What Does The Birth Control Pill Do
As you likely know, the birth control pill prevents you from getting pregnant. Some women also may use it to regulate their cycles or manage PMS symptoms as directed by their doctor, but its main purpose is to prevent pregnancy.
The approval of the birth control pill by the FDA in June 1960 revolutionized womens health. For the first time in history, women could use a reversible and almost 100% effective contraceptive method that allowed them to plan motherhood and enjoy spontaneous sex without the fear of an undesired pregnancy. It essentially empowered women with a newfound control over their body and reproductive health.
The birth control pill contains small doses of hormones , the pill may prevent pregnancy in one or more of the following ways, depending on which one you use:
- Thickening cervical mucus so sperm cant swim through to find the egg
- Thinning your uterine lining so that its more difficult for a fertilized embryo to attach
But, as we mentioned, preventing pregnancy is not all the pill is used for. Studies show that women who use this form of birth control are less likely to developuterine and ovarian cancers.
The pill is also used to regulate periods, alleviate acne, reduce excess hair, and diminish premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Although it doesnt cure it, the pill can be one of the best ways to manage PCOS .
When taken as directed, the pill is up to 99% effective and starts working from the first month.
How Soon Can I Become Pregnant
This is a different question. Just because your fertility has returned doesnt mean that you will conceive right away.
It can be difficult for women who have spent years preventing pregnancy to experience this. Most women think that without any birth control they can conceive right away. When they find out that they cant, they might feel frustrated or anxious.
As noted above, it can take a while for women to conceive after they have stopped using contraceptives .
Can You Get Pregnant While Youre Breastfeeding
It is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding. Although breastfeeding does suppress ovulation, its not a very reliable form of birth control. If your period resumes even if you have an irregular period while breastfeeding you can get pregnant.
What’s more, it’s actually possible to get pregnant before your period arrives. So if you’re not ready to put another bun in the oven just yet, be sure to take proper birth control precautions.
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Considerations When Stopping The Pill
Examples of the factors that impact the likelihood of conceiving after ceasing the contraceptive pill include:
- A womanâs overall health: Factors, such as thyroid disorders, pituitary gland disorders, or polycystic ovary syndrome , can affect the chances of conceiving. Women who are obese or excessively thin also may have difficulty conceiving.
- A womanâs reproductive health: Women who have a history of pelvic infections, blocked fallopian tubes, or endometriosis may have greater difficulty conceiving.
- A manâs reproductive health: Low sperm counts can affect a coupleâs chances of getting pregnant.
- How often a couple has sex: âRegularâ sex when trying to conceive is usually having sex every 2 to 3 days. Having sex less frequently is less likely to result in pregnancy.
- A womanâs age: Rates of pregnancy decline after women reach the age of 35 years. According to the NHS, 92 percent of women ages 19 to 26, will conceive within 1 year of having unprotected sex. An estimated 82 percent of women, 35 to 39 years of age, will conceive within 1 year after having unprotected sex.
Most obstetricians use the 1-year mark of having unprotected sex as a milestone in fertility assessment. If a couple has not conceived after trying for 1 year, they may wish to see an obstetrician for further evaluation.
Many factors go into getting pregnant. While stopping the pill is an important step, so is making sure a womanâs body is in the best possible health to conceive.
Does Birth Control Affect Fertility Long
Many women wonder if years of birth control will cause fertility problems later in life. The good news is that long-term use of birth control pills should not impact your ability to get pregnant.
The hormones in the pill only stay in your body a short time, which is why you need to take one every day for the pill to be effective. So once you stop, you should return to your normal cycle, and your ability to get pregnant, within a few months, says Dr. Tiffany Bersani, a board-certified OBGYN with Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists in Beaufort and Okatie. One exception is the birth control shot.
If you are using Depo-Provera it may take as long as six to 12 months after your last shot before your normal cycles return, and some women experience disruptions to their fertility for up to 18 months.
Be sure to let your provider know your plans to start a family so you can explore other alternatives for birth control ahead of time, Dr. Bersani says.
While infertility should not be a concern in terms of birth control use, Dr. Bersani says there are other risks of long-term usage. Some birth control pills may increase the risk of stroke, blood clots and heart attack in women who are already at risk for these things. There is also evidence that taking the pill may increase the risk for breast and cervical cancer. On the other hand, it may reduce the risk of ovarian, colorectal and endometrial cancers.
