Both Depo-Provera injections and contraceptive pills are forms of hormonal birth control. These medications not only prevent pregnancy, but they also regulate your balance of progesterone and oestrogen during the menstrual cycle. If you have been taking either the Depo-Provera shot or the contraceptive pill, you will need to stop taking these medications and allow your menstrual cycles to return to normal before trying to get pregnant.
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Stop taking the contraceptive pill or your Depo-Provera injections. These may be discontinued at any point in your cycle. When you stop the contraceptive pill, you may experience a withdrawal bleed, in which your uterine lining sheds much like a menstrual period. The first day of your withdrawal bleed should be counted as the first day of your menstrual cycle for charting purposes.
Wait for your menstrual cycles to return to a normal length. When coming off of the contraceptive pill this can take up to three months as the hormone balance is re-established. For users of Depo-Provera, the process can be significantly longer, since the hormones must gradually decline in order for the body's natural hormone balance to be reasserted. A normal cycle will vary from woman to woman; it should include a follicular, pre-ovulation phase of approximately 14 days and a luteal, post-ovulation phase of 10 days or more. Cycles that do not establish a rough pattern after six months or that have short phases may indicate an ongoing problem and you should consult your doctor.
Chart your menstrual cycles. This will help you determine whether or not your cycles have returned to normal and pinpoint your most fertile days in order for you to become pregnant. Using a calendar or chart, mark the first day of your menstrual cycle or withdrawal bleed as cycle day one. Using a basal body temperature thermometer, take your temperature every morning before rising, after at least four hours of unbroken sleep. Record this temperature on your chart. Also begin charting your cervical signs, recording the position, texture, and type of mucus you are producing.
To determine when ovulation occurs, you may use natural signs such as your cervical mucus and position or a commercial ovulation predictor kit. At ovulation, your cervix will be soft in texture, high in the vaginal canal, and open. The mucus will be clear, abundant, and easily stretched--this is fertile cervical mucus, which will aid the sperm in passing through the cervix into the uterus. These signs may be visible for a few days before and after ovulation, so it is best to consider yourself fertile on each day these signs are present.
Ovulation may be confirmed by your basal body temperature. Your temperature will rise after ovulation; three days of sustained temperature rises of at least .4 of a degree will confirm that you ovulated. If you do not see this thermal shift, your cycle may be anovulatory, meaning that you didn't ovulate, and you should consult your doctor to determine whether you are ovulating.
Have intercourse on the days indicated as fertile by your cervical signs and ovulation predictor kit. This will give you the best chance of becoming pregnant.
Continue charting your cycle after ovulation until your menstrual period. This phase of your cycle is the luteal phase, where your basal body temperature should remain elevated. The luteal phase averages from 10-14 days in a normal cycle; shorter luteal phases may prevent a fertilised egg from implanting properly. This is called luteal phase defect and can be treated by a doctor using progesterone supplements. If after 14 days your menstrual cycle does not begin and your basal body temperature remains elevated, you may be pregnant.
Tips and warnings
- Some women choose to use a barrier method of birth control until their menstrual cycles normalise. This can make it easier to determine a date of conception for a pregnancy.
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