For years the goal was to prevent pregnancy. Now it's time to toss the pill, have the intrauterine device (IUD) removed or stop getting the birth control shot. You're ready to conceive. But is your body? Could using hormonal birth control in the past affect how long it will take to see a "plus sign" on a pregnancy test now?
Your return to fertility
Your ability to get pregnant after stopping birth control depends on:
- The birth control method you were using
- Possibly on how long you were using birth control
- Health conditions
- Your age
- How often you have sex
Respect "Mother Nature"
Every woman's body is different. Some women get pregnant right after stopping birth control, while it takes others much longer. Most women get pregnant within six months of trying to conceive and 85 percent are pregnant within one year.
If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than one year without success, see your doctor. If you're over 35, see your doctor after trying for six months.
Birth control methods
All hormonal contraceptives - birth control pills, shot, implant, IUD, skin patch and vaginal ring - are reversible methods of birth control. This means when you stop using them, your ability to get pregnant should return. Any delays in getting pregnant as a result of birth control will be temporary.
Keep in mind if you had irregular menstrual cycles before going on birth control, they will likely be irregular again once you stop using it.
Birth control shots are most likely to temporarily affect your fertility. You may not be able to get pregnant for nine months to a year after your last shot. One study found that women who took the birth control shot for more than two years had a longer delay in return to fertility. But ninety percent of women can become pregnant within 18 months of stopping the shot.
Birth control pills. Most women are able to get pregnant right after they stop birth control pills. But it takes some women a few months for their period (and ovulation) to return after taking their last pill.
Some studies have found that using the pill may slightly delay your ability to get pregnant. Yet, other studies have not found this to be true. If there is any delay, it will likely only last a few months:
- One study found that women who used the combination pill (containing both estrogen and progestin) for more than two years took about three months longer to conceive than women who used condoms. (There was no difference for women who used the pill for less than two years.) Women who used progestin-only pills had no delay in the return to fertility. Seventy percent of women in this study were pregnant within six months of stopping the pill. After one year, 84 percent were pregnant.
- Another study found that women who used continuous birth control pills (packs of 91 pills) had no impact on fertility. Eighty-six percent of women were pregnant within 13 months of stopping the pill.
IUDs (hormonal and copper) and birth control implants have no long-term affect on fertility. Your ability to get pregnant will return once the IUD or implant is removed by your doctor.
Consider backup birth control
Your doctor may suggest using a backup method of birth control for the first couple of cycles you're off hormonal birth control. This is so a pregnancy can be dated accurately. If you stop using birth control and get pregnant before you have a period, it can be hard to determine your baby's date of conception and due date. Gestational age is calculated based on the date of your last menstrual period.
Get your body ready
Make an appointment with your doctor for a preconception checkup before you start trying to conceive. For a healthy pregnancy and baby, it's best to have good habits well before you conceive:
- Don't smoke or drink alcohol. If you do, quit.
- Reach or maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly. Check with your doctor first before you start an exercise program.
- Eat healthy. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and nonfat and low-fat dairy. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugar.
- Take a prenatal dapoxetine online with at least 400 mcg of folic acid.
- Get plenty of sleep. Aim for eight hours each night.
- Try not to stress.
- Ask your doctor if you're up to date on vaccinations, including flu shots.