Ditching the pill and worried about how quickly a bun might pop up in your oven? Whether you’re ready to get preggo ASAP or just moving on to a different kind of birth control, the idea of pregnancy might be looming over your head.
What goes down when you stop the pill might depend on where you are in your cycle when you stop using it.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting pregnant after stopping the pill — and how to avoid pregnancy if you’re switching to a different birth control method.
If you finish your current pack of pills and don’t start a new one, you may get pregnant once your period returns to its normal cycle. How long can that take? Periods can be irregular for up to 3 months after stopping the pill.
If you ditch the pill right smack dab in the middle of your pack, your ovulation could restart sooner. This means you might get pregnant sooner — but it’s far from a definite fact.
So can you preggo your eggo on the pill?
Birth control pills are about 99 percent effective with “perfect use” (an unending perfect streak of taking the pill at the same time every day).
But let’s say you’re not so perfect (last we checked, most of us aren’t). In that case, your usage may fall into a category called “typical use,” the most common type of use. In that case, the pill is 91 percent effective.
Missing a dose or forgetting to start a new pack of pills means your chance of accidental pregnancy increases.
There are tons of different types of pills with varying levels of hormones. Combination pills are the most common type — they contain both estrogen and progestin.
Again, when taken perfectly (or at least typically), combo pills protect you from pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg during ovulation while also creating mucus barriers to keep that sperm away from the egg.
But like we said, there are SO many pills, and the rate of getting preggo after dropping these pills varies depending on the type of combo pill you’re using.
- includes 3 weeks of active pills
- pregnancy possible the next month, after your period
- pregnancy possible if you miss a dose in the middle of the pack
- 84 active pills in a row — one period every 3 months
- can take longer for your cycles to return to normal
- pregnancy still possible in as little as 1 month
Unlike combo pills, these contain only the hormone progestin, and the pack is all “active” pills, no placebos. Also called “minipills,” these work by changing ovulation and the lining of your uterus and cervix.
Since they don’t have estrogen, their effectiveness is a little lower. In fact, about 13 out of every 100 people taking these pills will still get pregnant each year.
Add this all together and it means pregnancy after stopping progestin-only pills is more likely.
Psst… Got babies on the brain?
If you’re ready to conceive, it’s probably best to wean off the pill first, so chat with your doctor.
Even though getting your period back to normal takes some time, pregnancy in the first month after stopping the pill is still possible. It’s good news if that’s what you’re aiming for — but bad news if you’re simply looking to switch birth control methods.
Here are some ways to prevent pregnancy while you make the switch:
Ah, old reliable… our faithful friend, the condom. No way you’ve forgotten the condom-over-the-banana visual from school, but here’s a reminder of the basics.
Condoms come in both male and female versions. They stop sperm from entering the uterus, and they’re even more effective when used with spermicide.
Never use both male and female condoms at the same time — this can boost the risk of tearing.
These gel or cream products are sperm-battlers. They contain the sperm-killing chemical nonoxylnon-9. You can use spermicide on its own, but it’s more effective when combined with a barrier method like condoms.
A diaphragm is quite literally a sperm blocker. It’s designed only for vaginas and must be positioned carefully inside the vagina to act as a barrier in front of the cervix.
A diaphragm must be used with spermicide to work successfully and must stay in place for at least 6 hours after sex (unlike condoms). When the 6 hours are up, you must take it out within the next 18 hours.
These are basically foam constructs for the vag to kill those sperm. They come preloaded with spermicide and must be inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix.
Like a diaphragm, a sponge must stay put for at least 6 hours after intercourse. After that, you need to remove it within 30 hours.
It’s a total myth that taking the pill effs with your fertility. The truth is, the pill doesn’t impact your fertility, only the rate of which you get pregnant after stopping the pill.
Even though your period may take a few months to return to business as usual, you can get pregnant during the first period after you’ve stopped the pill or months later as your cycle gets back on track.
Again, how you’ve stopped taking the pill — middle of the pack versus end of the pack — might affect when you will get pregnant. For the sake of normalizing your cycle, it’s ideal to finish the pack and let your bod go through the motions to get back on track.
A 2013 study found that participants who used birth control pills longer were more likely to get pregnant than those who used them for a shorter time.
The same study found that those who had started using birth control pills before age 21 were less likely to get pregnant than those who started after age 21. (Researchers have a hunch this is because younger people starting birth control pills may have more irregular cycles than those starting the pill later.)
Your doc is your go-to for all things healthy conception. Make an appointment to chat about the best outcomes for conception after coming off the pill. While you’re there, consider talking to your doc about prenatal vitamins before conception too.
Your doc can also throw in some other tips for pregnancy (dietary habits, avoiding booze, exercise tips, etc.).
- If you’ve already stopped the pill or are thinking about it, it’s probably best to chat with your doctor.
- Pregnancy is possible while on the pill and even one cycle after stopping the pill, but it may take a few months for your period to get “back to normal” before you conceive.
- Your likelihood of conception may also vary depending on the type of pill you’re taking and where in your cycle you stopped.
- If you’re simply looking to switch birth control methods, be sure to refresh yourself on all the *ins and outs* of the various methods. You could get pregnant while making the switch.