Estradiol During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on April 20, 2012


Estradiol medications are not intended for women who are pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive. If taken during pregnancy, estradiol may harm the unborn fetus or cause serious birth defects. Nursing mother should be aware that estradiol medications slow the production of breast milk; also, estradiol may be passed to the infant through any breast milk that is produced. Women who are pregnant or nursing are advised to avoid this drug altogether. Let your doctor know if you are pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant while taking estradiol.

Estradiol is a female sex hormone that has also been synthesized as a drug. Medicines containing estradiol, some of its derivates or other female sex hormones have been assigned to category X by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that animal experiments and clinical studies in humans have proven that the drug poses risk to the fetus. The risk of using such medicines during pregnancy outweighs the potential benefit.

Is it safe to use estradiol containing medicines during pregnancy?

No, you should not use estradiol or any of its derivates during pregnancy.

Estradiol can interfere with the normal course of pregnancy. Its use is also associated with cancerogenic effects on the fetus. Development of some types of cancer later in the life of children is possible if they have been exposed to exogenous estrogen during pregnancy. In case you use some estrogen drugs, you should use effective methods of contraception. If you plan to become pregnant, discuss the issue with your doctor.

A study on mice has shown that the exposure of the fetus to exogenous estrogens causes enlargement of the prostate in the male offspring and cancer in some cases.

In case you are using hormonal contraception, you should not become pregnant in the first three months after stopping the pills as there is a cancer risk for the fetus.

These precautions apply not only to the oral and injection forms but to all the formulations of estradiol, including patches, topical creams, vaginal rings etc.

Estradiol is sometimes used prior to pregnancy or even during but this use is strictly limited to the treatment of some cases of infertility and hormone unbalance. Such treatment can be conducted only by highly-qualified physicians in the field of reproductive medicine.

Is it safe to take estradiol while breastfeeding?

Medicines that contain estrogen should be avoided by breastfeeding women. Estrogen passes in breast milk and can influence newborns. It can cause vaginal bleeding or breast swelling in babies. Estradiol can also interfere with the production of breast milk. Estradiol derivates are often used for suppressing the lactation.

It can slow down the production of milk or decrease the quantity and quality of it. In case you need estradiol treatment, you should discuss discontinuance of breastfeeding with your doctor.

The use of oral contraceptives during breastfeeding is not recommended. Seek advice from your healthcare provider for other ways of contraception.