Getting Pregnant After the Pill
If you’ve been taking oral contraceptives, you probably have questions about getting pregnant after the pill. How soon can you get pregnant after the pill? Is it hard to get pregnant after birth control? You took the pill for a long time, will this affect your fertility? Should you wait a few cycles after stopping the pill to try to conceive?
How the Birth Control Pill Works
The birth control pill works by suppressing ovulation. Oral contraceptives are typically formulated with a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When you take the pill, your body’s natural hormone regulation system is overridden. Instead of responding to changing hormone levels and cycling through menstruation and ovulation, your body is tricked by the constant elevated levels of hormones delivered by the pill. Your ovaries don’t receive the signal to begin maturing follicles, never release eggs to be fertilized, thus preventing pregnancy.
When You Stop Taking The Pill
When you stop taking the pill, the extra estrogen and progesterone will leave your body very quickly, usually within a few days. At this point, your body will begin to respond to it’s natural hormone levels and begin the menstrual cycle again. This may mean you start your period immediately after stopping the pill. However, it may take your body a few extra days or even weeks to regulate. During this time you may notice some irregular bleeding that doesn’t seem like a normal period. This is not unusual and does not indicate a problem. It can take 3 to 6 months for your body to naturally and consistently regulate your fertility cycle after coming off of the birth control pill.
If you had regular, predictable menstrual cycles before you started taking the birth control pill, it’s very likely that after a short time of adjustment you will again have regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation. It doesn’t matter if you were on the pill for six months or sixteen years, the length of time you took the birth control pill will have no effect on your fertility.
It’s important to note, however, that if you started taking the pill at 22 and you’re now 42, your fertility may indeed be reduced significantly, but not because of 20 years of oral contraceptive use. You may be less fertile simply because you have aged.
- At age 30, 75% will get pregnant within one year, and 91% within four years.
- At age 35, 66% will get pregnant within one year, and 84% within four years.
- At age 40, 44% will get pregnant within one year, and 64% within four yearsÂ (source : Wikipedia)
If you had irregular cycles before taking the birth control pill, you will probably once again be irregular after you stop taking the pill. Oral contraceptives don’t usually â€œfixâ€ the underlying issues that made your cycles unpredictable to begin with. If you stop taking the pill and don’t return to regular menstrual cycles within three to six months, it’s time to consult your doctor.
How Long To Get Pregnant After the Pill
You can start trying to get pregnant as soon as you stop taking the birth control pill. There is no evidence to suggest that you need to wait to conceive. However, you may decide to wait a few cycles for your body to regulate so that you have a better idea of when you are ovulating. It can be a â€œshot in the darkâ€ (no pun intended) at getting pregnant if you don’t know when you are most fertile. You may not ovulate for a few weeks after stopping the birth control pill, even if you experienced menstrual-like bleeding (which is very common after stopping the pill). Trying to conceive can be physically and emotionally draining, and it may be best to save the effort for the weeks you know you can get pregnant.
It’s hard to guess exactly how long it will take to get pregnant after the pill. Some women’s bodies regulate very quickly and they ovulate and get pregnant literally within days of stopping the pill. For others, it may take significantly longer. Remember that your chances of getting pregnant in any given cycle depend on many factors including your age, health and weight, how well you are timing sex to conceive, and whether you are ovulating regularly.
What are Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
If you are young, healthy, and actively trying to conceive, it will take an average of four to five months to get pregnant.
Between the ages of 35 and 40, your chances of getting pregnant in any given cycle are one in six or seven. It takes an average of seven months to conceive for this age group.
For women over 40, the chance of conception drops to one in twenty for each cycle, or an average wait of 20 months to conceive. Although that statistic may be disheartening, realize that everyone is different and your results may vary. If you are over 40, it’s imperative that you see your doctor to insure that no time is wasted and potential fertility issues can be recognized and treated as quickly as possible.