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How Soon Can I…

By Amalah


…have a glass of champagne or wine after delivery?

A lot of couples like toasting the baby’s arrival with champagne right in the hospital, and unless you’re on a restricted diet for some reason, it’s fine to go ahead and have a small glass whenever. (If you’re breastfeeding, have your glass right after the baby nurses so it will metabolize before the next feeding.) If you have a c-section or bad reaction to your epidural, though, you’ll probably want to wait 24 hours or so.

…eat all the stuff you couldn’t during pregnancy NOM NOM SUSHI?

Again, unless you’re on a restricted diet, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Carefully, if you’re breastfeeding, as newborn tummies can be a tad sensitive to your diet. (Noah had problems if I ate spicy food or citrus for a few weeks; Ezra had one bad night after a super-acidic tomato soup my MIL made.) Also, if you’re breastfeeding you should continue being vigilant about limiting your intake of the fishes that are known to have high exposure to mercury and other toxins.

…start exercising?

For vaginal deliveries, you can start with gentle exercise pretty much as soon as you feel up to it. Use common sense and don’t push yourself in the early weeks. For c-sections, six weeks or so. Walking and other low-impact exercises are good, especially if you weren’t exactly a gym rat throughout your pregnancy. Beware of anything that’s tough on your pelvic floor — like running or sit-ups — for the first couple weeks (leeeeeakage), and do Kegels in the meantime.

…get a bikini wax after a c-section?

Once you’ve gotten the medical all-clear that your scar has completely healed (no stitches, scabs, swelling, etc.), it is perfectly safe to go back to waxing. Six weeks to a couple months, generally. You won’t feel much around the scar, which can be a plus, but you also won’t be able to tell if the wax is too hot, so make sure you (or your waxer) test the temperature first.

…get a boob job or tummy tuck?

Some surgeons will perform elective procedures after three months (or piggyback a tuck during a c-section), but MOST recommend waiting a full six months for everything to really settle into a more permanent state. (Just compiling the most-commonly asked questions here, people, I swear.)

…take the baby on an airplane?

Most doctors say it’s safe to fly with a healthy, full-term newborn after two weeks.

…get pregnant again?

Every woman is different, but it’s best to operate under the assumption that unprotected sex = possible pregnancy, no matter how soon after giving birth or while you’re breastfeeding. Ovulation can return at any time — as early as two or three WEEKS — and you won’t necessarily know it or be able to track it. (Is that lochia, spotting or a period, or some weird combination?) If you’re okay with babies 10 months apart, GOD BLESS YA, but don’t say you weren’t warned that it could actually happen.

…go on birth control?

Uh-huh. THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT, MISSIE. If you’re not nursing, you can go back to whatever form of birth control you like, as soon as you like. If you’re nursing, you’ll want to stick with a non-estrogen option, like the mini-pill or an Intrauterine Device (IUD). The mini-pill is a pain in the butt, since you must take it every day, at the exact same time of day, and even then it’s only about 92% effective. An IUD, like Mirena, is 99% effective and a one-time deal, though it is definitely on the invasive side (also not a top choice if you plan on getting pregnant again on the soon-ish side). And then, of course, there are condoms or the ol’ snip, or my personal favorite, which is doing nothing, being completely reckless, and then lecturing people on the Internet about postpartum birth control anyway. Yeah.

Photo credit: openDemocracy

If you landed here but are still pregnant, visit Amalah’s Pregnancy Calendar. You won’t regret it.

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About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • wallydraigle

    August 11, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    The last part? The part about using condoms but oops, sometimes we don’t because it hardly ever happens yet anyway because major discomfort, still, so what do we have to worry about?
    Yeah, that’s why I’m going to have another baby when my first baby is only 17 months old.
    I really wish there were a more practical alternative to hormonal birth control than condoms. Hormonal birth control makes me frigid, practically. Yay! I have a feeling we’re going to be like one of those families that has like 14 kids all under age 18. Or, you know, snip snip.

  • Tara

    August 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I was soooo not prepared for how long it took me and my parts to feel okay after a vaginal (natural, even) delivery. I ran again at 6 weeks, it felt good to run at 7 weeks, and then I had a terrible bladder-turned-kidney infection at 9 weeks. Take good care of your parts, and don’t push it!

  • rscott

    August 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    There is also a non-hormonal IUD. You can get it put in 8 weeks after a vaginal birth and it is also about 99% effective (Nova T or Flexi T).
    And if you are completely horrified by the idea of becoming pregnant within months of giving birth (like I am) you can also use condoms, just in case – especially if your periods are regular and you know approximately when you are ovulating.

  • Jackie

    August 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I tried to take the non-estrogen birth control when my son was 6 months and he was still breastfeeding. I took it for two weeks and noticed a significant dip in my supply. I immediately stopped taking it and my supply eventually rebounded…after a some work on my part. They say it should not impact supply but it happens. I think anyone who takes it while breastfeeding should track their supply diligently until they know it has not adversely impacted it. A good reason to not jump right into something more permanent like a IUD as it may mean a shortened breastfeeding relationship. Many people have a decreased supply when they are pregnant so it would make sense that anytime you simulate pregnancy you could impact your supply.

  • Allison

    August 11, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    So yeah – I’m one of those who was all “it took me a year to conceive #1, I haven’t had a period yet and I’m still breastfeeding” and here I am getting ready to have babies 11 months apart.
    It can happen. Whew….

