Can mothers breastfeed after a medical termination of pregnancy?

Vanessa Chapman, Associate Professional Lead for Medicines Information, Midlands & East, Midlands and East Medicines Advice Service (Midlands site) & UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory ServiceSource East Midlands Medicines Information ServicePublished

This updated Medicines Q&A evaluates the available evidence for the safety of mifepristone and misoprostol in breast feeding women.

Summary

  • There will be occasions when women who are breastfeeding request an abortion.
  • Mifepristone and misoprostol are recommended for medical termination of pregnancy, however as they are usually only given as one-off doses, any risk of accumulation in the infant from exposure via the breast milk, is limited.
  • There are no data on the direct effect of mifepristone or misoprostol on the lactation process or on a breastfed infant.
  • Limited data suggest that the levels of mifepristone in milk are low, especially when using the 200 mg dose and that breastfeeding can be safely continued in an uninterrupted manner during medical termination.
  • Oral misoprostol is excreted into human breast milk in small amounts which are rapidly eliminated. No interruption of breastfeeding is necessary when misoprostol is given by any route.
  • As a precaution, infants exposed to mifepristone or misoprostol via breastmilk should be monitored for nausea, vomiting and poor feeding.

Attachments