How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control?
Updated: Jan 23
Ideally, your contraception of choice should be able to prevent pregnancy when you want it to and when you decide that it's time and you’re ready to have a baby, it should have no impact on your ability to conceive once you stop using. Almost like something you can turn on and off, right?
Well, things can be more complicated than that. Here’s how it really works.
It’s all about timing
When your fertility returns back depend on which form of birth control you were using. It requires you to:
See the return of fertile cervical mucus
See the return of an “embryo-friendly” uterine lining
But remember, just because ovulation has returned, that doesn’t mean your endometrial lining is back to normal or that your body is producing fertile cervical mucus as it should yet. There’s also a chance that your fertility may have changed with age depending on how long you’ve been using contraception.
When Should You Stop Using Birth Control?
First things first, Don’t stop until you’re ready to get pregnant! Secondly, there’s no hard rule for how long you can stop taking birth control before trying to get pregnant. You can begin trying to get pregnant as soon as you feel comfortable. It all depends on you. Each person’s body is different and will react differently to stopping birth control. Some people can get pregnant immediately after and for others, it could take up to a year or more to become pregnant. Hormonal birth control that takes longer to wear off, such as the depo shot, can also delay pregnancy.
How soon will it take for different contraceptives?
Barrier methods - like condoms or a diaphragm, it’s possible to get pregnant as soon as you have sex without it.
Birth control pills - You may be able to get pregnant within 1-3 months of stopping a combination pill, meaning those that have estrogen and progestin. But most women tend to get pregnant within a year.
Birth control patch - You should begin ovulating 1-3 months after you stop using the birth control patch. That doesn’t guarantee you’ll get pregnant, but you have to ovulate to conceive.
Intrauterine device (IUD) - Women usually begin to ovulate within 1 month after removal meaning it is possible to get pregnant right away after your doctor removes your IUD. For most, pregnancy happens within 6 months to a year.
Implant - Like an IUD it’s possible to get pregnant right after your doctor removes this device. Most women start ovulating again in the first month.
Vaginal ring- Most women can ovulate 1-3 months after they remove it.
Injectable birth control (Depo-Provera) - Unlike other forms of hormonal birth control, it may be harder to get pregnant after you stop getting these shots. It may take 10 months or more before you ovulate again. For some women, it will take up to 18 months for periods to start again. That’s why experts don’t recommend this method for women who hope to have children within a year of using birth control.
When should you contact your doctor if you do not get pregnant after stopping your birth control?
Sometimes getting pregnant can take longer than you might think. This may feel rather frustrating especially if you were expecting it to work like clockwork. But the truth is for many it could take several months. There are many different factors - like age, health history, and weight that can impact your fertility. If you’re under 35 and it’s been more than a year since you stopped using birth control and you haven’t been able to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know. If you’re 35 or older, you should see your doctor after 6 months of trying.
Most people can get pregnant within 12 months after discontinuing birth control use and this may vary depending on your health and age, it’s always a good idea to factor your birth control method choice into your timeline when planning for pregnancy.
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