Download the Guide: Understanding Birth Control Options
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How Long Does It Take To Fall Pregnant After Stopping Contraception
Most women will usually begin to ovulate normally and have menstrual periods a month or two after they stop using the pill or most forms of birth control. However, for others it may take longer. In most instances this is just the normal delays in the process of conception. There is a common misconception that there are problems conceiving post contraception, or even possible negative side effects. The truth of the matter is that your body needs a bit of time to adjust and in most cases, pregnancy will happen when your body is ready to conceive.
You may have heard that falling pregnant immediately after birth control could have side effects that lead to a negative impact on the health of your baby, however there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.
What Happens If You Stop Taking Combination Pills
Combination pills are the most common forms of oral contraceptives. These contain both estrogen and progestin. When taken daily, these pills protect against pregnancy by preventing the release of an egg during ovulation. They also create mucus barriers to help prevent sperm from reaching an egg.
The rate of pregnancy after stopping these pills greatly depends on the type of combination pill youre taking. If youre taking the conventional type, which has three weeks of active pills, its possible to get pregnant the next month after menstruation. Its also possible to get pregnant if you miss a dose in the middle of your pack.
Some combination pills, like Seasonale, come in extended cycle versions. This means you take 84 active pills in a row and only have a period every three months. It may take longer for your cycles to normalize after taking extended-cycle pills, but its still possible to get pregnant in as little as one month.
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The Intrauterine Device Is One Of The Most Effective Forms Of Reversible Birth Control Available Today Heres How Copper Iuds And Hormonal Iuds Impact Your Future Chances Of Conception
The intrauterine device is one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control available todayup to 20 times more effective than birth control pills, the patch, or the ring, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. But what happens when you decide that you want to get pregnant when you have an IUD? Keep reading to learn about getting pregnant after an IUD, including how this method of birth control impacts your future chances of conception.
How Long Will It Take To Get Pregnant
When you stop using hormonal birth control, you will start ovulating again. When you are ovulating, you are fertile. But a return of fertility does not automatically mean you will get pregnant.
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Is Birth Control Less Effective After Pregnancy
Most birth control methods are just as effective after having a baby. There are just a few exceptions:
- If you previously used a diaphragm or cervical cap, youll need to be refitted by your healthcare provider now that youve had a baby.
- Sponges are less effective in people whove previously given birth. The effectiveness of the sponge drops from 88 percent to 76 percent after birth.
Does Hormonal Birth Control Have To Be Cleared From Your System Before You Can Get Pregnant
So youre ready to pursue pregnancy after stopping contraceptives. We know that, in many cases, the medication will leave your body within 48 hours. But that doesnt necessarily mean that your body will be quite ready for pregnancy 48 hours after you stop using birth control.
All forms of contraception that contain hormones work by altering your menstrual cycle and there may be an adjustment period of around 90 days as your typical cycles return. But this is not caused by lingering birth control hormones. 90 days is the estimated amount of time it takes for an ovarian follicle to go from actively developing to ready for ovulation . 90 days gives your body enough time to ovulate an egg that hasn’t been affected by synthetic hormones .
But, adds Dr. Luo, “there are plenty of patients who stop taking oral contraceptive pills or other forms of hormonal contraception and get pregnant immediately,” she says. That 90 days is the average adjustment period before “normal” menstrual cycles return you won’t necessarily have that same experience.
Regardless of your method of birth control, no you don’t need to do or take anything to cleanse your body of the synthetic hormones from birth control. They’ll leave on their own.
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The Pill Vaginal Ring Or Patch
The pill, ring or patch work by stopping your body from producing an egg each month .
Once you have stopped using the pill, ring or patch, you will probably have a withdrawal bleed. This is like a period but it is because of the effects of the hormones leaving your system.
Some doctors prefer you to wait until after your first ‘natural’ period before trying to get pregnant. This makes it easier for them to know the date of your pregnancy. However, there is no reason why you cannot begin trying to conceive immediately after stopping the pill, ring or patch.
Many women conceive shortly after stopping the pill, ring or patch. Occasionally, it can take several months before your body begins producing an egg each month after stopping these types of birth control.
Does Skipping Your Period On The Pill Affect Fertility
If youre taking the combined contraceptive pill you can skip your period by taking 2 packs back-to-back. Some women choose to take just two packs back-to-back to delay their period for an important occasion. Other take three packs in a row and then have a four or seven-day break, this is known as tricycling. And some women never take a break from their combined contraceptive.
