How Long After Stopping the Pill Can You Get Pregnant?

Written by meghan slocum
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How Long After Stopping the Pill Can You Get Pregnant?
(Bianca de Blok on

The length of time needed to get pregnant after stopping birth control pills depends on how long it takes for a woman to start ovulating again. For some women, this may happen in as little as two weeks; others may need several months. Once a woman begins ovulating, the likelihood of getting pregnant is the same as if she had never taken the pill.

What Happens When You Stop Taking the Pill

While a woman is taking birth control pills, the pills release hormones that prevent her body from ovulating. Ovulation is the process by which a woman's body releases an egg for fertilisation; by preventing ovulation, the pill prevents pregnancy. When you stop taking the pill, your body is again able to produce the hormones that trigger ovulation.

Shortest Interval Between Stopping the Pill and Pregnancy

Some women will begin ovulating again only two weeks after they stop taking the pill. It is possible, though not very likely, that you could get pregnant during this ovulation if sexual intercourse occurs around the same time. In this case, you would not have a period between coming off of the pill and getting pregnant.

No Danger in Early Conception

Doctors used to believe that getting pregnant immediately after stopping birth control pills led to an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects, but these fears have proven to be unfounded. Today there is no recommended wait time required for the safety of the baby.

Benefit of Waiting

While it may be possible for you to get pregnant very soon after stopping the pill, waiting until you have at least one normal period will help you and your doctor estimate the date of conception and your baby's due date, useful information for monitoring the fetus's development. If you decide to wait to become pregnant, you should use another method of birth control, such as condoms or a diaphragm, in the interim period.

Post-Pill Amenorrhea

Some women experience post-pill amenorrhoea, a condition in which they don't get their period for several months after coming off the pill. While most women quickly begin making their own hormones again after stopping the pill, some women may take a while to resume production. This delay is more likely for women who had irregular periods before starting the pill. If your period hasn't returned within three months, you should get a pregnancy test, as it's possible that you became pregnant during your first ovulation after stopping the pill. If you still haven't your period after six months, consult your doctor.

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