When to go off birth control to get pregnant?

December 27, 2019 | Yesmom

Yes Mom

Pregnancy is determined by a number of variables especially after you go off birth control, for instance; how frequently a contraceptive method is used, the types of contraceptives used and their effectiveness, and how frequently you have intercourse.

Although women may have temporary impairment of fertility after discontinuing oral contraception, they are highly unlikely to become permanently sterile through taking the pill. Because timing a pregnancy can be tricky, here is everything you need to know about birth control and its effect on your fertility.

When should I go off contraceptives?

If you are ready to get pregnant, you can stop whenever you want. Your body wouldn’t need time to “clear” birth control hormones, for most cases women conceive within a period of two months of stopping. In case you are using a barrier method like diaphragm or condoms, you may conceive as soon as you engage in intercourse without it.

If your birth control (pills, patches, IUD or intrauterine device) contains hormones you may get pregnant within a few months. But your ability to conceive is also dependent on a number of psychosocial factors and lifestyle choices (smoking, alcohol consumption, age).

Different contraceptives determine differently when you may get pregnant 

  • Birth control pills– if you discontinue a combination pill, i.e. those that contain both estrogen and progestin you will be able to conceive within 1-3 months to one year. If you have been using the mini-pill or the progestin-only pill, it will take you less than a few days or weeks to get pregnant, since mini pills do not consistently cease ovulation the way estrogen pills do. What it does instead is thin the lining of your uterus. If you discontinue your pill, the lining will thicken again.
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD)– as soon as your doctor removes this device you can get pregnant. Usually, women begin to ovulate within a month or so following removal. It should not take more than a year for you to get pregnant.
  • Implant– just like an IUD, you can conceive soon after this device has been removed by your doctor.
  • Birth control patch– if you stop using the patch, it will take you 1-3 months to ovulate. Obviously, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll conceive.
  • Vaginal Ring– most women are able to ovulate within 1-3 months of removal.
  • Injectable birth control (Depo-Provera)– it may be harder to conceive after you stop getting these shots unlike other forms of hormonal birth control. It can take anything between ten months to one year or more before you start ovulating. For most women, it can take up to 18months for normal menstruation to start again. 

When will I get my period if I stop taking birth control?

It’s okay if you don’t get your period within a few months after you discontinue hormonal birth control especially. They immensely impact your hormonal balance and it’s only natural for your body to take time before it can go back to a pre-birth control state. 

It is also possible for you to conceive right away. If you started ovulating after discontinuing your birth control you may already have gotten pregnant which is the cause of delayed period. Only a pregnancy test can determine your pregnancy status. However, ovulation is far more important than your period for pregnancy since it depends vitally on the releasing of an egg from your ovary. There are ovulation tests available if you want to be certain. 

What to do if I can’t seem to get pregnant?

The best way to deal with this would be to consult a doctor. You may also want to talk to him before you start trying. It is however likely that you will conceive within one year of trying. If not, remember that there are various other factors like health history, weight, and age that can profoundly impact your fertility. You might want to get medical assistance if you are over 35 years of age.

Before you try to conceive, remember:

  • Since all bodies are different, there can be no sure-fire way to know how long it will take to get pregnant. It can take a few months for your body to re-adjust.
  • Because you can conceive easily as soon as you quit contraception, make sure you’re ready for a pregnancy. If you’d like to get pregnant in six months don’t go off the pill now. Additionally, assess your overall health and bring any pre-existing health conditions under control. The healthier you are, the healthier your baby to be will be.
  • It is, however, advisable to finish out your pill pack instead of stopping mid-month. You cannot stop in the middle of the cycle for your uterus may start bleeding in sheer confusion. It will also be difficult to map out your fertile window. 
  • If your period doesn’t return to normal right away, don’t stress too much. Birth control has no long term effect on fertility. 

Since more and more women are postponing childbearing, preventing infertility has become a significant companion goal to postponing pregnancy. No one wants to use a contraceptive that might yield harmful consequences either now or in the future. Although the effects on fertility are eliminated, individuals need to know whether they have a medical condition that might rule out the use of certain methods, whether the method itself could threaten their health or whether their own behavior contraindicates the use of the method. Although oral contraceptive use has a relatively small, independent effect on the risk of infertility, it greatly augments that risk in combination with smoking and increased age. Weigh all odds before you make a decision.

[1] Tracy Stickler. Maintaining a Healthy Parenthood. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/healthy-pregnancy

[2]  Rachel Gurevich. Getting Pregnant After Contraceptives or Birth Control Pills. Available from: https://www.verywellfamily.com/get-pregnant-after-birth-control-what-you-must-know-1960296

[3] Cleveland Clinic. Birth Control: The Pill. 2016. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/3977-birth-control-the-pill

[4] Stoddard AM, Xu H, Madden T, Allsworth JE, Peipert JF. Fertility after intrauterine device removal: a pilot study. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2015;20(3):223–230. DOI:10.3109/13625187.2015.1010639

[5] Lesniewski R, Prine L, Ginzburg R. Preventing gaps when switching contraceptives. American family physician. 2011 Mar 1;83(5):567. Available from: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0301/p567.html

[6] DEPO-PROVERA CI (medroxyprogesterone acetate injectable suspension, for intramuscular use [package insert]. New York, NY. Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Division of Pfizer, Inc. Available from: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/020246s036lbl.pdf