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Norethisterone and breastfeeding

Many mothers take norethisterone to delay periods before holidays or even their wedding. Others use it to stop heavy bleeding and wish to continue to breastfeed.

Norethisterone and breastfeeding factsheet

Norethisterone 5mg tablets (Primolut N®, Utovlan®) is often prescribed to delay periods. This might be requested by the breastfeeding mother for example before a holiday or a wedding. There is little information from the research databases to support the use at this dose in breastfeeding. The only references are significantly lower doses (350mcg daily) used in progesterone only contraceptives.

It is suggested in the literature that this dose of norethisterone may reduce the quantity of breastmilk. In my experience a few mothers have noticed a temporary dip in supply but with holidays and weddings a change of routine could account for such a change. There seems to be no risk to the breastfeeding baby of a short course of medication at this dose.

Studies suggest that lower doses do not affect the composition of milk (reported in LACTMed. However Hale (Medications and Mother’s Milk states that although it is believed to be secreted into breast milk in small amounts, it may reduce lactose content and reduce overall milk volume and nitrogen/protein content, resulting in lower infant weight gain, although these effects are unlikely if doses are kept low. Norethisterone is a component of progestin oral contraceptives (Eg. Micronor™ and Brevinor ™ )

BNF : Postponement of menstruation 5mg norethisterone  3 times daily starting 3 days before expected onset (menstruation occurs 2–3 days after stopping)

N.B This information is based on anecdote and not research based studies


  • https://www.e-lactancia.org/breastfeeding/norethisterone/product/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501291/
  • Jones W Why Mother’s Medication Matters
  • Jones W Breastfeeding and Medication

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