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Connected Families – The Complete Series: Can You Get Pregnant If Your Period Hasn't Returned

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling

Dr Christine Catling, a midwife for over 25 years, is the Director of Midwifery Studies at UTS. She believes research, innovation and good quality midwifery are pivotal to the well-being of mothers and young families. Christine has extensive experience in antenatal education, policy development and research, and has published on workforce issues, homebirth, vaginal birth...
Created on Sep 27, 2023 · 3 mins read
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You’ve welcomed your little one to the world and your life has surely changed! Settling into your new role is exciting but it also comes with its challenges too. From the nappy changes to the constant breastfeeding, so the thought of adding another baby to your family may seem like the last thing you could handle right now.

And then you may wonder, is it even possible to get pregnant again so soon after giving birth – especially if you haven’t had your period return yet?

In short, yes! You can start ovulating as soon as six weeks (or even earlier) after giving birth which can allow you to get pregnant. So if you’re having sex after that, it is possible that you could fall pregnant again.

How can this happen?

As you know by now, your hormones are constantly changing and keeping you on your toes. After giving birth they are working to get back to normal levels, which can cause some irregular periods at first. This leads many women to believe they aren’t ovulating, but this is a misconception.

What if I’m breastfeeding?

You might be thinking that if you’re breastfeeding, you’re in the clear, but this is another common misconception. It is true that breastfeeding can keep your ovulation from happening sooner, however, this doesn’t guarantee that you aren’t at all, so you should continue to use contraception if you are having sex.

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Is it safe to get pregnant so soon after giving birth?

Doctors advise against trying for another baby straight after birth wherever possible. Your body is still healing and adding another baby to your body will not allow it to get the recovery that it needs. Recovery is the most important thing to do after giving birth, so most doctors suggest ideally waiting 18 months before trying for another baby. Always speak with your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns or worries.

When can I start having sex again then?

The most essential things to consider before you start having sex again are that your bleeding has stopped (usually six weeks), you are no longer experiencing pain, and that you have the desire to do it. Your doctor or midwife will usually give you the all-clear at your 6-week check-up, so then it’s up to the individual, so speak with your partner and give your body some time to relax.

Overall, getting pregnant is an unbelievably exciting time. You might be keen to give your child a sibling, but if it comes too early you might feel overwhelmed and struggle if your body hasn’t had the time it needs to recover. Take time to find out what is best for you and your baby, speak with your doctor, and remember that it is possible to get pregnant before your period comes back.

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