Coming Off The Pill
If you were taking the contraceptive pill in the past and have now stopped because you want to get pregnant, you might be wondering whether or not the pill is having any effect on your chances of conceiving. A lot of theories get passed around among women regarding the effects of coming off the birth control pill. You may have heard that the longer you were taking the pill, the longer it will take for your periods to return or the longer it will take you to begin ovulating and be fertile. You may also have heard that it’s not safe to get pregnant right after you come off the contraceptive pill because you still have birth control hormones in your body which could be harmful to your baby. Thankfully these are inaccurate theories.
In most cases, a woman will ovulate again approximately two weeks after taking her last contraceptive pill. This means that the average woman could expect to have a natural period again approximately four to six weeks after she stops her birth control pill. She is now fertile again. However, not everyone finds that their periods return within this time frame. Some women may not have a period for several months. If you had irregular periods before you started taking the contraceptive pill, you will probably find that your irregular ovulation cycle returns when you stop taking the medication. Furthermore, having a period soon after you stop the pill does not always mean that you have ovulated. It may take a few more weeks or months before you are actually fertile again.
Pregnancy is both possible and safe the day after you stop taking the birth control pill. The hormones which the contraceptive pill puts into the body generally leave the body within one or two days. These hormones are not harmful to a fetus even if they are still present in the body at the time of conception – there are plenty of women who get pregnant by accident while taking the pill and give birth to healthy babies.
Although it is possible to get pregnant the first time you ovulate after stopping the pill, this is quite unlikely to happen. If it did happen, you probably wouldn’t get a period at all. If you still haven’t had a period three months after stopping the birth control pill, you should take a pregnancy test.
Doctors recommend waiting for one natural cycle to pass after stopping the birth control pill before trying to get pregnant. This time gap allows you to attend preconception counseling (ask your doctor about this); make the lifestyle changes necessary for a healthy pregnancy (good diet, quitting smoking and cutting out alcohol, drugs and caffeine) and to take folic acid supplements (folic acid helps prevent miscarriage and birth defects). Waiting one full cycle also makes it easier for your doctor to predict your due date when you do get pregnant.
When a woman doesn’t ovulate and therefore doesn’t menstruate for several months after stopping the contraceptive pill, her condition is called “post-pill amenorrhea.” If this is you, you don’t necessarily need to worry but you should seek the advice of your doctor if you are concerned. The hormones contained in the birth control pill prevent ovulation – they stop your ovaries from releasing eggs. When you stop taking the pill, it may take your body some time to start producing its own hormones which stimulate the ovaries into producing and releasing eggs. If after three months you still haven’t had a period, you should take a pregnancy test. If after six months you still haven’t had a period, you should definitely go to see your doctor.