Going Off Birth Control

It is a common misconception that it always requires a significant amount of time of being off birth control for a woman to become pregnant. There is no need to go on a birth control break for any specific period of time before you attempt to conceive.  Yet, it may take two to three months for your body to return to normal. Keep in mind, however, that each woman has an individual return to fertility rate compared.1

Pill, Ring, or Patch

After going off the pill your body needs to go back to its regular cycle and eventually lead you to ovulate. The time that your body needs to do so can vary from one woman to the next. Some may take a couple of weeks, while others take months. A pregnancy can also occur in as little time as two weeks after you go off the pill. This is also the case for certain other forms of birth control, such as the ring or patch.2 About half of all women who are TTC after using the pill, ring, or patch become pregnant within the first three months after stopping use, and for most other women, pregnancy occurs within one year. Women who have been TTC for more than 12 cycles after stopping use of the pill, ring, or patch may want to consider seeing a doctor.3

Injections and Implants

If you have been using long-acting forms of birth control, especially for injections, you may be looking at a longer stretch of time before you can conceive. After removal of an implant, the cycle may return within a few months. For instance, it can take women who used shots for birth control between 6-18 months or longer for the hormone cycle to regulate back to a normal state, according to the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta. Of course, that does not mean that it might not happen quicker for you – there is always a chance that you could become pregnant right away. 4

Intrauterine devices

The Feminist Women’s Health Center also reports that women who have used intrauterine devices (IUDs) as birth control may experience longer delays in conception than other contraception methods. While many women can become pregnant shortly after using IUDs, the synthetic hormone used in certain devices could potentially cause some delay in menstruation and fertility after being removed.5 About 39% of women who try to conceive after discontinuing IUD use become pregnant within 12 months, and 67% become pregnant within 18 months.6 Each woman experiences the return of fertility differently after going off birth control. While some women may be able to become pregnant very quickly after discontinuing use of birth control, for others, it could take longer.     [avafootnote]

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  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, May 21). Birth control pill FAQ: Benefits, risks and choices. Retrieved November 20, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/birth-control/in-depth/birth-control-pill/art-20045136
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff, see above.
  3. Marshall, Sarah, M.D., Poinier, Anne C., M.D., and Olatunbosun, M.B., F.R.C.S.C. (2014 July 29). “Getting Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control.” Retrieved 2015 November 24 from http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthtopics/content.asp?hwid=te8132
  4. Feminist Women’s Health Center Birth Control Options Retrieved November 20, 2015, from http://www.feministcenter.org/health-wellness-services/comprehensive-gyn/birth-control-options
  5. Feminist Women’s Health Center, see above.
  6. Doll H, Vessey M. and Painter R, (2001). Return of fertility in nulliparous women after discontinuation of the IUD: comparison with women discontinuing other methods of contraception, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 108(3):304-314

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