Amidst late night feedings, too little sleep and not enough coffee, you and your partner may have miraculously managed to squeeze in some sexy time. But whether it was a hazy, heat-of-the-moment romp in the pocket or a dodgy condom, you might wake up the next morning and realize your intimate moment could lead to baby number two — and you’re not quite ready for it yet. You reach for the morning-after pill, but then remember your breastfeeding, and as with too much broccoli and caffeine, you consider everything you’re putting in your body these days. So, can you take Plan B while breastfeeding?
Is it safe to take Plan B while breastfeeding?
“Yes, contraception is safe and effective to take when you’re breastfeeding,” Dr. Nicole Scott, MD, an OB-GYN at Indiana University Health, tells Romper. “That said, it can cause some irregular bleeding, but overall it’s safe.”
As with taking Plan B at any time, the pill is likely to affect you physically in some way, but not in any way that will affect your baby or interfere with breastfeeding. “Plan B contains levonorgestrel, which is a synthetic version of progesterone, a hormone found in a woman’s body,” says Dr. Renita White, MD, FACOG, a board-certified OB-GYN at Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology, to Romper. “The most common side effects are irregular bleeding and nausea.”
In addition to Plan B One Step, White explains that some other forms of emergency contraception are also safe to take while breastfeeding. “This includes ulipristal and the copper IUD,” says White. “The CDC lists these forms of emergency contraception as safe options for people who are breastfeeding. There are no documented risks to the mother or her baby.”
Will Plan B affect milk supply?
The reason these questions come up is because some forms of birth control can temporarily reduce milk supply. However, as White explains, progestin-only contraception, such as Plan B One Step, does not affect milk supply or change milk quality. “There should be no side effects for the baby,” she says.
However, other methods of contraception can have an effect. “Although all forms of birth control are safe with breastfeeding, estrogen-containing methods (such as combined birth control pills, the patch and the ring) can lead to a decrease in milk supply,” says White. “In general, the use of progestin-only methods (such as Depo-Provera, IUD, Nexplanon) and hormone-free options (such as Phexxi and Paragard IUD) do not affect milk supply.” Likewise, progestin only emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B, will not affect milk.
Other forms of birth control during breastfeeding
In general, it’s recommended to use emergency contraception only as a last resort, as opposed to a reliable form of birth control — and that goes for whether you’re breastfeeding or not. For the long term, consider a more reliable form of birth control, specifically one that is a progestin-only or hormone-free option if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed in the future. In addition to options like copper and hormonal IUDs, Depo-Provera shots, Nexplanon, and Phexxi, you can also go “au naturel” by using the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) and relying on a lack of ovulation to prevent pregnancy.
LAM, which essentially uses breastfeeding to prevent ovulation and thus acts as a form of birth control, is considered to be as effective as hormonal contraceptives when done properly. According to Planned Parenthood, only about two out of 100 people who use LAM become pregnant in the six months that it can be used after a baby is born. Here’s the kicker, though: While it’s very effective, it comes with a lot of guidelines you have to follow to a T in order to work, including that it can only be done during your baby’s first six months and only if you’re breastfeeding every four hours. breastfeed during the day and every six hours at night, as certified lactation consultant Danielle Spradlin previously told Romper.
“When my clients ask about breastfeeding as birth control, I emphasize the importance of following the rules: exclusive breastfeeding, no pacifier, no long stretches of sleep, no return of menstruation,” Spradlin said. “It’s a very small number of mother-baby pairs that would meet the criteria.”
Regardless, there are plenty of contraceptives that are safe to choose from when you’re breastfeeding, whether it’s an emergency like Plan B or not. And if you have additional questions or concerns, contact your doctor for more personalized medical advice. But, seriously, let’s get back to the fact that you jumped back into the bag. Between feeling exhausted, worn out about touch and just not feeling confident, sex can be an adjustment post-baby. And for that I bow my head to you.
Dr. Nicole Scott, MD, OB-GYN at Indiana University Health
Dr. Renita White, MD, FACOG, board-certified OB-GYN at Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology
Danielle Spradlin, Certified Lactation Consultant
This article was originally published on