You may have been using birth control for years, but now you’re trying for a baby, you might be wondering when to stop birth control before getting pregnant?
In this post, we take a look at when you should stop, how long it takes to conceive once you stop and discuss factors that limit your chances, even when you’ve stopped birth control.
When To Stop Birth Control Before Getting Pregnant
It might sound obvious but as soon as you plan on trying for a baby you should stop your birth control.
Yet, while it’s true that it’s possible to fall pregnant within weeks of stopping your birth control, this isn’t always the case.
This is where you need to understand a little bit more about how birth control works.
A Quick Overview on Birth Control
Birth control works to stop your body from ovulating, the process of your body releasing an egg.
With no egg available for the sperm to fertilize, it’s impossible for conception to occur.
Different Birth Control Methods Affects How Long It Takes To Get Pregnant
Once you stop birth control, your body will begin to release eggs again meaning fertility can take place.
In reality though, this isn’t always the case and will depend on the type of birth control you’ve been using.
Let’s take a look at them now…
- Barrier methods. If you and your partner have been using condoms, female condoms, a diaphragm or spermicide as birth control then you didn’t lose any fertility in the first place, you prevented the sperm from reaching the egg. This is good new as your body should be fertile right away.
- Natural methods. Natural birth control involves you keeping track of the most fertile points in your cycle and usually avoiding sex around those dates. Again, like with condoms, you never lost your any fertility, you reduced the odds of sperm fertilizing the egg.
Combination birth control. Combination birth control includes your combination birth control pill, NuvaRing or Patch and work by preventing your body from ovulating.
You might have head that it can take 3 months for fertility to return after stopping combination birth control, this is actually only partly true. Ovulation can happen within weeks, making pregnancy possible.
- IUDs. There are two main types of IUD, hormonal IUDs and copper, non hormonal IUDs. When you decide to stop birth control, both can be removed by a doctor and once taken out will see your fertility return within a month.
- Nexplanon. Nexplanon is a progestin-only implant that releases progestin over a three-year period. Like an IUD, it can be removed at any time and , menstrual cycles returned to normal within three months.
Depo Provera. Of all the birth control methods on our list, Depo Provera injections have the longest fertility recovery time – up to a year.
Why does this take so long? It’s all to do with the hormone medroxyprogesterone acetate which takes a while for your body to remove from your bloodstream.
Sidenote: If you’re looking for a great book to read before getting pregnant, checkout “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler, MPH.
Studies into Fertility Once Birth Control is Stopped
There have been many well documented studies into the pregnancy within one year after stopping birth control based on the different contraceptive methods.
Below, the data shows how fertility return rates..
|Method||% Pregnant Within 1 Year|
|Birth Control Pill||72%-94%|
|Condom / Barrier||91%|
|Natural Family Planning||92%|
The Bottom Line
Once you start to plan for a baby, don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins as it’s never too early to start them.
As you’ve seen above, most methods will see your fertility return within a month but it can then take another few months for you to conceive.
This means the best time when to stop birth control before getting pregnant is as soon as you decide to try for a baby.
Ellen Fetters, is a former Children's and Young People's Nursing Practice with an BSc from the University of Sunderland. After completing her SCPHN - HV she then worked as a Health Visitor within the local community.
In 2017 Ellen left nursing to launch Parenting Click, an online parenting resource aimed at creating happier families through better parenting.
She lives with her husband, beautiful baby girl, and two darling dogs. She spends her free time writing, running and learning how to become a better parent.