CDC Revises Recommendations for the Use of Birth Control Methods During the Initial Period After Childbirth
New recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say women who have just given birth should wait at least three weeks before they start using birth control pills because of the serious risk of blood clots. Women with risk factors for blood clots - such as delivery by Caesarean section, obesity, smoking, or a history of previous blood blots - should wait at least six weeks before using birth control pills.
Several studies have shown women are more likely to develop a blood clot in the weeks after delivery than nonpregnant women of reproductive age who have not just had a baby. The risk decreases quickly after 21 days but does not return to normal until 42 days after delivery. Since combination birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin also raise the risk of serious blood clots, they should be avoided during the three to six weeks after pregnancy, depending on the presence of other risk factors for blood clots. The CDC also states that women who are breast-feeding may want to avoid hormonal contraceptives because they can interfere with lactation.
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WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
This alert is important for women of childbearing age who are currently pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Starting a birth control method soon after the delivery of a baby is important to prevent unintended pregnancy and short birth intervals, which can lead to negative health outcomes for mother and infant. Toward the end of your pregnancy, be sure to talk to your doctor about which birth control option is appropriate for you for the time period after you deliver your baby. Your doctor will be able to review your specific risks and provide birth control recommendations specific to your medical history and risk factors.
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