Taking the pill in any of these ways to miss a period, is safe and should have no impact on your fertility. Taking the contraceptive pill should not affect your fertility in any way.
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What Should I Do After Coming Off The Pill
If you stopped the pill because you are planning on trying to conceive, keep in mind your body needs some time to get its hormone balance back on track. While it can be disappointing to not get a positive pregnancy test right away, remember that this is totally normal.
Tracking your cycle is super helpful when trying to get pregnant and, after ditching the pill, it is even more so. Hormonal shifts and slight irregularities in your cycle may make ovulation less predictable, meaning it could be more difficult to conceive.
Additionally, if you went on the pill to manage hormonal imbalance symptoms such as cramps, acne, or heavy periods, the pill could have been masking subfertility issues that could make it more difficult to conceive. In this case, tracking your cycle and testing your hormones is especially important to get to the root of a potential issue.
While an egg can only live for 12 to 24 hours after its released, healthy sperm may survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days. This time period is called your fertile window and its the only time during your cycle when conception is actually possible.
Its important to identify your fertile window in order to accurately time interourse, to ensure the sperm is waiting for the egg once ovulation occurs. The best way to do this is by testing your luteinizing hormone levels with a test like Proov Predict.
Getting Pregnant With An Iud
IUDs are a very effective method of birth control, says Costescu. The copper IUDs failure rate is a mere 0.8 percent, while a hormonal IUD has a failure rate of just 0.2 percent. A copper IUD is immediately effective when placed, and the hormonal type is effective within five days after being placed, he explains. And, since you dont have to do anything after its in place, and youve had a follow-up to make sure it was inserted properly, theres no chance for user error.
The one risk is that over the five-year life of your IUD, there is a three to five percent chance it may be expelled by your body. If someone does notice they suddenly have heavy bleeding with clots with an IUD inside, that could be a sign that the IUDs been expelled, Black explains. If this happens, do a string check to make sure the IUD is still in place if you cant find the string, make an appointment with your health-care provider so they can make sure everything is where it should be and, in the meantime, use backup birth control, such as condoms.
If you suspect youre pregnant, take a home pregnancy test. If its positive, its important to see a health-care provider as soon as possible to get an ultrasound. Its an urgent matter because if you get pregnant with an IUD there is a higher chance that it will be an ectopic pregnancy, which means the embryo has implanted in one of your fallopian tubes rather than in your uterus, which can be dangerous, and needs to be treated right away.
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How Long To Try To Get Pregnant Before Seeing A Specialist
Talk with your doctor if you’re under 35 and haven’t conceived after a year of actively trying, or if you’re over 35 and haven’t conceived within six months.Trusted SourceAmerican College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsInfertility Workup for the Women’s Health SpecialistSee All Sources
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Iud Removal & Pregnancy
Once your IUD is removed, you are no longer protected against pregnancy.To protect yourself against unwanted pregnancy, you can have your doctor insert another IUD immediately after removing your old device, or you can use another form of contraception altogether. You should discuss the various contraception options available to you with your doctor.
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So How Long Does Hormonal Birth Control Stay In Your System
In order to answer this question as precisely as possible, let’s walk through each form of hormonal contraception separately:
- The hormonal IUD: As soon as a hormonal IUD is removed from your body, the hormones are no longer in your system. Expect menstrual cycles and ovulation to normalize within two months after the removal of an IUD.
- The pill and minipill: The hormones from the pill or minipill will leave your system 48 hours after the last pill was taken. Expect your menstrual cycles and ovulation to return to your “normal” within three months after stopping the pill.
- The implant: Clinical trials for Nexplanon, the only birth control implant available in the US, show that pregnancy can happen as quickly as 7-14 days after removing it so that’s likely how long the hormones remain in the body. Expect to resume “normal” cycles within three months of removing the implant.
- The ring: You’re no longer protected against pregnancy after the ring has been removed from the body for 48 hours. Expect menstrual cycles and ovulation to normalize within three months after removing the ring.
- The patch: There’s no protection against pregnancy 48 hours after the patch has been removed. Expect menstrual cycles and ovulation to normalize within three months of removing the patch.
- The shot: The Depo-Provera shot is a single injection designed to protect you against pregnancy for three months . This form of birth control can suppress ovulation for up to 18 months .