Hormonal intrauterine devices safe during lactation: Study

New York: Implanting a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) immediately after giving birth is safe and does not affect a woman’s ability to lactate and breastfeed, according to new research.

Medical practitioners noted that new mothers often delay receiving a hormonal IUD for several weeks after delivery to ensure the hormones do not interfere with normal lactation.

The findings showed that breast milk did not come in later if the women received a hormonal IUD immediately after giving birth compared to those who received the same type of IUD several weeks after delivery.

“Early placement of a hormonal IUD is a safe, long-term birth control method that doesn’t negatively affect women who want to breastfeed their baby,” said lead author David Turok, Associate Professor at the University of Utah Health.

“The study shows no difference in breastfeeding outcomes (for women in either group), which is critically important in reassuring women and advocates that a hormonal IUD empowers women to avoid unintended pregnancy and to successfully breastfeed their infants,” added Eve Espey from the University of New Mexico in the US.

For the study, detailed in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the team analysed two groups of women — those (132) who received a hormonal IUD within 30 minutes of delivery and others (127) who received a hormonal IUD four to 12 weeks after delivery.

According to Turok, prenatal care is an ideal time for health care providers to speak to women about long-term birth control as well as immediately after delivery because it is clear they are not pregnant and many are highly motivated to start contraception.

“Women already at the hospital for the delivery and receiving the IUD at this time is more convenient,” said co-author Jessica Sanders, Assistant Professor at the University of Utah Health.