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Contraception. 2002 Jul;66(1):57-65.

Health and growth of infants breastfed by Norplant contraceptive implants users: a six-year follow-up study.

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  • 1Instituto Chileno de Medicina Reproductiva, Consultorio de Planificación Familiar, J.V. Lastarria 29, Depto. 101, Santiago, Chile. icmer@icmer.org


The objective of the study was to evaluate safety to infants whose mothers used Norplant levonorgestrel implants during breastfeeding. A nonrandomized clinical trial design was used. Participants were 220 and 222 healthy breastfed infants of mothers initiating use of Norplant or T-Cu IUD, respectively, at 55 days to 60 days postpartum. Infants were followed from birth through age 6 years. Breastfeeding pattern, infant growth, and disease events were recorded monthly in the first year, three-monthly in the second, and annually thereafter. Most mothers continued use of Norplant (96.4%) and T-Cu (94.1%) during lactation, and 2140 months of infant exposure to levonorgestrel were accumulated. Breastfeeding pattern and infants growth, from admission through age 6 years, were similar in both groups. In the first year, breastfed infants in the Norplant group had higher incidence rates (p < 0.05) of mild episodes of respiratory infections (adjusted RR 1.17, CI 1.08-1.27), skin conditions (adjusted RR 1.46, CI 1.20-1.79), and eye infections (unadjusted RR 1.49, CI 1.03-2.18) than the control group. Later on, a higher proportion of infants in the T-Cu group showed neurological conditions. Although breastfeeding patterns and infant growth is not affected by Norplant use during lactation, the effect on infants' health of steroidal contraception should be further evaluated.

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