How long can I stay on birth control? No breaks needed!

Teens and women use birth control for lots of different reasons. Usually, it’s because they don’t want to get pregnant right now. Some ask what they should do after breaking up with your partner, or if they have stopped having sex for some reason – should you go off birth control?

There is absolutely no medical reason to take a break from birth control. It does not harm your health to stay on it. And, birth control actually treats many medical conditions like acne, PMS, menstrual headaches, heavy bleeding, irregular bleeding, and painful cramps, just to name a few. Birth control doesn’t make you gain weight and doesn’t make it harder to get pregnant later on.

So why do some people think they are supposed to “take a break” from birth control? Well, I’m not sure exactly – but here are a few ideas. One, years ago doctors told women to be off the pill for several months before trying to get pregnant. We now know that there is absolutely no reason to do this; a woman who wants to get pregnant should go off the pill after she has been taking folic acid or prenatal vitamins for 3 months. Pregnancies that happen in the first cycle after going off the pill are just as healthy and normal as those that occur later on. A second reason might be because so many people have misperceptions about birth control that it is “dangerous” or causes cancer, and so they might think that going off it is a good idea. The real news is that birth control is really safe and it really works if you find a method that is right for you.

One of the best things about long-acting, reversible methods like the implant and the IUD is that you don’t have to be a fortuneteller – it’s pretty hard for most of us to predict if we are going to fall in love, if we are going to have a surprise visit from our partner, or whatever your situation may be. With the implant and the IUD you are covered for 3, 5 or 10 years depending on the one you choose. And, when you need a new implant or IUD, it’s recommended that you get the old one out and a new one placed the same day- so you don’t have any breaks in your coverage.

So, the bottom line is that unless you are trying to get pregnant, there’s no reason to stop your birth control. You never know what tomorrow may bring…