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Ortho Evra and Breastfeeding

Although no research has been done specifically on Ortho Evra and breastfeeding, it is known that some of the hormones in the contraceptive do pass through breast milk in small amounts. Because these hormones can decrease the production of breast milk, many healthcare providers recommend that women who are breastfeeding avoid combined oral contraceptives (such as Ortho Evra).

Is Ortho Evra Safe During Breastfeeding?

Ortho Evra® (norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol) is very similar to combined oral contraceptives (birth control pills) because it contains an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (norelgestromin). In general, combined contraceptives are not recommended for breastfeeding women.

Ortho Evra and Breastfeeding Research

No studies have been conducted using Ortho Evra specifically, but research has shown that other, similar hormonal contraceptives do pass through breast milk in small amounts (probably too small to cause serious problems). However, there have been cases of problems (such as jaundice and breast enlargement) in babies whose mothers took combined oral contraceptives while breastfeeding.
Additionally, combined contraceptives may decrease the production 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 less effective than combined 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 Ortho Evra).

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Ortho Evra and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Ortho Evra and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about Ortho Evra and breastfeeding in your particular situation.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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