Is Alesse Safe During Breastfeeding?
(levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill
. It is a combined oral contraceptive
(so named because it contains both a progestin and an estrogen hormone). Although some birth control pills are considered okay for breastfeeding, most are not usually recommended. In particular, "combined" oral contraceptives (such as Alesse) should usually be avoided. Although combined oral contraceptives are effective at preventing pregnancy, they are typically not recommended for breastfeeding women.
(Alesse is equivalent to Aviane®, Falmina™, Lutera™, and Orsythia™ birth control pills. The information in this article also applies to these medications.)
Alesse and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?
Research suggests that the hormones in birth control pill pass through breast milk in low amounts. These amounts are probably too low to cause significant or long-lasting problems in nursing infants. There have been cases of problems, such as jaundice and breast enlargement, occurring in babies whose mothers took other combined oral contraceptives while breastfeeding.
Combined contraceptives such as Alesse may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. For this reason, progestin-only oral contraceptives (also known as "mini-pills") are almost always recommended instead of combined contraceptives in breastfeeding women. However, progestin-only contraceptive pills are usually much less effective than combined oral contraceptives. As soon as you stop breastfeeding, it may be a good idea to ask your healthcare provider about switching to a combined contraceptive product, such as Alesse.