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Kelnor and Breastfeeding

Most healthcare providers will recommend a progestin-only birth control pill for women who are breastfeeding. Kelnor and other combined oral contraceptives are usually not recommended for women who are breastfeeding, because the hormones in these pills pass through breast milk. Although these hormones will probably not cause any significant problems, they can decrease the quality and quantity of breast milk.

Is Kelnor Safe During Breastfeeding?

Kelnor™ (ethynodiol diacetate/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. Although certain types of birth control pills are safe to take while breastfeeding, most types are not recommended. The most common type of birth control pill, known as a "combined" oral contraceptive (which includes Kelnor), should generally be avoided while breastfeeding. Combined oral contraceptives contain two different kinds of hormones (a progestin and an estrogen).

Breastfeeding and "the Pill"

Although combined oral contraceptives are considered the most effective type of birth control pill, they are typically not recommended for use during breastfeeding. Combined contraceptives may decrease both the quantity and the quality of breast milk. It is thought that the estrogen component of combined oral contraceptives is responsible for such problems. For this reason, healthcare providers almost always recommend progestin-only oral contraceptives (also known as "mini-pills") instead for women who are breastfeeding. However, progestin-only contraceptive pills are usually less effective than combined oral contraceptives. Of course, other forms of contraception aside from birth control pills can be used while you are breastfeeding.
Research has shown that the hormones in birth control pills do pass through breast milk, usually in very small amounts. These amounts are probably too low to cause long-lasting or significant problems in nursing infants, although more research is necessary to confirm this. 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.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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