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How To Get Pregnant After The Pill And Other Birth Control

The Pill

The birth control pill prevents a pregnancy by preventing ovulation, and without ovulating you cannot get pregnant. You need to ovulate if you want to get pregnant. So if you are on the birth control pill, the first step in trying to get pregnant is to stop the pill.  Preferably, if you want to get pregnant and you have been on the pill, you wait until the end of the birth control pill pack and then just don't start with the new pack. 

You do not have to wait a certain period of time after stopping the pill in order to have a safe pregnancy. It is safe to get pregnant as soon as you have stopped the pill. However, it may take some time after stopping the pill before ovulation begins.  Some women may ovulate within 1-2 weeks after stopping the pill, while in others it could take several months. Ovulation may be delayed or may not happen for a long time if you had started the pill initially because your periods were irregular and you already had problems with ovulation.

No Period After The PillBirth Control Pill

Missing your period is also called amenorrhea and the very first thing that comes to mind when you don’t have your period if you could be pregnant. If you don’t get your period for some time after stopping the pill chances are that you are either pregnant (do a pregnancy test!) or you did not ovulate. Even without getting your period first there might be a chance you are pregnant. Taking a pregnancy test will pretty much tell you whether your are pregnant or not. A negative pregnancy test, especially if it’s repeated over a week or so, usually means that you are not pregnant.

But is there anything wrong if your period hasn’t come for 2-3 months after stopping the pill? And when should you see your doctor? You can be reassured that the sort of delay you're experiencing after going off the pill is quite common and here's what's going on:

Combined contraceptives, containing both estrogen and progesterone, are the most commonly used oral contraceptives. They prevent ovulation by maintaining certain hormone levels and suppressing other natural hormones that would otherwise stimulate the ovaries to ripen and release an egg. By taking combined oral contraceptives, you prevent an egg from developing, or being released, for that cycle.

While a woman is on the pill, the menstrual period doesn't come - as it usually does, as a result of ovulation - but because of the sudden decrease in hormone levels during the one week per month when the pills she takes are placebos, when they don’t contain any hormones.

Because their cycle is controlled by the pills, women taking oral contraceptives are used to getting regular menstrual periods every 28 days.

When you stop taking the pill entirely, the constant hormone level that suppresses ovulation stops. Your body has to start its own hormone production and may sometimes need some time to regain its normal rhythm. The ovary itself has to get ready so that an egg can mature and can be released.

While there are several hundred thousand eggs in the ovaries ready to mature, they may need some time before your first new ovulation.

Your regular menstrual period is usually the result of ovulation, not the other way around.

Menstrual bleeding usually results from a decrease in natural hormone levels about 14 days after the ovulation, if you're not pregnant. The average woman takes one month to three months to start ovulating again after stopping the pill. Sometimes ovulation may occur sooner; other times, it may take longer. So the first sign that your ovulation has returned is usually the reappearance of your regular menstrual cycle, a couple of weeks after ovulation.

"Post-pill amenorrhea," the absence of a menstrual period after you stop the pill, is seen in about one in 30 women after they stop the pill. Until you start menstruating regularly, it's going to be difficult to tell exactly when you've ovulated, unless you start checking for other signs of ovulation.

To improve your chances of predicting the day of ovulation, you may want to do the following:

  • Use a basal body temperature thermometer and create a temperature chart
  • Check your cervical mucus for signs of ovulation
  • Add an ovulation-prediction kit (OPK)

You might want to have sex regularly, once a day or every other day, around the time you think you might be ovulating or when the ovulation-prediction kit shows you are about to ovulate, just to make sure you don't miss the important day of ovulation.

If your menstrual period doesn't return, or if it continues to remain very irregular for several months, that may be a sign that you haven't started ovulating regularly yet.

IUD - Intrauterine Device

If you have an IUD, an intrauterine device, and you want to get pregnant then the only thing to do is to have it removed. This is usually a quick and painless process in the doctor's office. There are 2 different IUDs on the market, a copper-containing IUD and a hormone-containing IUD. No matter which one you have, as soon as it has been removed it is safe to get pregnant. It may take a little longer to ovulate after the hormone-containing IUD, but pregnancy can happen very quickly after the IUD.

If your menstrual cycle has not returned by three months, or more, after you stop the pill, you probably want to see your Ob-Gyn and discuss what to do next.

7 Posts
By: saudia On: Aug 24, 2008  12:58PM

I was on the Depo-Provera shot for about 5 years. Prior to that I was on the Pill for about 7 years. Once I discontinued the Depo shots, I did not have a period for 2 years (25 months). SInce that time - its now been about 2 years since my first post-Depo period - I have been very inconsistent, sometimes skipping a period, sometimes 4 weeks between, sometimes 6-8 weeks in between. Is this normal when coming off being on birth control for this long? I'm just curious. My husband and I are both 31, and just starting TCC. Thanks for any thoughts- .

