Progesterone Contraceptive Ring Declared Safe for Breastfeeding Moms

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Jun 2015
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Nursing moms: The World Health Organization (WHO) has an announcement just for you. The progesterone contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR), developed by the Population Council, has been added to WHO’s list of essential medicines.

Why is this significant? Inclusion on the essential medicines list clarifies that contraceptive rings can be a safe birth control option for nursing moms. While NuvaRing, arguably the most well-known vaginal ring on the market, contains estrogen and is not the best choice if you’re still breastfeeding, a progesterone ring will not affect mom’s milk supply.

“Inclusion of the progesterone CVR on the essential medicines list is good news for women,” says  Régine Sitruk-Ware, a scientist with the Population Council. “It is an important step in making the ring more widely available to the 70 percent of women in the first postpartum year who want to breastfeed for a long time and do not want to get pregnant but are not using contraception.”

The ring, which can be used for three months, works by releasing a continuous low dose of progesterone, a natural hormone which reinforces the contraceptive effect of breastfeeding. Trials found it to be 98.5 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Women can use the ring as early as four weeks after giving birth and can insert and remove it themselves.

Currently, the CVR is only approved for use in Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Peru, but efforts are underway to expand that reach.

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