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Because the quantity and quality of breast milk can be affected by Ogestrel, breastfeeding women should avoid this type of contraception. Also, the hormones in such combined oral contraceptives do pass through breast milk and may cause problems in a nursing infant, such as jaundice. Most healthcare providers recommend that women use a progestin-only birth control pill instead of Ogestrel while breastfeeding.

Is Ogestrel Safe While Breastfeeding?

Ogestrel® (norgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. Although a few birth control pills are safe to take while breastfeeding, most types are not recommended. In particular, "combined" oral contraceptives (including Ogestrel) should usually be avoided.

Breastfeeding and "the Pill"

Combined oral contraceptives contain two different kinds of hormones -- a progestin and an estrogen -- and are the most common type of birth control pill used today. Although combined oral contraceptives such as Ogestrel are quite effective at preventing pregnancy, they are not usually recommended for use during breastfeeding. Combined contraceptives may decrease both 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 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 are also appropriate for women who are breastfeeding.
Research has shown that the hormones in birth control pills do pass through breast milk, typically in 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.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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