Breastfeeding and Birth Control

Women who are breastfeeding have a wide variety of birth control options available, including hormonal, nonhormonal, and natural methods. The method you choose will largely depend on your personal preference and your particular situation. If you are interested in hormonal contraceptives, it is generally recommended that you use progestin-only products. Some nonhormonal options include condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps.

Options for Birth Control While Breastfeeding

There are many different birth control options available for women who are breastfeeding. Each method has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and no particular method is right for all women.

Is It Safe for Women to Take Estrogen While Breastfeeding?

The use of birth control medications that contain both estrogen and progestin hormones (including most birth control pills, patches, and rings) should be used with caution in women who are breastfeeding.
If a woman uses estrogen immediately after childbirth, it can increase the risk for developing a serious blood clot. Due to this risk, it is not recommended for women to use birth control medications containing estrogen within four weeks after childbirth, regardless if the woman decides to breastfeed.
In addition, estrogen-containing birth control products have been shown to decrease breast milk production in some women. Breast milk production may be decreased for a long time and could cause poor weight gain for the baby. Therefore, hormonal birth control medications containing estrogen in pill, patch, or vaginal ring form are generally not recommended for breastfeeding women with children younger than six months of age.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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