How long does it take to get pregnant after stopping birth control?
By Erynn Petersen
The time it takes to get pregnant after stopping birth control can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of birth control used, the individual's reproductive health, and their menstrual cycle.
You can get pregnant right away after you stop regular-dose or low-dose hormonal birth control. About half of women get pregnant in the first 3 months after stopping the pill. Here's a general guideline for some common types of birth control and what happens when you stop using them:
Combination Birth Control Pills: For women who were using combination birth control pills (containing both estrogen and progestin), fertility typically returns quickly after stopping the pill. Some women may ovulate within a few days to a couple of weeks after stopping, and pregnancy can occur soon after that.
Progestin-Only Pills: Progestin-only pills (the "mini-pill") may have a slightly different effect on fertility compared to combination pills. Ovulation can return within a few weeks to a few months after stopping, but pregnancy can still happen during this time.
Depo-Provera (Birth Control Shot): The return to fertility after stopping the Depo-Provera shot may take longer compared to oral contraceptives. It's not uncommon for ovulation and regular menstrual cycles to take several months to return, and pregnancy may take several months after that.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs): Fertility typically returns quickly after the removal of hormonal IUDs. In some cases, women may conceive during the first menstrual cycle after removal.
Implants: For contraceptive implants like Nexplanon, fertility can return rapidly after removal, and pregnancy can occur shortly afterward.
Contraceptive Injections (e.g., Depo-Provera): After stopping contraceptive injections, it may take several months for fertility to return and regular menstrual cycles to resume.
Barrier Methods: Barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragms, do not affect fertility. Pregnancy can happen as soon as you stop using them.
Natural Family Planning (Fertility Awareness): Fertility awareness methods do not involve hormones, so there is no need to wait for hormones to leave your system. However, successfully using these methods to prevent pregnancy requires careful tracking of fertility signs and planning intercourse accordingly.
It's essential to remember that every woman's body is different, and there is no exact timeline for when fertility will return. Some women may conceive immediately after stopping birth control, while others may take several months. If you are trying to conceive and it's taking longer than expected, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare provider for advice and guidance. They can help assess your individual situation and provide personalized recommendations.