1 Posts
By: robinbalcom On: Sep 25, 2008  10:40AM

I had my first child in 2005 and right after I went on the pill. I stop taking the pill about 8 months ago on getting my period twice in that time. Is that normal? Am I or will I ovulate naturally? Because my husband and I would like to try for another baby soon.

5 Posts
By: jane06sq On: Jan 13, 2009  10:54AM

You can use special computer programs to find the days when you are not fertile taking into account possible variations in your menstrual cycle. I've used one of such programs - "Advanced Woman Calendar" for 3 month. It supports Basal Body Temperature tracking. You can enter your temperature and program will give you all suggestions. You can read about it at Also you can try another program - "Gegamon Menstrual Calendar".

1 Posts
By: jmabley On: Jul 2, 2009  9:29PM

My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for 3 years and since I have gone off of the birth control pill I have been getting my menstral cycle less and less, actually I have only had it ONCE in the last year. My doctor doesn't know what to tell me because all the test he has done tells him that I a normal and have nothing to worry about when it comes to hormone levels and such. But if everything states to be normal then should I not be getting a regular cycle? I don't know what to do!

7 Posts
By: DIVELEY On: Jul 13, 2009  6:50AM

I recently went off the pill in March 2009 after taking it for 10 years. After not getting a period in April, I went to my obgyn to make sure everything was ok and I was healthy in case we got pregnant quickly. They ran a blood test and told me I had a high fsh level. After visiting a fertility specialist, I was told that I would most likely not have children with my own eggs and that the pill wouldnt cause this high reading. My new obgyn told me that the reading could definetely be causing the high fsh reading and that my body hasnt even had time to recover from taking the pill for so long. Has anyone else experience anything like this after going off the pill? I am still hoping my body will return to normal and I can have children. Early menopause doesnt run in my family.

1 Posts
By: leopardbaby On: Jul 30, 2009  10:54AM

Hi Diveley, I, too, just went off the pill in May 2009 after using it for 13 years. I was able to ovulate the first month, but my luteal phase is much much too short (3 days) to support a pregnancy. I have been using the book Taking Charge of your Fertility, which I recommend to you. From what I've seen we should expect it to take 4-12 months to become normal after the pill. Bummer. But if you can chart your cycles you will feel more in control of the situation, and it can help to pinpoint any problems when sharing them with your doc. I'm very frustrated myself, and trying to tell myself to just wait a few more cycles for my body to return to normal. I have learned that the pill can cause a B6 deficiency (it helps modulate hormones) so I have been trying 100mg this past month. Helped my ovulation, but not my LP yet. Just a suggestion. Start charting and don't give up hope! Good luck!

1 Posts
By: tanesha On: Aug 5, 2009  6:11PM

hi everyone. I have been trying to conceive since January of this year "2009" and still no luck. I stopped taking my birth control January 10th. I have read many articles from doctors saying that it could take up to 12 months but i am starting to get worried now. i would be devastated if i can not conceive. I was on Depo for 4 years then i switched to birth control pills for another 4 years. I need some answers. I have never had any pregnacy before, miscarriage, surgury, disease or injury. I am confused on why it is taking me so long. Good Luck everyone

7 Posts
By: DIVELEY On: Oct 1, 2009  6:06AM

Thanks leopardbaby, I have that book and have been reading it. I have had so many people suggest that book to me and would recommend it to anyone in this situation. Also, the infertility cure is also a great book about herbal remedies. since my last post I have had positive changes. I am taking progesterone daily and have had two spotting cycles now and increasingly changing CM. I had the EWCM inbetween the two episodes of spotting so I am hoping this is a good sign. I havent been taking my waking temp because I get up a bunch at night and can never get good results. I go in tomorrow for new blood tests and am praying my FSH number has changed and that I can start taking clomid. Since going off BC in March 2009, all of my friends have gotten pregnant and this is really killing me. Tanesha - dont get frustrated. It can take up to 24 months to get back to normal. I have read that using a natural progesterone cream can help in restoring your body after going of BC. I have been taking natural progesterone supplements to restore a hormonal balance in my body for three months and I am just now seeing signs of a cycle. I was on BC for a long time too. Just wondering, has anyone had bloodtests done after not getting their period when they got off BC? If so, do you know what your FSH number was? Scary thing is that doctors dont know what to expect in blood test readings when going off the pill because everyone's body is different.

7 Posts
By: DIVELEY On: Oct 1, 2009  6:07AM

Also, accupuncture for fertility has helped me to relax and feel better about waiting for my body to start working again.

1 Posts
By: QOL On: Oct 6, 2009  1:04AM

I really need some answers. Ive been off the pill now for nearly 2 and a half years and still not pregnant. I have not been to my doctor for anything yet as I was hoping to just concieve naturally. Does anyone know of anyone who has been in a similar situation and what happened? Or can anyone give me any advice? Thanks!!

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