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Ovcon and Breastfeeding

It is typically recommended that women who are breastfeeding avoid combined oral contraceptives (such as Ovcon). Research has shown that the hormones in birth control pills do pass through breast milk, which can decrease the production and quality of breast milk. Because of the potential risks, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking Ovcon and breastfeeding (or thinking of breastfeeding).

Is Ovcon Safe During Breastfeeding?

Ovcon® (norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. Some birth control pills are safe to take while breastfeeding, but most are not recommended. In particular, "combined" oral contraceptives (such as Ovcon) should usually be avoided while breastfeeding. Combined oral contraceptives contain two different kinds of hormones (both a progestin and an estrogen) and are the most common type of birth control pills used today.
(Balziva™, Briellyn™, Philith™, and Zenchent™ birth control pills are equivalent to Ovcon 35, but not Ovcon 50. The information in this article also applies to Balziva, Briellyn, and Zenchent.)

Breastfeeding and "the Pill"

Although combined oral contraceptives (such as Ovcon) are very effective at preventing pregnancy, most healthcare providers do not recommend them for use during breastfeeding. Combined contraceptives may decrease the quantity 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 less effective than combined oral contraceptives.
Also, research has shown that the hormones in birth control pills do pass through breast milk, usually in very small amounts. These small amounts are probably too low to cause long-lasting or significant problems in breastfed 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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