any of it true?
Many mothers wonder how soon they can get pregnant after giving birth. While some are looking to expand their family sooner rather than later, others are wondering how soon they need to start using birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Whatever your situation, learn everything you need to know about conceiving postpartum here.
How Soon After Giving Birth Can You Get Pregnant?
Many people believe that a woman cannot get pregnant soon after giving birth. However, it’s possible for a woman to conceive as early as four weeks postpartum.
Can You Get Pregnant Before Your First Period After Giving Birth?
In short, yes. As we mentioned, it’s possible for a woman to get pregnant as early as four weeks after giving birth, even if she hasn’t started her period again.
Some women experience what’s known as a “sterile” first period. This essentially means that they don’t ovulate during their initial cycle. Other women ovulate before having a period, which means they could potentially go from one pregnancy to the next before ever reaching for the pads or tampons.
Ultimately, it’s almost impossible to know whether the period or the egg will come first, which is why you should always use contraception if you intend to plan your next pregnancy.
Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding naturally suppresses ovulation, but that doesn’t mean it’s a reliable form of birth control. Most women who breastfeed resume their cycles later than women who do not breastfeed, but again, don’t rely on this as a form of birth control. Some nursing moms resume their periods as soon as six weeks after giving birth! Some women, on the other hand, go period-free for over a year.
Just remember that women can and do get pregnant while breastfeeding so be sure to use a reliable form of contraception if you intend to plan your next pregnancy.
How Long Should I Wait to Get Pregnant Again?
If you’re eager to grow your family, you may be wondering how soon you can get pregnant again after giving birth. While some women have healthy pregnancies sooner after giving birth, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends waiting at least one year after giving birth and ideally 18 months.
Getting pregnant again within 18 months of giving room can increase the odds of certain complications in your following pregnancy. Some women who conceived quickly after giving birth have a premature or low-weight baby, which increases their risk of asthma, hearing and vision problems, as well as developmental delays.
While doctors still aren’t sure what exactly causes this increased risk of complications, many believe that the uterus may still be slightly inflamed from the previous pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, all women are different. While one woman might not be able to conceive for over a year after giving birth, another may conceive four weeks postpartum without trying.
The bottom line is if you are having sex and want to avoid an unplanned back-to-back pregnancy, use some form of birth control.
Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch for Care During Your Pregnancy and Beyond
At OB-GYN Women’s Center, one of our goals is to establish good relationships with our patients. If have any concerns about getting pregnant again, or want to avoid an unplanned back-to-back pregnancy, let us help you.
Contact us to schedule an appointment. We are happy to assist you.