Resuming Sex & Birth Control
Updated: Apr 27, 2019
How to resume your intimacy after delivery and what are your contraception options?
Making sacrifices is part of motherhood. But you need not give up your intimacy with your partner. Juggling with caring for a newborn as well as spending time to become an intimate couple can be challenging. But it is important to continue to focus on me time and your partner’s needs.
Strong relationships are based on trust and understanding. Being open and honest is crucial. If you are too caught up with your new duties as a mother and feel the intense pressure, do confide with your partner. If you are worried that sexual intercourse will hurt, talk to your partner about what feels good and what hurts. Keep an open communication and he will definitely understand.
Contraceptive options during breastfeeding
Yes, breastfeeding is a natural contraception. Mothers, who are fully breastfeeding, are protected in the first six months. This is known as lactational amenorrhoea method (LAM).
Others use barrier methods like condoms. The women who are breastfeeding can also decide on hormonal methods like mini pills and injectables. Another option is the intra-uterine device, which is inserted into the womb after six weeks of delivery.
Oral contraceptive pills can be used if the woman chooses not to breastfeed. Some couples choose permanent sterilization such as female tubal ligation or male sterilisation/vasectomy.
Are these methods effective?
Lactational Amenorrhoea Method has a failure rate of 1–2%.
Hormonal methods are highly effective with a failure rate of 1%. The disadvantage of the mini pill is that it has to be taken daily and at around the same time of the day. This requires strong motivation and compliance.
Injectables are convenient and given every three months. However, it causes irregular menstrual spotting which can be irritating. Some women may develop depression and weight gain.
Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) can worsen migraine in some women and rarely causes deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) in the legs.
Condoms are dependent on the correct technique of usage and has failure rate up to 15%. It disrupts the sexual experience as condoms have to be worn before penetration and removed immediately after ejaculation. However, it is the only protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Natural methods like rhythm and withdrawal methods are least effective with failure rates of 30%. There is no side effect though.
Permanent sterilization is irreversible. Failure of tubal ligation is 1 in 200 women while failure of vasectomy is 1 in 2000. Besides, tubal ligation carries surgical risks and risk of ectopic pregnancy (outside the womb) if the contraception fails.
Most popular contraceptive method in Singapore
In a population survey conducted in 2006, 1 in 2 women used contraception. Condoms are most popular. Only 15% tried pills or injectables. 10% chose permanent sterilization while 10% used intra-uterine device (IUD).