Getting pregnant after birth control pills can occur right away or it may take awhile. That’s why understanding how your body works can help set realistic expectations about what’s going to happen.
Here’s some information about different contraceptives and how they affect a woman’s body if you’re wondering how long does it take to get pregnant after birth control.
Popular barrier contraceptives include condoms and diaphragms. They’re one of the most common birth control options that exist today. As the name suggests, barrier contraceptives work by blocking sperm from reaching an egg. Most of us are familiar with external condoms, which cover the penis, but internal condoms that go inside the vagina are also available.
The effectiveness of barrier methods at preventing pregnancy is around 70–85% with typical use. If a couple wants to conceive, they can simply stop using barrier contraceptives, and fertilization will be possible during the next fertile window.
Progestin-only birth control pills
Achieving pregnancy after birth control is possible right away if you were taking progestin-only birth control pills, also called the mini-pill. Depending on where you are in your cycle, it’s possible to get pregnant immediately after you stop taking the mini-pill.
Injectable contraceptives, sometimes referred to as “the shot”, release the hormone progestogen into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. Research shows it is 94% effective at preventing pregnancy. How soon you can get pregnant after stopping birth control can be up to a year or even longer when you use the shot. This is because the body takes a long time to get back to its unmedicated hormonal cycle after using this type of contraceptive. If you only want a temporary birth control with the option to get pregnant right away, the shot may not be the best choice for you.
This type of birth control is made of either plastic or copper and is inserted into the uterus, where it changes the way sperm move so they can’t reach an egg. Intrauterine Devices (IUD) can protect you from conceiving for a long time. A hormonal IUD is made of plastic and can be effective for anywhere from 3–7 years, depending on the brand. The copper IUD can be effective for up to 12 years. If you’re interested in quickly achieving pregnancy after birth control, it’s possible to get pregnant immediately after your doctor removes your IUD.
Implant contraceptives are small plastic rods that go under the skin. They closely resemble a matchstick, can last for 3-5 years, and are more than 99% effective. A woman can choose to have it removed anytime she wants, and she might be able to get pregnant right away, depending on her cycle.
Combined hormonal birth control
Combined hormonal birth control, also known as CHC or the pill, is readily available and is about 91% effective at preventing pregnancy. The pill is taken orally and contains both estrogen and progestin, which prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs. You can simply stop taking the pill if you want to get pregnant. Although it may take a while for your cycle to become regular again, it is possible to get pregnant right away after you stop taking the pill.
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How long after birth control can you get pregnant will also depend on many factors that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Age is an important factor when trying to conceive, since fertility decreases as a woman ages.
- Overall health is also something to consider. Obesity or malnutrition can make it harder to conceive, as can certain medical conditions such as pituitary gland disorders, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and thyroid disorders, among others.
- Your partner’s sperm count can also affect how long it takes to conceive.
- Reproductive health is also a very important factor for couples who want to conceive immediately after birth control. Endometriosis, fallopian tube blockage, pelvic infections and irregular menstruations can also affect how long it takes to get pregnant.
- Lastly, having sex during your fertile days will increase the chances an egg gets fertilized.
When you’re choosing a form of birth control, a visit to the doctor for a checkup and evaluation can be very helpful for determining which birth control is right for you.
If you experience any unusual feelings or symptoms after you stop birth control, you may need to go back to the doctor for professional help. Signs to watch out for include dizziness, headaches, or nausea. Some people can stop taking contraceptives with no problems, but it’s also normal to experience some symptoms or effects when you stop.
A woman’s ovulation cycle after birth control should return to normal immediately after stopping birth control unless it was a shot. You can also ask your obstetrician about how to get pregnant after birth control, and they can provide you with information on expectations, useful tips, and even an evaluation.
Although it’s possible to immediately get pregnant after birth control, most couples don’t conceive right away. However, 85% of couples conceive after a year of trying. After the year, you may want to visit your obstetrician, who can give you guidance or possibly refer you to a fertility specialist.