On Birth Control and Ready to Get Pregnant?
Okay…so you’ve been doing the healthy, responsible thing by using a reliable method of birth control (that’s what we like to hear!), and now you’re ready to get pregnant. First off: nice! It’s a beautiful thing when you and your partner have kept open communication, considered all the pros and cons, and decided that now’s the time to grow your family. If you’re still in the maybe/maybe-not phase, check out our helpful Are You Ready? tool. It takes you through all the questions you should ask yourself before getting pregnant—from financial and emotional considerations to the physical changes you can expect.
Once you’ve decided that you are 100% ready, there’s a whole new set of questions to ponder, including: how soon after getting off birth control can I get pregnant? And the answer is: right away.
For nearly all methods of birth control—IUDs, the implant, the ring, the patch, condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, sponges and the pill—as soon as you have it removed or stop using it, your cycle immediately returns to normal and you can get pregnant as quickly as your first ovulation. So basically, if you don’t want to take any chances, keep using your method until you are definitely, DEFINITELY ready because as soon as you stop, the potential for pregnancy returns. Behold: your eggs may now be fertilized, me lady!
After reading through all those methods, many of which are hormonal, you may be asking yourself, “But don’t the hormones stay in my body?” Actually, not really. Hormones leave the body very quickly, and there is no indication that there is any risk to a fetus from having used hormones. This point stands true for all methods except one: the shot.
The Shot Exception
The Depo shot is a little bit different than other methods because of the way the hormones get into your system and stay there for an extended amount of time. For the shot, it is possible to get pregnant as soon as 12 weeks following the last injection, but it may take up to 10 months for fertility to come back (but don’t count on it lasting that long). Talk to your health care provider if you have concerns or questions about getting pregnant after using the shot.
Once You’ve Stopped…
The way your body reacts to its new non-birth-controlled situation may come with some unexpected side effects. Specifically with the pill or other hormonal methods, you may not get your period for several months after you stop. This can be super convenient when you’re having sex as frequently as possible to try and get pregnant (fun, fun, fun!), but it can also be confusing when you’re trying to figure out when you are fertile or if you’re pregnant (wait…huh?…am I?). Keep some home pregnancy tests in the house so you can check things out for yourself.
Other “after effects” may include:
- Irregular Periods
If you had irregular or heavier periods before you started your method, it may go back to the way it was before. Or maybe not. You will just have to wait and see how your body reacts.
Some birth control pills can help control breakouts while you’re on them, so when you stop, the zits may make an unwelcome reappearance.
- Changes in Weight
Some women have reported weight loss or gain when they went off the pill, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the scale as you make the transition to being birth control free. And keep in mind: it’s important to stay active and eat healthy. Gaining a few pounds shouldn’t automatically be “blamed” on your birth control method. Lifestyle is often the culprit.
- PMS Symptoms
Some women take birth control pills or have hormone-based IUDs inserted to help control premenstrual symptoms like irritability, cramps, nausea or anxiety. These may return when you go off your method, but they can be controlled and will subside. Talk to your healthcare provider about options.
If all goes as planned and you get pregnant, you’ll be on the first page of a whole new chapter of life. Check out our informative pregnancy section to get more information on what’s to come.
April 10, 2015