Planning Your Pregnancy: When Should I Stop Using Birth Control? 

If you’re using birth control and hoping to have a baby soon, you’ve probably thought about when to stop. But when is the right time to end your birth control method? How long should you wait to start trying? How long could it take to conceive?

We asked Michelle Monson, MD, OB-GYN at Fairview Clinics – Elk River and Fairview Clinics – Maple Grove for her advice.

When to stop

While most birth control can be discontinued as soon as a couple is ready to start trying to conceive, your birth control method needs to be taken into account.

“For women on the pill, the ring or the patch, it’s generally recommended that you complete a cycle before stopping to help prevent irregular bleeding,” says Dr. Monson.

Contraceptive implants such as Nexplanon or intrauterine devices (IUD) can be removed at any time. Injections such as Depo Provera can be stopped when a couple is ready.

When to start trying

Since most birth control interrupts natural ovulation, there are many ideas about when you can start trying to conceive. Most are not true.

“Some women think they have to wait for months after stopping birth control before they start trying to get pregnant,” says Dr. Monson. “That’s not the case.”

The possibility of conception does vary based on the birth control method you were using.

  • For women on the pill, the ring or the patch, ovulation typically resumes within two weeks to a few months.
  • For women using a contraceptive implant like Nexplanon, ovulation resumes in three to four weeks in most cases.
  • Fertility may be delayed if you are taking Depo Provera injections. About 50 percent of women using Depo Provera will conceive after 10 months of the last injection.
  • Couples using an IUD can generally try immediately after removal. Talk with your doctor about your IUD to find out more.

When to expect to be expecting

If you’re ready to end your birth control and start trying to conceive, Dr. Monson says it’s helpful to know that things don’t typically happen right away.

“I like my patients to know that it can take up to a year to get pregnant,” Dr. Monson. “Most women will get pregnant in the first six months, but it can take a year.”

Dr. Monson also suggests a preconception checkup with your doctor to help identify factors that could affect conception and allow you to increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

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