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The Pill, Childbirth, & Texting

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Updates from the January 2012 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology:

  • In his Editorial, John T. Queenan, MD reminds all that while “…breastfeeding offers short-term contraceptive, many mothers do not breastfeed exclusively and want a practical means of contraception that does not hinder their ability to breastfeed.”  Furthermore,  Dr. Queenan highlights the controversy surrounding when is it safe to start taking the Pill considering that the earliest ovulation occurs around 25 days postpartum in non-breastfeeding women.
  • Espey and colleagues address the question of ‘when’ in their research titled, Effect of Progestin Compared With Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills on Lactation and assert that oral contraceptive, whether combined hormonal or progestin-only, administered 2 weeks postpartum did not adversely affect breastfeeding continuation.
  • Consequently, since there is still a widely-accepted concern for venous thromboembolism (blood clotting) associated with the Pill, further research is needed to ascertain the safe timing of starting it following childbirth.  However, says Dr. Queenan, “…the findings… are a positive contribution to expanding the family-planning aspects of breastfeeding and to encouraging breastfeeding for all women.”

Another research article in the same issue titled, Effect of Daily Text Messages on Oral Contraceptive Continuation by Castano and colleagues concludes that daily text messaging to women taking the Pill improved their staying on it.  This article brings to mind our own clinical observation of patients typically programming their mobile device to alert them to take their Pill.  It is nice to see medicine and techy-ness working together.

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