Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About...
Can I use emergency contraceptive pills if I am breastfeeding?
Yes, using progestin-only emergency contraceptive pills (like Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, My Way and Levonorgestrel Tablets) once will probably not affect either the quantity or quality of the milk your breasts are producing. Although some hormones may be passed on through a mother’s breast milk, your child is not likely to experience any adverse effects from it. However, the label for ella (ulipristal acetate) states that nursing mothers should not use ella, because it is unknown whether there could be risk to the child. European recommendations for ellaOne (the same product as ella) says that breastfeeding women can use it but should pump and discard the milk for a week.
If you are breastfeeding regularly, you might not need to use emergency contraceptive pills if you had sex under circumstances that would otherwise put you at risk for getting pregnant. That’s because in the first 6 months after having a baby, a woman who is feeding her child only breast milk and who has not had her period since giving birth is not likely to be ovulating, meaning that your ovaries are probably not releasing eggs that could be fertilized and cause a pregnancy. But be careful about relying on this possibility if you need or want to prevent pregnancy: even if you are breastfeeding, you could still be at risk for pregnancy if you are also feeding your baby formula, pumped milk, or other food, your baby is more than 6 months old, or you have had your period since your baby was born.
A thorough and up-to-date academic review of the medical and social science literature on emergency contraception is available; click here for the PDF .