Post-Baby Birth Control: Why Did My Doctors Make Me Feel Like An IUD Is My Only Option?

Post-Baby Birth Control: Why Did My Doctors Make Me Feel Like An IUD Is My Only Option?

Do women have a choice in post-pregnancy birth control…or is an IUD to the new go-to method?

Like most women, my childbirth was a bit traumatic. Just when I thought that I could enjoy a reprieve from being poked and prodded, there was my midwife ready to put yet another thing into my uterus.

It was my six-week postpartum checkup, which I was expecting to breeze through without any interaction, instead my midwife popped the question, “What are we doing for birth control?”

Actually, I’m not quite sure she even asked. Instead, it was all about an IUD. As in, me having one….stat. She rambled on about how easy insertion was, how it would lessen my periods and how new studies were showing it could stay in even longer. Personally, I hadn’t even entertained the idea of birth control so soon after giving birth. My hope was that this transition period would be the perfect time to ween myself off of hormonal birth control. Instead, I was bombarded by talk of IUD, and a brief mention of the mini-pill. I never knew that some doctors would do it after giving birth in the hospital.

As a breastfeeding mother, your options are fewer because you don’t want a medication with estrogen to tank your supply. Instead of committing to a birth control method on the spot, I explained I would need time to think about it – and discuss with my husband. We decided she would call in a prescription for the mini-pill and I was on my way. I’ve never used it.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there’s an overall upward trend of IUD use in America. The research found that IUD use increased 83 percent from 2006–2010 to 2011–2013. During the same period, arm implants tripled in use.

The receptionist on my way out of my check up went into her own monologue of how great her IUD was. It made me wonder — were these women just helpful, or were they pushy? While I didn’t land on a definitive answer, I did know two things to be true — they are very nice women to begin with and I did leave feeling like an IUD was my only option.

Why did it seem like the entire staff at my midwife’s office was pushing IUDs? A 2015 study found that 42 percent of female health care providers used an IUD or implant (out of 500)–that’s much higher than the general population. So maybe it’s a hot option because it doesn’t interfere with nursing, according to a 2016 report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. And if you really do not want to try for another child right away–or ever–it’s a good long-term form of birth control

Do female health care workers seem to push the IUD because they love it themselves, or is there something else going on? I’m not sure if I’m reading into it too much, but I’m taking this all into consideration as I decide what form of birth control is best for me.

Images courtesy of Getty Images.