If you’re trying to conceive, it’s natural to wonder how soon you can get pregnant after stopping contraception. The answer to this question can vary depending on the type of contraception you were using and other factors that may affect your fertility.
In this blog, board-certified OB/GYN Karen Allsup, FACOG, MD, and our Aurora OB/GYN team explore the different types of contraception and how they can impact your ability to conceive as well as some tips for optimizing your chances of getting pregnant.
Hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, patches, injections, and vaginal rings, suppresses ovulation. When you stop using hormonal contraception, it may take some time for your body to resume ovulation.
In some cases, ovulation can take up to several months to return to normal. However, for most women, ovulation returns within 1-3 months after stopping hormonal contraception.
Barrier contraception, such as condoms and diaphragms, prevents sperm from reaching the egg. Unlike hormonal contraception, barrier methods don’t affect ovulation. When you stop using barrier contraception, you can get pregnant immediately.
Intrauterine devices — often called IUDs — are small, T-shaped contraceptive devices inserted into your uterus. There are many brands of IUDs, but only two types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal.
Hormonal IUDs release progestin, which can suppress ovulation, thin your uterus lining, and thicken cervical mucus. When you stop using a hormonal IUD, ovulation may take some time to return to normal. However, for most women, ovulation returns within 1-3 months after the removal of your IUD. This is the same timeframe as the hormone-based pills and patches.
On the other hand, non-hormonal IUDs, such as the copper IUD, don’t affect your ovulation. They work by affecting sperm’s motility. When you remove a non-hormonal IUD, you can get pregnant immediately because your body doesn’t have to adjust to hormonal changes after removal.
It's important to keep in mind that other factors can affect your ability to conceive, regardless of the type of contraception you are using. These factors include:
Fertility declines with age, and it may take longer to conceive as you age. If you’re under 35, fertility treatments are generally discussed after 12 months of trying to conceive. If you’re 35 or older, you can start exploring fertility options after six months of unprotected sex without any conception.
Certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders, can affect your fertility.
Smoking, alcohol consumption, and being overweight or underweight can also impact your fertility.
If you’re trying to conceive after stopping contraception, there are some steps you can take to optimize your chances of getting pregnant:
Use an ovulation predictor kit or keep track of your menstrual cycle to determine when you're ovulating.
Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, reduce stress, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Prenatal pills don’t boost your fertility, but it’s important to start taking them now. Begin taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid before you conceive to help reduce the risk of birth defects, particularly neural tube defects.
If you’re ready to start a family, you should make a preconception consultation with us. Depending on what type of birth control you currently use, we can provide you with tips for stopping (or scheduling an IUD removal) and boosting your fertility.
Schedule your appointment by calling us at 210-547-4700. Don’t forget: you can use our online scheduling tool to book your appointment any time, day or night.