Contraception with progestogens and progesterone during lactation.J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1991; 40(4-6):705-10.JS
The growth and development of breastfed infants whose mothers used the contraceptive implants Norplant containing levonorgestrel and the injectable containing norethisterone enanthate were studied. Each group comprised of 120 women who initiated the use during the 5th to 7th week postpartum and were compared with a similar number of IUD using mothers. The breastfeeding performance did not differ between groups. The infants of the three groups performed similarly as regards their physical growth and health as well as the time of acquisition of the various milestones of psychomental development. A vaginal ring releasing 10 mg of the "natural" progesterone per 24 h was tested in breastfeeding mothers. The continuous use of the ring produced a serum level of progesterone around 4 ng/ml. This was effective in augmenting lactational infertility even through the later phases of breastfeeding when such an effect starts to wane off. The use of the ring proved to be acceptable and had no ill-effect on breastfeeding or infant growth or health. Using the natural progesterone as a contraceptive adds a new measure of safety, since the amount of the steroid secreted in the mother's milk will not be effectively absorbed from the infant's gut. These studies suggest the possibility of using two new methods for breastfeeding mothers; Norplant and the progesterone vaginal contraceptive ring. These can be initiated early postpartum, whenever this is considered needed.