Pushing birth control on new parents

Pushing birth control on new parents

I never realized, until I starting dating good Catholic women, how much the medical establishment doesn’t just push contraception on them, but baldly assumes that every woman takes birth control.

To wit, Melanie was given a pamphlet by the hospital when she was discharged called, “Information for New Parents and Their Babies.” It contains the following paragraph:

Sexual relations - We recommend that you do not have sexual intercourse for four to six weeks and until you have stopped bleeding and have no pain. You will need a birth control method before you resume sexual relations, even if you are breastfeeding. Although breastfeeding may stop ovulation, it is not reliable and should not be considered a form of birth control. The type of birth control prescribed for you will depend on your personal preference, whether or not you are breastfeeding, and your provider’s recommendations. Condoms are a good form of birth control if used correctly. Ask your physician or midwife about available methods of birth control.

Check out that second sentence. There’s no question, no “perhaps you may need” or “if you are using birth control.” Instead, it makes bland assumption that you will need birth control. In fact, the entirety of their advice on sexual relations for mothers who’ve just had babies is “Get birth control” and “oh, by the way, wait four to six weeks to have sex.” Talk about getting your priorities mixed up.

The default position of the medical establishment apparently is that children are to be avoided whenever possible, that families will always default to contracepting except when they explicitly decide to actively acquire a child. Talk about sucking the spontaneity and joy out of family life. But then children are just a burden, right? Or so they seem to say.


  • Dom, in my experience, the majority of doctors are like that. In Dallas, while attending UD, when I would get sick and go see a doctor, I’d tell them I was just there for my throat or an infected cut or something and they would try to put me on artificial Birth Control. When one doctor found out I was engaged, she simply replied, “Oh, we’ll get you some birth control.” No one ever even asked if I wanted any. They just assume. One of the primary reasons I go to Tepeyac is because at least they won’t do that.

  • “Although breastfeeding may stop ovulation, it is not reliable and should not be considered a form of birth control.”

    This statement implies that the birth control methods the hospital is recommending are reliable.

    No method except abstinence is 100% effective, although Natural Family Planning used correctly comes pretty close.

  • Dom,
    Melanie is lucky to only get a brochure.  I think my medical chart (no birth control method listed) must have put them on high alert: I think I had five different medical personnel come in after my birthing experience holding a chart and pen inquiring what method I’d be needing. 
    But the really inspiring experience was when I called the University hospital to ask for an ob since I was going to have a baby (exactly how I said it) and still was asked if I would be keeping or terminating the pregnancy.  What a lovely question.  How about congratulations?

  • Yeah, what I’ve started telling nurses and other healthcare professionals that ask ‘what birth control do you use?” I say, “Self control.”

    They usually stare for a moment, then ask what I mean. I say, “Just what I said.  Self-control, not birth control. It is possible to control yourself when you want to space children, you know.”  That confuses them enough to silence them for a bit, anyway!

  • I echo the praise for pro-life Catholic Tepeyac.  I was a patient there when we lived in NoVa.  The doctors and staff helped with medical reports so we could adopt abroad.  We were unable to conceive.  Prior doctors asked about birth control and I thought they were nuts since we were trying to conceive.

    Further, we have been seeing a professional to address some attachment disorder issues w/our children (who were greatly neglected by bio-parents until put in govt orphanage for adoption).  She is very good on her issues.

    She (practicing Jewish woman) was very freaked, however, that we were open to another child if God saw fit for us to conceive by some miracle.  She was concerned about the emotional reactions of our boys (oldest just turned 6) to a new child.  I understand we’d have something to deal with.  We would deal with it if the situation arises. Well, we had to assure her we were not doing anything to TRY to conceive (& if we were, so what) and that it was highly unlikely that we would given our ages now.  We remained strongly open to accepting whatever would occur.  I didn’t try to explain Catholic morality on reproduction.  She didn’t seem to appreciate the idea of more children=more love and happiness, either.  Geesh.  Needless to say we moved on from that topic onto direct issues for helping our boys.

  • Lydia and I had to go through the county health clinic.  There, we were given both a packet of birth control info (English on one side, Spanish on the other!) and, at our last visit, a brown paper bag full of condoms and spermicideal lube, which I, with hands trembling in rage, immediately tossed into the   garbage from across the room.

    Two points for life!

    Anyway, we decided that we hate socialized medicine and its quest to keep the poor and brown from reproducing.  We now have a private physician.


  • “Melanie is lucky to only get a brochure.”


    Oh, I also got the nurse asking me what method of birth control I was using while she was doing my discharge paperwork. But she wasn’t pushy—just told me that breastfeeding isn’t an effective means of contraception and left it at that.

    On the plus side, I also had a couple of great nurses early on in the week who were each quite positive when I responded that we wanted many more children. Each of them was from a larger family (four and five, I think). Interesting that they were both much younger women.

  • It’s not just hospitals. Pick up Parenting magazine sometime. There are between 4 and 8 pages in every issue devoted to contraceptive ads. That doesn’t count any articles that talk about it as well.