Q: Can I get pregnant after IUD removal?

A: Some women spend many years on birth control because they want to wait until the perfect time to get pregnant. Once they have decided that time has arrived they can often be impatient for the pregnancy to begin. While it is impossible to predict exactly when you will get pregnant there are a few norms to be aware of so you will be able to have realistic expectations.

You can begin trying to conceive as soon as you stop taking your birth control.  However, some doctors recommend using an alternative form of birth control until you have had one normal cycle just to make dating the pregnancy easier. Additionally, in the past it was thought there could be negative consequences to the fetus if one became pregnant too soon after going off birth control. More recent studies show there is little to no evidence to support this.

The IUD acts locally on the uterus and the fallopian tube preventing pregnancy. It does not have an effect on ovulation. After removal of the IUD, you should be able to get pregnant similarly to before having had the IUD.

However, in general there's only a 20-25% chance each month of getting pregnant anyway, even if you do everything right. If you have a regular menstrual cycle, you should see your doctor if you haven't been able to get pregnant after six to nine months. However, if your cycle is irregular, you should discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.

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