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Oral contraceptive pills, also called birth control pills (BCPs) are a very popular and highly effective method to prevent unplanned pregnancy. When you decide to conceive, you should consult your doctor about when to stop taking the pill.
After stopping the pill, your menstrual period may start sometime within the next few weeks or even within the next couple of months. You will ovulate about two weeks before your period, though your cycle may be irregular for a while. Hence, you can start trying to conceive as soon as you stop taking the pill, although it could take anywhere from one to six months for you to get pregnant.
How does a Contraceptive Pill Work?
Combined contraceptive pills are the most frequently used oral contraceptive pills. These pills contain low doses of the hormones oestrogen and progestin that work together to prevent ovulation. They prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg.
The progestin-only pill also called mini-pill works by suppressing ovulation, thinning the uterine lining, and thickening the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.
How soon will you get Pregnant after you Stop Taking the Pill?
Getting pregnant after being on the pill can happen immediately or after a few months. There is no way to predict this exactly. Once the birth control pill has been stopped, some women may get pregnant right away, while others may take a few months to conceive.
The body needs some time for the natural hormonal levels to return to normal. The ovary needs to get ready so that an egg can mature and be released. The uterine lining has to thicken again to ready itself for implantation.
After discontinuing the pill, ovulation and fertility can take between one to three months to return to normal. Conception can happen only if ovulation occurs. Around 50% of women on the combined pill get pregnant within 3 months after stopping the pill, while most others get pregnant within 12 months. Women taking the mini-pill usually get pregnant within 6 months of stopping the pill. If after 6 months after cessation of birth control pills you are still not pregnant, consult your doctor.
Fertility also changes with age. Women’s ability to get pregnant decreases gradually with age. So a normal, healthy 25-year-old is more fertile than a healthy 35-year-old. This could also affect the time it takes for you to conceive after stopping the pill.
You can increase your chances of getting pregnant if you know you are ovulating and have intercourse around that time. To find out if you are ovulating, you can use an ovulation predictor kit available on the market. This detects the presence of increased levels of luteinizing hormone in the urine, which indicates that you are about to ovulate in the next two days.
Sometimes, the pill is used to treat conditions like uterine fibroids, polycystic ovaries or severe acne. In such cases, consult your doctor before stopping the pill.
When will you get your Periods after you Stop Taking the Pill?
After stopping the pill, you may get your menstrual period anytime within the next few weeks to the next few months. Within months of stopping the pill, your fertility level returns to whatever level is normal for you. If you had precise 28 to 30-day menstrual cycles, you would resume having them. If you had irregular periods, you would go back to having them once again.
For some women, the periods may not return immediately after stopping the pill. This is called post-pill amenorrhoea. This gets sorted in a few months. Since the hormones in BCPs stop ovulation, it can take at least three months for your body’s natural cycle to resume. This may take up to nine months for some women. Conditions like fitness, weight, stress levels and medical conditions like polycystic ovaries can all affect your menstrual cycle.
Can you get pregnant right after stopping the pill? This is a definite possibility for some women. Women ovulate around two weeks before their menstrual period begins, so some women may get pregnant right away if they ovulate after stopping the pill.
Should you Wait until you’ve had a Period Before Trying to Conceive?
Medically, you can conceive as soon as you stop taking the pill. However, doctors often advise women to wait until after their first menstrual period to start trying to conceive. This is to let your cycle normalise and make it easier to calculate your due date accurately. The first bleeding you experience after stopping the pill is called withdrawal bleeding. The second bleed is your first natural period.
Women will begin to ovulate normally around a month or two after stopping birth control pills. Once your body returns to having regular menstrual cycles, it will be easy to predict ovulation more precisely. Having intercourse during the time of ovulation increases your chances of getting pregnant. So, you may want to wait for your first period so that you can predict the time of your ovulation when you try to conceive.
What if you Can’t Get Pregnant after being on Birth Control Pills?
When stopping oral contraception to get pregnant, women may expect that their bodies will be ready to conceive right away. However, the body needs to adjust to the difference in hormone levels posts the pill. The lining of the uterus needs to thicken, and the ovaries have to release an egg.
Try not to be disheartened if you do not conceive right after stopping the pill. Keep trying to get pregnant. Meanwhile, eat healthy food with plenty of fruits and vegetables included in your diet. Also exercise regularly, and start taking prenatal vitamins. The prenatal vitamins should include a daily dose of folic acid. Preparing in advance will help you have a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby.
If you have been trying to conceive for more than 6 months after stopping the birth control pills, consult your doctor. The doctor may perform tests to determine if there is anything preventing you from getting pregnant.
There are some common misconceptions that the pill affects your fertility and that getting pregnant too soon after the pill can affect the health of your baby. These are incorrect, and there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Birth control pills work by suppressing ovulation. So, after stopping the pill, women should allow their bodies some time to adjust until their natural menstrual cycle resumes. This will help increase the chances of getting pregnant.