CDC revises recommendations for postpartum use of combined hormonal contraceptives

July 15, 2011

Based on new scientific evidence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its US Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010, issuing revised recommendations for the use of combined hormonal contraceptives by postpartum women.

Based on new scientific evidence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its US Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010, issuing revised recommendations for the use of combined hormonal contraceptives by postpartum women.

Because of the high risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE), women shouldn’t use combined hormonal contraceptives during the first 21 days after delivery, the CDC advises. Women with no risk factors for VTE usually can start the contraceptives between 21 and 42 days postpartum. Women with risk factors for VTE (previous VTE or recent cesarean delivery) generally shouldn’t use this type of contraception. Beyond 42 days after delivery, no restrictions based on postpartum status apply.

CDC recommendations for other contraceptives, including progestin-only contraceptives and intrauterine devices, remain unchanged. These contraceptives can be started immediately after delivery and are safe for postpartum women, including women who are breastfeeding.

The US Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010 are at http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/UnintendedPregnancy/USMEC.htm.