Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How soon after delivery can one get pregnant again?"
How soon after delivering a child can one become pregnant again? I'm the proud mother of a newborn, and I've heard that there is a sort of 'grace' period during which I don't seriously have to worry about becoming pregnant. Is there evidence of this?
The return of fertility after childbirth is often a concern to women. When your period will resume, and subsequently when you can get pregnant, depends on various factors. Becoming pregnant in the weeks immediately after delivery is not recommended by most health care providers and is often not desired by most women due to the recent stress and demands on your body. Most women will experience bleeding, called lochia, for two to eight weeks following childbirth. The bleeding will gradually become lighter in color and flow signaling that the uterus is healing. The chance that you will ovulate during the first six weeks is low but not impossible. If you are not exclusively breastfeeding you can expect that you will resume ovulation around 10 weeks. Because you ovulate before before you begin your period it is possible to become pregnant before your ever have a period so you can not rely on the return of your menses to determine that you are fertile again. If you are exclusively breastfeeding your chances of ovulation soon after birth are much lower, but again, not impossible. Once the baby begins taking solid foods or is sleeping through the night (causing longer periods in between feeds), birth control needs to be used as ovulation could resume at any time. Most doctors recommending abstaining from sex for the first six weeks after delivery until you are checked and determined to be fully healed. Make sure you discuss your postpartum contraceptive plans at your six week checkup.