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Can I Take An Emergency Contraceptive Pill If I'm Breastfeeding?

In the labyrinth of motherhood, breastfeeding mothers often find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to contraception. The quest for reliable information becomes paramount, especially concerning the use of an emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) during breastfeeding. This blog delves into the compatibility of ECPs with breastfeeding, ensuring that nursing mothers are equipped with accurate, research-backed insights.

Understanding Emergency Contraceptive Pill And Breastfeeding

Emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) is a form of contraception or birth control that can be used to prevent an unintended pregnancy after unprotected sex (when no contraception is used) or contraceptive failure (for example, when the condom breaks, slips, or breaks during sex).

For breastfeeding mothers, the concern often revolves around the safety of these pills for both, the mother and the baby.

Hormonal Composition And Safety

The most widely used ECP in India is a single-pill ECP that contains a synthetic progestogen (a female hormone) called Levonorgestrel (LNG). LNG-based ECPs are considered compatible with breastfeeding.

Studies have shown that LNG is minimally excreted in breast milk, with negligible effects on milk production or infant health, and causes no adverse effects on infant growth, development, or milk intake.

Timing And Dosage

When taking an LNG ECP, timing is critical. It is most effective when taken as soon as possible within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

A recent study showed that breastfeeding mothers should take the ECP immediately after breastfeeding and then continue breastfeeding regularly. This would create a gap of approximately 3-4 hours between the pill and the next feeding, thus avoiding peak activity of the medication.

safety of levonorgestrel (LNG) emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) or ipill or unwanted 72 pill or morning after pill or plan b for women who are breastfeeding


This comprehensive guide aims to dispel myths and provide clarity on the use of an emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) during breastfeeding, ensuring mothers can navigate this aspect of postpartum life with confidence and care.


This blog, including its text, images, and infographics, are for educational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice. For personalized advice, always consult a doctor.

Further Reading

For more details on this or related topics, refer to the papers listed in references below, the FAQs on the ECP page, or other blogs on the Learn page of our website


  • Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pills use during breastfeeding; effect on infants' health and development. 2019.

  • Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. Levonorgestrel used for emergency contraception during lactation-A prospective observational cohort study on maternal and infant safety. 2012.


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