When to Get Pregnant After Being on the Pill

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Patient talking to female doctor.

Many women use oral contraceptives or the birth control pill as their method of contraception. When they decide that they are ready to become pregnant, they know that they need to discontinue taking the pill in order to become pregnant. The question then becomes how long must one wait before trying to conceive after coming off the pill.

It was once believed that once you stopped taking the pill you should wait two to three menstrual cycles before getting pregnant. Doctors once believed that if you got pregnant right away that there was a higher chance of miscarriage, though this has not been found to be the case. And going off the pill is better than getting pregnant on the pill.

Once you quit taking birth control pills you may ovulate within two to six weeks. The speed with which it is reversible is one of the big benefits of the pill. If you haven’t had a normal period within eight weeks, you should consider calling your doctor or midwife for an exam. Sometimes you might have gotten pregnant before having a period, sometimes your hormones need some help.

If you get pregnant before having your first period, which is possible, you may have a slightly harder time pinpointing when you ovulated and therefore your due date.

Another issue to keep in mind that even though you have a chance to get pregnant every ovulation cycle, it does not mean that you will quit taking the pill and get pregnant right away. It can take a healthy couple up to a year to get pregnant, even if there are no problems. This can concern women, particularly after stopping birth control.

My advice is to have a preconception health visit with your doctor or midwife if you are thinking of getting pregnant. They can help you plan for stopping the pill and help you be as healthy as possible for when you do get pregnant.

This may not help you feel comfortable with the fact that simply going off the pill won’t make you pregnant. While it is true, some women get pregnant on the pill, some miss a pill and get pregnant and some come off only to get pregnant right away. You will need to remember that there are many other women whose bodies take the time to regulate after stopping these hormones. This is not necessarily because there is a problem, but because you just take awhile to get pregnant. That can be perfectly normal, even if you don’t like it and would prefer it to be another way.

One thing to do if you are wanting to conceive is to track ovulation. You can start simply with some of the apps that merely try to guess when your period is due and then move into the other more involved methods if a few months doesn’t have you conceiving. This might be basal body temperature testing, using an ovulation prediction kit (OPK), etc.

The key during the wait is to talk about what’s going on and to convey what’s normal and what’s not. Your partner may be excited, confused or all of the above.

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