Sooner or later, you and your partner will want to conceive or have another child after your choice of birth spacing. You may think that getting pregnant after coming off the pill or any contraceptive will be easy; however, it’s crucial to know there are many considerations should you decide to get pregnant again.
Your body will likely have adjusted to your using birth control for years, so you might need a little time after you go off contraception. This article will try to explain what it takes to get pregnant after birth control.
What are the chances of getting pregnant after coming off the pill?
Don’t stop until you’re ready to get pregnant. You have a chance of getting pregnant 1 to 3 months after discontinuing the use of oral contraceptives such as the combination pill (with estrogen and progesterone) or the progesterone-only pill (mini-pill). However, most women need a year to conceive after coming off the pill.
You may think it will be challenging to get pregnant after years of birth spacing through oral contraceptives, but a study has proved otherwise. Taking oral contraception over a long period doesn’t affect your fertility. Still, it’s possible that you don’t get pregnant right away after weaning yourself off any birth control.
It’s always best to talk to your doctor so that you know what to expect in case you make the important decision to have a baby after years of contraception. You should also discuss when to stop taking the pill and the pill withdrawal symptoms to ensure a smooth and healthy transition. Your body will definitely be better prepared to conceive.
What should you expect once you discontinue taking the pill?
Apart from getting ready to conceive after you discontinue oral contraception, you should be prepared for the risks and side effects of withdrawing from the pill. You probably felt a side effect or two when you first started taking the pill, which might be also the case as soon as you stop taking it. This is because your body may need some time to adapt to the change.
Here are some of the things you should expect:
- You have a higher chance of getting pregnant-Discontinuing the pill defeats its main purpose: birth control. So, once you stop, getting pregnant again may be inevitable although some women may experience a delay in conceiving.
- Your monthly cycle can get all mixed up-It might take weeks or sometimes months for your period to come back or resume as normal after hormonal birth control. Some women miss their period while on the pill, so it could take a month or two (even a bit more) to return to a consistent schedule. Allow up to 3 months for your natural cycle to re-establish itself.
- Say hello to your PMS (premenstrual syndrome)-Pills are formulated using hormones, and coming off them can drive your own hormones out of whack. This hormonal imbalance can cause a rollercoaster of emotions, including anxiety, irritability, and even depression.
- There will probably be some cramping-The dreaded monthly cramping might come back, too. It has to do with you are ovulating again, which wasn’t happening while you were on the pill. Did I mention having to deal with vaginal discharge in the middle of your menstrual cycle, as well as heavy menstrual flow? Be prepared for those menstrual symptoms coming back sooner rather than later.
- You may lose a bit of weight-Some women gain a few pounds while on the pill, so your scale may show a drop in weight once you go off it.
- Acne and unwanted hair growth might reappear-The pill can improve your hormonal imbalance that causes acne and the growth of unwanted hair. These can return once you discontinue the pill.
- You might find yourself always in the “mood“-Some women going off the pill suddenly feel an increase in their libido. Perhaps you’ll be among those experiencing this “side effect.”
- You’ll probably say goodbye to headaches-Some pills might give you a constant headache, so stopping intake can give you some relief.
What about other forms of birth control?
Aside from the pill, there are other forms of birth control, and stopping their use may come with some risks and side effects. This is because you are eliminating the “outside” source of control over conception. Here’s what you can expect should you decide to let go of those protections:
- Intra-uterine device (IUD)-The removal of an IUD can cause discomfort, but it’s not really painful. It is best to consult your medical practitioner in case you experience fever, chills, or heavy bleeding.
- Birth control implants-You’ll be experiencing some bruising or even numbness in the area because an incision is made to remove the implant. Just be on the lookout and contact your doctor if you have elevated body temperature, consistent pain, redness, or swelling of the incised area.
- Tubal ligation-Should you decide to have a tubal ligation reversal, you are at the risk of infection, bleeding, fallopian tube scarring, injury to other organs, and complications because of the anesthetics used. And yes, there’s a possibility you won’t be able to get pregnant after the reversal procedure depending on your age and the type of ligation you’ve had.
- Vasectomy – A vasectomy reversal is highly uncommon because it’s more complicated than the actual vasectomy. If that’s your option, there are risks such as hematoma caused by bleeding of the scrotum, persistent pain in the area, and infection of the surgery site.
- Depo Provera shots-Common after-effects of discontinuing this contraceptive method are spotting and irregular periods. Some users also mention difficulty in getting pregnant after stopping their Depo Provera shots.
- Barrier methods-These methods involve the use of condoms, spermicide, contraceptive sponges, diaphragms, or cervical caps. They are very conservative compared to other forms of birth control, and once you stop, your chances of getting pregnant will be at their peak. Some barrier methods, such as condoms, also provide protection from sexually transmitted infections, so the risk of contracting such infections will significantly increase when you stop this form of birth control.
Why a medical professional is essential to your TTC journey
It’s vital to get your medical professional involved in the process when you’re trying to conceive. If you want to have a baby, seeing your doctor should be your initial step because:
- Your doctor will tell you when the right time is to stop using birth control and how long you should wait before trying to get pregnant.
- He will tell you about the expectations you should set in terms of the risks when you discontinue birth control use and even some fertility issues you can experience as you try to conceive.
- Your medical professional can guide you on having a healthier lifestyle and what supplements to take in preparation for your pregnancy.
- Your doctor can explain how your body works and may be able to pinpoint the earliest time of your ovulation after you stop taking the pill or using other birth control methods. This will greatly increase your chances of getting pregnant.
- Your doctor can provide the best options should any issues arise to delay your pregnancy plans. It can be about improving your lifestyle to conceive the natural way or resorting to other methods, such as IVF.
My final thoughts
Getting pregnant after discontinuing your method of birth control can’t happen overnight. It will require a lot of patience from you and your partner. While waiting for those two pink lines to appear on your pregnancy test, make use of the time to take care not only of your body but also of your emotional and mental well-being.