As more women are waiting to finish school, establish their career, travel the world, or enjoy their younger years before having children many will turn to some form of birth control. There are many options available and there are pros and cons to each. There is no right or wrong choice. It all just depends on your personal goals and preferences. Trying to conceive after birth control may or may not be difficult. It really just depends on your body and your birth control.
Congratulations on taking the first step towards starting a family! It’s thrilling to know that you are considering having a baby or are already trying to conceive. The good news is that you can start trying right away, without any significant risks of miscarriage. In the past, there were concerns about higher miscarriage risks soon after discontinuing birth control, but these have since been debunked. However, depending on the method of birth control you were using, your body may take some time to adjust before conception.
What you will learn in this article:
- How long will it take to get pregnant?
- When should I stop taking my birth control?
- How do I know if I’m ovulating?
Table of Contents
What Does Birth Control Do?
The primary purpose of birth control is to impede the union of sperm and egg after sexual intercourse, which ultimately prevents pregnancy. The mode of action varies across different types of birth control. Some methods create a physical barrier to block the sperm’s access to the egg, while others employ hormones to halt ovulation or make it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.
How Long Will It Take to Get Pregnant?
When you are trying to conceive after birth control how long it will take depends on your personal health, genetics, body mechanics, and type of birth control method. If you have been using a hormonal birth control method such as “the pill” or IUD you can get pregnant right after removing it or ceasing use. Most women will ovulate within 1 month of cessation. This doesn’t guarantee that you will get pregnant, but it is possible.
If you are using a barrier device such as spermicide, condom, or diaphragm you can get pregnant as soon as you have sex without it. Meaning if you are ovulating it could happen TOMORROW! (well, maybe not tomorrow, but within the next 5 days, if conditions are right).
Birth Control injections such as Depo-Provera can take a little longer to get pregnant. It may take closer to 10 months to begin ovulating again. Some women take up to 18 months for regular periods to start.
A recent study done in Germany found that 38% of healthy couples will conceive within one month of trying to conceive after cessation of birth control, 68% within three months, and 92% in 12 months. Your birth control will most likely not have much of an effect on your chances of getting pregnant, except in the case of birth control shots(Depo-Provera).
What if it’s not Happening?
Have you stopped your birth control method, are you tracking your cycle, and timing your intercourse and still not getting pregnant? Trying to conceive after birth control isn’t easy for everyone. There could be other factors you aren’t aware of contributing to your struggles that can be addressed. Reaching out to a specialist or functional medicine practitioner may be the right thing for you to determine the cause of your infertility. Try not to stress if it doesn’t happen in the timeline you are expecting. There are many components at play when it comes to conceiving a child.
When Should I Stop My Birth Control?
You should wait to stop your birth control until you are ready to have a baby. If you want to stop your hormonal birth control or get an implant removed in advance, make sure you have a barrier option available until you are actually ready to be pregnant.
Your birth control option does not have any effect on your long term fertility. Your age and general health will have greater effect on your fertility. Again, If you are concerned about your fertility or have not conceived in 6 – 12 months of actively trying to conceive consider reaching out to your OB, midwife, fertility specialist, or functional medicine practitioner. There are many options when it comes actionable steps you can take to improve your fertility. What one person needs will not be the same for others.
When Will I Get My Period?
You could get your period as soon as you stop your birth control, or it may be irregular. Several months may pass before your first period. Just because you have not had a period does not mean you have not ovulated.
If you don’t get a period within the first few weeks or you have some spotting on and off, take a pregnancy test. You may have ovulated prior to your first menstrual period and are already pregnant.
If you don’t have a period after stopping your birth control for more than 3 months reach out to your medical provider.
How Do I Know If I’m Ovulating?
Look for signs of ovulation. Cervical fluid is a good indicator. you vaginal discharge will be clear and sticky like an “egg white”. You may have other cervical changes and changes to your basal body temperature that are harder to identify.
Another option is to purchase ovulation test strips. They are not 100% accurate but can give you some great insight on if and when you are ovulating. They measure levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. This rises in our bodies in the middle of our cycle and tells our ovary to release an egg. It is typically safe to assume that ovulation will occur within the next 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it hard to get pregnant after birth control?
Absolutely not! You should be able to get pregnant within 1-3 months after stopping your birth control. Of couples actively trying to conceive using natural family planning 68% will conceive within 1-3 months and 92% will conceive within 12 months.
how do i increase my chances of getting pregnant?
Timing intercourse around ovulation gives you the greatest chance of getting pregnant each month. Usually 3 days before or after ovulation.
If you’re thinking about stopping your birth control to have a baby, it’s best to wait until you’re ready. However, if you need to stop early, be sure to use a backup method until you’re ready to start trying. Your birth control choice won’t impact your long-term fertility, but your age and general health will.
If you’re worried about your fertility, talk to your doctor. After stopping birth control, it may take a few months for your period to return to normal. Remember everyone is different, so don’t compare yourself to others!
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.