Skip to main content
BUY PREGNANCY TESTS & OVULATION TESTS

How Soon Can You Get Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control?

How Soon Can You Get Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control?

A significant number of women in Australia aged between 15 and 49 use some kind of birth control to prevent pregnancy when having unprotected sex. Most women prefer using a hormonal contraceptive, and that’s why many people today, including those who want to start using birth control, wish to know how these contraceptives affect the body or how long they stay in the body.

Generally, you should give your body after three months to return to normal once you start using contraceptives. The long-acting reversible options such as hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) usually promise a fertility return immediately. Still, contraceptives that contain estrogen-like pills can take up to three months, while the Depo-Provera shot takes 18 months.

In this post, we shall explain how long the different kinds of hormonal birth control linger in the body to help you make a smart decision about reproductive health before you start taking any contraceptives. So whether you are in Australia or other parts of the globe, this post will be helpful if you want to get pregnant after being on contraceptives and birth control. 

 How Long Does It Take Birth Control To Leave Your System?
How Long Does It Take Birth Control To Leave Your System?

How does birth control work?

The first step to understanding how contraceptives work is to take a step back to know how hormonal birth control works when you want to prevent pregnancy. In recent years, birth control options have been increasing.  They come in various sizes and shapes, so users need to pick the option that suits them best. 

We will focus on hormonal contraception (and not the barrier techniques such as non-hormonal IUDs and condoms) for this post. The contraceptives use synthetic hormones to create a reaction in the body that provides pregnancy.  It’s important to note that the responses vary slightly depending on the kind of contraceptive one is using.

Birth control pills (also known as the combined oral contraceptive or combination pill), implants, shots (the injection), and rings all work by:

The progestin-only pill or mini-pill with norethindrone (a type of progestin) does not suppress ovulation in all users because the progestin dose is not high enough. To prevent pregnancy, the pill thickens the cervical mucus and prevents the endometrium from thickening.  Women can also get newer mini-pills with progestin, and drospirenone, which can suppress ovulation.

The hormonal IUD mainly works by ensuring the cervical mucus is thickened and can also prevent uterine lining thickening. Like the mini-pill, the IUD might suppress ovulation in a few people, depending on the progestin dose.

Getting Pregnant After You Stop Birth Control
Getting Pregnant After You Stop Birth Control

How long will hormonal contraceptives linger in the system?

To answer this question more precisely, we will need to take a look at each kind of hormonal birth control option separately:

The pill & mini-pill – The hormones in the mini pill or pill can leave your body 48 hours after taking the last pill.  So, expect your cycle and ovulation to resume in 3 months after you stop taking it.

The hormonal IUD – Immediately you remove a hormonal IUD from your body, the hormones that were being released will not be available anymore. This means there’ll no longer be in your system, so you should expect to get back to your menstrual cycle and ovulation in two months after IUD removal.

Vagina ring – The moment you remove the ring and stay for 48 hours, you will no longer be protected from pregnancy if you take part in unprotected sex. You should expect the cycle and ovulation to go back to normal within three months after ring removal.

Nexplanon implant – The current clinical trials for the common birth control implant, Nexplanon, show that you can get pregnant within 7 to 14 days after its removal. This means that the hormones will remain in the body for a short time, and you should expect to get back to your normal cycle in 3 months following the implant removal.

Contraceptive patch – You will not be protected against pregnancy 48 hours after removing your patch. You can expect to ovulate and get back to your menstrual cycle within three months after the patch is removed.

Depo shotDepo-Provera is a single injection that’s usually designed to protect women against pregnancy for a specific period of months (3 months, to be precise). This means the hormones will be out of your system after this period lapses. This kind of birth control can suppress ovulation for 18 months, but people with a low body fat percentage may ovulate earlier.

Type of birth controlThe duration it stays in the bodyTime before cycle and ovulation resumes
Pill and mini-pillProtective 48 hours after takingUp to 3 months
Hormonal IUDUntil its removalUp to 2 months
RingProtective 48 hours after removalUp to 3 months
ImplantProtective 7 to14 days after removalUp to 3 months
PatchProtective 48 hours after removalUp to 3 months
ShotProtective for 3 months after injectionUp to 18 months

 

Can you get pregnant right after stopping the pill?
Can you get pregnant right after stopping the pill?

Do you need to clear hormonal birth control from your system before you can conceive?

If you are ready to get pregnant, the first step is to stop taking your contraceptives. By now, we already know different birth control options and the specific amount of time (48 hours) they need to leave the body. But does that mean that the body will not be ready for pregnancy within these hours if you have stopped using birth control?

All kinds of contraceptives work by changing your menstrual cycle, and you will need an adjustment period of about 90 days so your normal cycle can return. However, this is not caused by lingering birth control hormones in your system. The 90 days, which time is the estimated period it takes for the ovarian follicle (that develops and releases eggs in the ovary) to actively develop an egg and prepare it for ovulation. Within the 90 days, your body will have adequate time to ovulate the egg that has not been affected by the synthetic hormones you took to prevent pregnancy.

Experts say that many patients stop using the oral contraceptive pill or other birth control and conceive right away. Therefore, don’t assume that you cannot conceive before the 90 days wait period. The 90 days is just a general adjustment period that the body needs for the menstrual cycle to return to normal, but you may not necessarily have to wait that long.

Suppose your cycle does not start within the 3-month wait period after you stop birth control. In that case, it may signify that you have an underlying issue managed by the birth control, such as a Thyroid condition or polycystic ovarian syndrome. When you face this problem, be sure to seek medical attention from a qualified health care provider to know what is really going on. The only exception to this 90-day wait period is if you are transitioning from the shot (Depo-Provera). The shot is the only kind of birth control that requires up to 18 months for the menstrual cycle to return.

No matter the kind of birth control you are using, you will not need to take anything or participate in any activity to cleanse the body. The synthetic hormones that were introduced into your body by the contraceptives will leave on their own.

How long will it take to conceive after you stop hormonal birth control?

Researchers conducted a systematic review in 2018 to determine if women were likely to get pregnant within 12 months after stopping hormonal contraceptive use. They concluded that:

  • Ex-oral contraceptive users – 87.4% pregnant in12 months
  • Ex-shot users- 77.4% pregnant within 12 months
  • Ex-hormonal IUD users – 84.75% pregnant in 12 months
  • Ex-implant users – 74.7% pregnant within 12 months

Although there are minimal statistics on ex-ring and ex-patch users, you should expect similar results.

How long after stopping the pill do you ovulate?
How long after stopping the pill do you ovulate?

Conclusion 

Whether you intend to change or discontinue your hormonal birth control, it’s important to remember that most kinds of contraceptives will leave the system in about two days. If your body takes over 90 days to get back to its original pre-birth control state, you should consult your healthcare provider to see if an underlying condition is affecting your menstrual cycle. The only kind of birth control method that can cause this kind of delay (more than the 90-day wait period) is the Depo-Provera shot.

Regardless of the reasons behind stopping birth control usage, always know that Fertility2Family is here to assist you. We can reacquaint you with your menstrual cycle as the body adjusts to operating without the synthetic hormones. The at-home tests we provide will help you understand the post-birth control journey your body has to take to get back to regular ovulation and cycle. For instance, you can use the ovulation test to track the levels of the luteinising hormone and determine when the surges begin to get in sync with the menstrual cycle.