What Birth Control Can I Use While Breastfeeding?
Congratulations on the birth of your baby! The miracle of birth is extremely rewarding, but many moms choose to wait a while before experiencing the nine-month process again. For moms who want to breastfeed their child, it is important to choose the right method of birth control.
Avoid Estrogen-Based Contraceptives
The most important thing to remember is to avoid birth control pills that contain estrogen. Studies have found that birth control containing estrogen lowers milk supply and shortens the amount of time you can breastfeed.
There are three types of contraceptives that contain estrogen:
- Combination Birth Control Pills: Many birth control pills contain progestin and estrogen.
- Skin Patches: The most common skin patch is Ortho Evra, which contains estrogen.
- Vaginal Ring: A vaginal ring, commonly branded as NuvaRing, releases estrogen into the body.
Recommended Birth Control Options
Because of the negative effects of estrogen on a mother’s milk supply, doctors recommend using progestin-based contraceptives or barrier methods.
When started at least six weeks after delivery, contraceptives that contain only progestin are recommended for mothers who breastfeed. This hormone typically does not affect a woman’s ability to produce breast milk.
The four main types of birth control that only contain progestin include:
- Progestin-Only Birth Control Pills: Certain types of birth control, sometimes known as a “mini-pill,” only contain progestin.
- Birth Control Injections: The most common injection is the Depo-Provera shot, which lasts at least 12 weeks.
- Progesterone-releasing IUDs: The most common forms of IUDs that release progestin are Skyla and Mirena. With this method, the hormone directly into the lining of the uterus.
- Birth Control Implants: Implanon and Nexplanon are the most common form of birth control implants. With this method, a device is implanted under the skin and releases progestin into the bloodstream.
Barrier Methods of Contraception
Barrier methods of contraception are the more traditional forms of birth control. Since these methods don’t use any forms of hormones, it is natural, safe, and won’t affect your ability to produce milk.
The two most common methods include:
- Condoms: Condoms can prevent pregnancy as well as decrease the risk of getting or transmitting an STI / STD
- Non-Hormonal IUDs: The most common non-hormonal IUD is Paragard. It is a copper intra-uterine device that can be put in place for up to 10 years.