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Desogen and Breastfeeding

Research suggests that the hormones in Desogen and other birth control pills do pass through breast milk in low amounts. Although this small amount of hormones probably won't cause any serious problems, it may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. Therefore, most healthcare providers do not recommend taking Desogen and breastfeeding at the same time.

Is Desogen Safe During Breastfeeding?

Desogen® (desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. Although some birth control pills are considered safe to take while breastfeeding, most are usually not recommended. In particular, "combined" oral contraceptives (such as Desogen) should typically be avoided when nursing a child. Combined oral contraceptives, which contain both a progestin hormone and an estrogen hormone, are the most commonly used birth control pills. Although combined oral contraceptives are very effective at preventing pregnancy, they are usually not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.
(Desogen is equivalent to Apri®, Emoquette™, Enskyce™, Ortho-Cept®, Reclipsen™, and Solia™ birth control pills. The information in this article also applies to each of these medications.)

What Does the Research Say About Desogen and Breastfeeding?

Research suggests that the hormones in birth control pills do pass through breast milk in low amounts. These small amounts are probably too low to cause significant or long-lasting problems in breastfeeding infants. However, there have been cases of problems (such as jaundice and breast enlargement) in babies whose mothers took certain types of combined oral contraceptives while breastfeeding.
It's important to note that combined contraceptives may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. For this reason, healthcare providers almost always recommend progestin-only oral contraceptives (also known as "mini-pills") instead of combined contraceptives for women who are breastfeeding. 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 Desogen).
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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