Good news for breastfeeding mamas who want to get hormonal IUDs implanted right after giving birth: According to a new study out of University of Utah Health and University of New Mexico School of Medicine, early placement of a hormonal IUD is a safe, long-term birth control method that does not affect a woman's ability to lactate and nurse.
Doctors usually recommend new moms delay receiving the IUDs for several weeks after delivery so the hormones won't interfere with lactation. But when the researchers compared 130 women who had received a hormonal IUD within 30 minutes of delivery, with 127 who waited 4 to 12 weeks, they found no difference in when the women's milk came in. And 8 weeks after giving birth, women with IUDs continued to breastfeed equally as well as women who did not have the birth control.
These findings are huge for moms who want to avoid unintended pregnancy while successfully breastfeeding their infants. Not only is receiving an IUD immediately after delivery a big time-saver, but it's also an ideal time for health care providers to speak to women about long-term birth control, because many are highly motivated to start contraception.
"New moms have to juggle the competing priorities of a new or growing family, and it is difficult to schedule postpartum appointments," co-author Jessica Sanders, Ph.D. explains in a press release. "Women are already at the hospital for the delivery and receiving the IUD at this time is more convenient."
There is one downside to early placement, however, and it's an increased potential for the device to be dislodged. The study found that women who had IUDs placed immediately after birth had a higher rate of losing them (19 percent) compared to the women who waited several weeks (2 percent). But the study authors say this disadvantage is outweighed by the advantages of immediate postpartum insertion.