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Taking Birth Control Pills While Breastfeeding

It is generally considered safe for women to take progestin-only birth control pills while breastfeeding. These products do not contain estrogen, as many of the "traditional" combined birth control pills do. Research has shown that if women take estrogen within four weeks after giving birth, it can increase their risk for developing a serious blood clot. Also, estrogen can decrease breast milk production.
The progestin-only "mini-pill" (such as Ortho Micronor®, Nor-QD®, and others) works to prevent pregnancy by increasing the thickness of the cervical lining, delaying sperm transport, and slowing down tubal motion. However, it does not provide the same amount of protection as combined hormonal birth control pills.
Women using the "mini-pill" must take the tablet at the same time every day within a three-hour window. Failure to do this requires using a back-up method of contraception for the next 48 hours.
(For more information on this topic, click Breastfeeding and Birth Control. This Web article discusses the safety of taking birth control pills while breastfeeding and describes several other contraceptive methods that are considered safe to use while nursing.)
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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