Peer Reviewed





One half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended and associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. The postpartum period is an important, yet underutilized, time to initiate contraception. The U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010 provides evidence-based guidelines for choosing a contraceptive method and an update in 2011 specifically addresses contraceptive method use in the puerperium. The variety of contraceptive methods include hormonal contraception, lactational amenorrhea, barrier contraception, natural family planning, and sterilization. Ideally, counseling about contraceptive choice should begin early in pregnancy care and continue postpartum; it should also include a variety of teaching modalities. Specifically we recommend LARC options such as intrauterine devices and etonorgestrel implants, postpartum tubal sterilization, and progestin-only pills for those desiring an oral method.


postpartum, contraception, guidelines, counseling

Total Pages

15 pages

Financial Disclosure

The authors report no conflict of interest.


Copyright © Whitney Cowman, Abbey J. Hardy-Fairbanks, Jill Endres, Colleen Kennedy Stockdale, 2013.

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