Getting Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control
How long it takes for a woman's full fertility to return after stopping birth control varies for each woman. It also depends on the birth control method she is using. Your ability to get pregnant gradually decreases as you age, starting at age 25. After you stop any form of birth control, you may have a harder time getting pregnant simply because you are older than when you started using birth control. Poor health and irregular periods may also make you less fertile.
- Barrier methods. These include the diaphragm, cervical cap, male condom, female condom, and spermicidal foam, sponge, gel, suppository, and film. You can get pregnant the next time you have sex when you stop using any barrier method.
- Combination hormonal methods. These include pills, skin patches, and vaginal rings. They contain both estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone). You can get pregnant right away after you stop regular-dose or low-dose hormonal birth control. About half of women get pregnant in the first 3 months after stopping the pill. Most women get pregnant within 12 months after stopping the pill. Specific information about how quickly a woman's fertility returns after stopping use of patches or rings isn't available. But experts believe the delay may be similar to or shorter than with pills.
- Progestin-only hormonal methods. These include pills, the implant (such as Nexplanon), and the shot (such as Depo-Provera). With the implant, you can get pregnant as soon as it's removed. It may take 3 to 18 months after your last shot to get pregnant. The progestin-only pill, also called the "mini-pill," doesn't seem to delay fertility. Most women will get pregnant within 6 months after they stop the mini-pill.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs). For both the copper IUD and hormonal IUD, fertility usually returns with the first menstrual cycle following IUD removal.
If you get pregnant shortly after stopping birth control pills, don't worry. Using the pills just before a pregnancy doesn't increase the risks of miscarriage or fetal problems.
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology