When you stop taking hormonal birth control, it may take some time before the hormones leave your system. Your body may also need to adjust, and your menstrual cycle may take some time to return to its regularity.
Because of this, it can take a few days to a year or more to get pregnant after you discontinue your birth control method, depending on the method, your age, and your overall health.
Still, if you experience difficulty getting pregnant for a long time, consider talking with your doctor.
If you plan to become pregnant and you take or recently stopped taking hormonal contraceptives, here are answers to some common questions about getting pregnant after birth control.
The pill, or oral contraception, is a type of hormonal birth control.
Whether you can get pregnant right away after stopping the pill will depend on your cycle, your age, and your overall health.
Your period can take up to 4 weeks to return to its regularity. For some individuals, this may take longer.
After your period comes back, it may be irregular at first, regardless of its regularity before taking birth control. Your menstrual cycle can take up to 3 months to fully reestablish itself.
The type of cycle you have also plays a role in how soon your period comes back. Factors such as weight, stress, exercise, and medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome can all influence your cycle, its regularity, and when it returns.
While you can still get pregnant without having a period, it’s less likely.
Therefore, some people may have a difficult time getting pregnant right away after stopping the pill.
For others, your cycle may return to its regularity immediately, and you may get pregnant right away.
Once your period returns, there’s a good chance of getting pregnant within a year. According to a 2018 research review, slightly more than
There are many other forms of hormonal birth control besides the pill. Here’s what research has to say about how soon you can get pregnant after stopping them.
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, t-shaped piece of plastic a doctor inserts into the uterus as a form of birth control. The copper IUD is hormone-free, and several other types of IUDs use hormones, including Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta.
While a hormonal IUD works a little differently than oral contraceptives, since the hormones localize to your uterus, IUDs are statistically similar to the pill regarding how soon you can get pregnant after its removal.
In fact, research shows that the chances of getting pregnant after stopping use are about the same. Just like the pill, a little more than
Still, like with the pill, pregnancy can also occur immediately after IUD removal. If you’re not ready to become pregnant right after your IUD removal, you may want to use another method of birth control until you are.
The patch is a form of birth control you wear directly on your skin that contains hormones. Wearing the patch weekly, with a patch-free week after every 3 weeks for your period, helps prevent pregnancy.
Stopping patch use follows the same timeline as stopping oral birth control use.
While some people may get pregnant immediately after discontinuing the patch, it can also take some time for your cycle to return.
The implant is a thin matchstick-sized rod that a doctor implants into your arm. This implant releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant.
You may get pregnant as early as a week after the implant removal.
Still, like many other hormonal birth control methods, your body may need to adjust as your menstrual cycle reestablishes itself, and this may take several months.
The ring is a small plastic ring that you place inside your vagina. It releases hormones into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. You can replace it monthly, or annually, depending on the type you use.
Similar to other hormonal birth control methods, it can take several months to get pregnant after stopping use. However, some people may get pregnant right away.
The birth control shot, also known as the Depo-Provera shot, or the depo shot, is a contraceptive injection that contains hormones to help prevent pregnancy. A doctor can give you this shot every 3 months to suppress ovulation.
It takes 15 weeks for the depo shot to wear off. So, it may take several months for your period to return after discontinuing its use. According to Planned Parenthood, it may take up to 10 months for your cycle to return to its usual frequency.
If you plan to become pregnant in the near future and use the shot, it may make sense to factor this timeline into your plans. If you would like to use a short-term birth control method, you may want to consider a different method.
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.
Each person’s body is different and will react differently to stopping birth control.
Some people may get pregnant immediately after discontinuing use.
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.
While you can start trying right away, you may want to wait until your period returns or becomes regular to give yourself a higher chance of getting pregnant.
How soon you can get pregnant after stopping birth control can depend on the method used, how long it takes your period to return, your cycle, your health, and your partner’s fertility, among other factors.
Age can also matter. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), for couples in their 20s and early 30s, around 1 in 4 women can become pregnant during any menstrual cycle. By 40 years old, the pregnancy chance is closer to 1 in 10.
It’s important to remember that each situation is different. Try not to feel discouraged if the process takes longer than you anticipate.
A 2018 research review showed that slightly more than
Getting pregnant can take longer than you might think. It can feel frustrating if it doesn’t happen right away. But for many people, it can take several months. Try to be patient with yourself. You may want to consider joining a support group if you experience difficult feelings around trying to conceive.
Since fertility can begin to decline around 30 years old, the advice on contacting a doctor varies depending on your age.
According to the ACOG, if you are more than 35 years old and do not get pregnant after 6 months of having sex without a condom or another barrier method, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about a fertility evaluation.
If you are more than 40 years old, it’s a good idea to have an evaluation before you try to get pregnant. This is particularly true if you have any health conditions that may impact fertility, such as endometriosis.
A high percentage of people can get pregnant within 12 months after discontinuing birth control use. While your return to fertility may vary depending on your health and age, it’s a good idea to factor your birth control method choice into your timeline when planning for pregnancy.