  • Della

    August 11, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Like Wallydraigle… minipill + breastfeeding = lack of natural lube nightmare. Besides the side effects, who can seriously remember to take a pill at the SAME TIME every single day? Weekdays, maybe, but the weekend too? AS IF! Aaaannnndd…. ta da! Baby 2 due with baby 1 being 18 months old.
    Talked to my doc about getting tubes tied (would be free since I’ve hit my deductible this year), and got a HUGE chat about trying IUD first b/c of high rate of regret for those under age 30 getting tubes tied. I’ve heard rumors about IUD but doc claims in all his 20+ years of practice he personally has never had anyone using IUD get pregnant. Makes me feel a little better.

  • Sam

    August 12, 2009 at 2:02 am

    So? You have to have sex to get pregnant again, right? Okay. I’m fine then.

  • Olivia

    August 12, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I’m taking the mini pill and I think it has dropped my supply some. My daughter gets enough when we are together by nursing on demand, but I’m having trouble pumping enough to keep up with her on weekdays.
    Also, what everyone else said about taking it at the EXACT same time everyday. I’m always within 30 min, but it scares me. And I forgot a day. And what happens if you travel to a different time zone? Do I take it at 5 a.m. mtn time if I’ve been taking it at 7 a.m. eastern? Ugh…I see us still using condoms for back up.
    We’re planning so space our kids 2 yrs apart, so thankfully I only have to worry about this madness for a year. Once the 2nd kid is born we’ll be getting a more permanent solution. snip, snip…

  • crabbyappleseed

    August 12, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I also noticed a dip in my supply when I started the mini-pill, even though my NP swore I wouldn’t. It coincided with a hideous nursing strike on my daughter’s part- I can’t swear that was the cause, as I’d had an oversupply issue before and she’d already had several mini-strikes before that, but the two happened awfully close together. We got thru the strike, my supply rebounded, and at eight months, we’re still going strong, but it definitely happened.
    I also started running at six weeks post-NSVD and for me, it was a blessing. It was a break in the day from my extremely colicky baby, and a MUCH needed release. Obviously everyone is different, but if you’re cleared and you feel ready to return to activity, you may find it helps your sanity a great deal.

  • Maria

    August 12, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I HATE condoms, and I won’t take the pill… there’s this little thing you can get called Vaginal Contraceptive Film (VCF) that’s MARVELOUS. It’s basically spermicide in a little square film that melts inside you, but doesn’t get leaky. You just pop it in and away you go, with three hour’s protection. No one feels a thing!

  • Robin

    August 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    My brother was conceived while my mom had an IUD in. It’s possible. Of course, it’s probably why I had to pay $27k out of pocket for IVF. Karma’s a bitch.

  • bebehblog

    August 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    So far (after 3 months) the mini-pill hasn’t affected my supply at all but I’m a huge failure at taking it reliably. I figure since I’m only doing pregnancy-causing activities one a month anyways my chances of a SOOPRISE SECOND BABY aren’t very good, especially since I still haven’t had a period.
    Of course, isn’t that how all SOOPRISE BABIES are created?

  • Abby

    August 13, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I started the regular (not mini) BC pill at 6 weeks with both of my kids. Each time the doctor gave me no trouble about it since nursing was so well established. I nursed my first until she was over two years old and I am still nursing my second on demand at 4 months with, if anything, oversupply.
    So, just a heads up that YMMV on all of this. For me, even though I am a strong breastfeeding advocate, I was willing to take the risk for a reliable method of birth control.
    If you’ve got a good supply going and are worried (as I was) about having to be careful with the mini-pill, at least talk to your doctor about the regular pill.

  • wallydraigle

    August 13, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    @bebehblog: YES. 🙂 I’m living proof.

  • Della

    August 17, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I guess I thought the problem with taking the regular pill while breastfeeding was the possibility of the hormones coming through in your breastmilk. Was it just because of supply because, DANG, if I’d only known.
    And seriously, if you are not specifically trying for another baby, do NOT leave it to chance, regardless of how soon after/how rarely you have sex. OMFG. Just… just PLEASE listen to us.

  • jill

    August 26, 2009 at 10:36 am

    re: c-section scar and bikini waxes, I am *terrified* about getting a wax and my son is, uh, 6 months old. My scar is ‘healed’ in the way that the doctor says it’s healed and there are no stitches or scabs, but that thing still hurts. It itches constantly, and is raised and sometimes aches. Bad stitch job? Maybe, but I definitely have feeling in that area and the thought of having wax ripped off of it makes me wince. In the meantime I’m just avoiding wearing a bikini. Which maybe will help with avoiding the conception of number 2 since I’m also not using any birth control. Heh.

  • Kate

    August 27, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I’m on my second Mirena (one pre baby and one post baby) and I highly recommend it. After we got married we wound up deciding to get pregnant a year earlier than our original plan so I only had my first one in for about 15 months but it was still completely worth it.
    As for getting pregnant with one in it’s almost impossible. However, it can be expelled (usually in the first month or so) and if you’re not checking your strings to make sure it’s still there and it comes out you can wind up with a baby like my friend’s cousin did. Also, it says something like it may take up to year for fertility to resume but I got pregnant two weeks after I had mine removed (which was fine but still unexpected).

  • Farah

    July 10, 2013 at 1:29 am

    It seems that a lot of women don’t know but you can get the depo shot and breastfeed. It has the same hormone as the mini pill but it’s much more convenient and effective. This is coming from a mom with babies eleven months apart thanks to the mini pill.