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I'm Ready to Get Pregnant: When Should I Stop Birth Control?

Today, there are lots of contraceptive options to help you plan your future. But what happens when the time comes to start a family (or add to an existing one)? Is it OK to conceive as soon as you stop using birth control, or do you need to wait and give your body some time to “recover”?

At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., and his team help women plan for healthy pregnancies, and that includes knowing when and how to stop birth control. In this blog post, he offers a quick overview of what steps you should take if you’re ready to stop taking birth control and start planning for your healthy pregnancy.

Birth control and pregnancy

Most contraceptives use hormones — estrogen, progesterone, or both — to alter ovulation or help prevent pregnancy in other ways. Once these contraceptives are halted, many women wonder if it’s OK to try to conceive right away or if they should wait until the medication “clears.”

The answer is good news for those eager to conceive: Data shows it’s perfectly OK to try to conceive right after you stop taking birth control, although depending where you are in your cycle, it might take a little longer to get pregnant.

That begs the next question: How long will it take to conceive? With hormonal methods like the pill, patch, or ring, it’s possible to become pregnant right after you stop using the contraceptive, depending where you are in your cycle.

But it’s not uncommon for it to take longer — sometimes several months as your menstrual cycle returns to normal. A recent meta-analysis shows about 83% of women become pregnant within a year after stopping birth control, regardless of whether they use a hormonal method of birth control or a nonhormonal method, like the copper intrauterine device (IUD).

Possible exception

While most birth control methods allow you to become pregnant right away or soon after you stop using them, there is one potential exception. Birth control shots are given once every three months in most cases, and it takes about four months for the effect of the shot to completely wear off. If you’ve been having contraceptive injections, it might be several months before you can conceive.

Prepare for your healthy pregnancy

Stopping birth control is certainly an important part of preparing for pregnancy, but there are other steps you should take, too, to make sure you’re as ready as you can be for one of the biggest and most important journeys of your life.

Adopting a healthy diet, losing extra pounds, and incorporating daily exercise can help prepare your body for the rigors of pregnancy and delivery. Stopping smoking and eliminating alcohol are essential for the healthy development of your baby.

Prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements can help ensure your nutrition is optimized, too. Many women begin taking these vitamins as soon as they want to conceive or even earlier.

Learn how we can help

Meeting with Dr. Taylor before getting pregnant is one of the best ways to make sure you and your baby stay healthy all the way through labor and delivery. To schedule a prepregnancy visit, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today.

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