Whenever someone asks the mother of a newborn baby when she expects to have another child, they should expect to get a dirty look, at the very least. That said, it can be surprising how quickly the memories of even a very painful labor and delivery can fade into the background. Even women who screamed very angry words at their husbands or partners in the delivery room may be happy when, at their six week postpartum visit, their doctor gives them the green light to resume intimate activity.
All of these things lead to the question of how soon a woman can become pregnant again after giving birth. The obvious answer is that she could become pregnant at any time after her menstrual cycle returns. Most of the time, it is that simple.
Of course, whenever there is a rule there are exceptions. The likelihood of becoming pregnant before your cycle returns is slim, but there is a small chance that you could get pregnant before you get your first postpartum menstrual period even if you are breastfeeding. Following the “rules” of natural child spacing can prevent pregnancy ninety eight percent of the time, about the same as with conventional birth control methods.
If you are relying on breastfeeding as contraception, make sure that you know the rules of the natural child spacing game. Fortunately, there are only three. If your menstrual cycle has not returned, your baby is not getting supplemental bottles of formula or going more than three hours without a feed during the day and six hours at night, and your baby is less than six months old then natural child spacing should prove effective as a birth control method for you. Many breastfeeding mothers remain infertile for longer than six months, especially if they delay introduction of solid foods, but it is still wise to begin investigating alternative methods of contraception at that time so that you do not become pregnant again before you are ready.
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