Getting pregnant after taking the pill
It’s estimated that over 3 million women in the UK take oral contraceptives such as the combined pill and mini pill. Lots of women take the contraceptive pill for many years. But what happens when you come off the pill, can you get pregnant straight away? Or does the pill affect your fertility? We’re here to answer some of these questions and some of the other questions we get a lot when it comes to contraception and fertility.
Does the pill affect your fertility?
There is no evidence to suggest that taking the pill affects fertility. There is also no evidence to suggest that after coming off the pill there will be a delay in returning to fertility.
Many women will have a period 2-4 weeks after coming off the pill. Your first period after coming off the pill is a withdrawal bleed. After this your next period will be a natural one.
Some women find that after coming off the pill their periods are irregular. This is nothing to worry about, it can take up to 3 months for your natural cycle to return. But don’t forget, if you naturally have irregular periods, taking the pill can hide this. So, once you stop taking the pill your irregular periods may return.
Does skipping your period on the pill affect fertility?
If you’re taking the combined contraceptive pill you can skip your period by taking 2 packs back-to-back. Some women choose to take just 2 packs back-to-back to delay their period for an important occasion. Other take 3 packs in a row and then have a 4 or 7-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.
Does the morning after pill affect your fertility?
There is no evidence to suggest that taking the morning after pill will affect your fertility. In fact, the WHO has claimed that any media coverage suggesting that taking the morning affect pill affects fertility is factually incorrect.
How soon can you get pregnant after stopping the pill?
The contraceptive pill stops your body from ovulating, but as soon you stop taking the pill this process kicks back into action. So it is possible to get pregnant as soon as you come off the pill.
As many as 84 out of 100 of couples will get pregnant within a year starting to have regular sex without contraception. These numbers vary depending on your age, but it’s safe to say, if you don’t want to get pregnant and you’re not on the pill, you’ll need to use another form of contraception.
Can you get pregnant right after stopping the pill?
As we’ve already discussed it can take up to 3 months for your body to get back to its normal cycle. But this doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant in those first 3 months if you don’t use another form of contraception.
Don’t forget that clinicians advise you use condoms when having sex if:
- you miss 2 or more consecutive combined pills
- you miss a mini pill and you’re outside of your window (3 hours for most mini pills, 12 hours for Cerazette and Cerelle).
This shows us just how quickly you might be able to get pregnant.
So, if you stop taking your pill and you don’t want to get pregnant, please remember to use condoms or another form of contraception.
How long after stopping the pill will I ovulate?
After stopping the pill, you could ovulate as soon as 48 hours later. Most women won’t have a period for 2-4 weeks after stopping, but you could still get pregnant in this time.
As the first period after stopping the pill is a withdrawal bleed and it’s not until the second that you have a natural period, the NHS advises not trying to get pregnant until after this period. This is to allow your body time to get back to its natural cycle. Plus, it gives you time to make lifestyle changes to get your body in the best physical condition for pregnancy. This might include taking folic acid supplements, quitting smoking, eating a more balanced diet, and cutting down on alcohol.
What are the chances of getting pregnant first month off birth control pill?
The NHS advises that of women who are having regular sex:
- aged 19 to 26, 92% will conceive after 1 year and 98% after 2 years
- aged 35 to 39, 82% will conceive after 1 year and 90% after 2 years
As soon as you come off the pill there is a chance you will become pregnant. In fact, one study has suggested that as many as 40% of women who come of the pill will have a period or get pregnant in the first month. This goes up to 99% in 3 months.
If you don’t want to get pregnant when you come off the pill, you will need to use another form of contraception such as condoms.