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Whether you take birth control or are trying to conceive, chances are you’ve considered how the pill affects your body and whether it causes fertility issues. Here’s what you need to know about hormonal birth control and fertility.
How long does it take to become pregnant after stopping hormonal birth control?
“It’s possible to conceive within a few months of stopping most types of birth control,” said Karen Krieg, D.O., Inspira Medical Group OB/GYN. “Don’t stop taking birth control unless you’re ready to get pregnant.” If you want to stop using hormonal birth control but aren’t ready to conceive, use another method of contraception, such as a hormone-free copper intrauterine device (IUD) or condoms.
How does the type of birth control you take affect your fertility?
Hormonal birth control methods can impact your fertility in different ways:
- Combination birth control pills containing estrogen and progestin stop you from ovulating, so it may take one to three months after discontinuing use to start ovulating again.
- A progestin-only birth control pill thins the lining of your uterus to prevent contraception. The lining starts to thicken again as soon as you stop taking it, so you could get pregnant within a few days or weeks after stopping use.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants may prevent you from ovulating while in place, but ovulation and pregnancy are possible within a month of removal.
- Vaginal rings and birth control patches release hormones into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. Most people start ovulating again within one to three months of discontinuing use.
- Contraceptive injections release progestin into your body to prevent ovulation. Unlike other hormonal birth control methods, it may take 10 or more months before you start ovulating again.
Is it safe to get pregnant right after using birth control?
Yes. Although health experts used to believe that people were more likely to have a miscarriage if they got pregnant immediately after stopping birth control, current research shows it’s safe to try conceiving right away. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), taking birth control before getting pregnant doesn’t result in early pregnancy loss.
What are some common signs of healthy fertility and ovulation?
“Having a regular cycle, even when you’re not taking hormonal birth control, is a good sign of fertility,” said Dr. Krieg. “Menstrual cycles that aren’t extremely heavy or painful indicate that you don’t have a chronic gynecological condition that could interfere with your chances of becoming pregnant.” Signs of ovulation may include a change in cervical mucus, cervical position and basal body temperature. If you’re unsure, an over the counter ovulation test can help confirm whether you’re ovulating.
What risk factors make it more difficult to become pregnant after stopping hormonal birth control?
Many factors, including lifestyle choices, medical history, weight and age can affect your fertility, even after you stop using birth control. If you’re struggling to conceive, talk to your OB/GYN about your options. Your OB/GYN can help you explore ways to increase your chances of becoming pregnant and can decide if a consultation with a fertility specialist is warranted.
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