You’ve decided you’re ready to have a baby and first things first; it’s time to stop using contraception. Whether you’re on the pill, having injections or using an implant or coil, here’s how to come off your contraception safely.
Coming off the pill
If you are taking the combined pill it’s best to wait until the end of your current packet. That way you will get a withdrawal bleed as usual and your next bleed will be a proper period. If you stop in the middle of a packet, you may have some irregular bleeding for a while.
If you are taking the mini (progesterone only) pill, you can stop whenever you like.
When you come off the pill, your periods could start any time from a couple of weeks to a few months later – it may be a while before they’re regular again. You’ll probably get some light bleeding for a few days, but this isn’t a period, it’s just normal withdrawal bleeding which is to be expected.
You’ll be fertile soon after you stop, when the hormones have left your system. It is recommend you have at least one proper period before you start trying for a baby. This is mainly because it allows your doctor to calculate an accurate due date. But don’t worry if you get pregnant straight away, it’s just great news!
Removing your implant
If your use the implant or implanton as a form of contraception, you’ll need to have it removed by your GP. But it should come out easily – hopefully just with a tiny cut, done under local anaesthetic (just like how you got it in). There’s a chance it’ll be hard to find, but a quick scan will soon locate it.
You should be fertile straight away, so time to get healthy and start taking that folic acid!
If you want to get off the contraceptive injections you simply stop getting your injections, which means the hormones being released into your body slowly run down. It can take up to a year for you to become pregnant. This is because the injection stopped you ovulating. And it will take some time for your cycle to get back to normal. So if you’re planning to try for a baby in the next couple of years, best stop your injections now and use another form of contraception in the meantime. That said, some women get pregnant straight away, so don’t rely on this gap!
Once the coil or IUD is removed by your GP you can start trying to get preggers straight away as it doesn’t release any hormones into your body and your fertility returns to normal almost at once. An important thing to remember with both coils, is you need to see a doctor quickly if you think you’re pregnant while they’re still in place. While this doesn’t happen very often, you should seek advice for two reasons:
- Ectopic pregnancy – the coil prevents pregnancy in the uterus but not the fallopian tubes. This type of ectopic pregnancy can cause damage, so best get advice straight away.
- Miscarriage – having a coil in place can increase the risk of miscarriage.
Stopping condoms or the cap
With some forms of contraception, like condoms or the cap, you just leave them in the drawer and get on with making a baby!
How long it takes you to get pregnant depends on you and the type of contraception you were using. And while you’re waiting, now’s a good time to get your amazing body in a happy, healthy state for conceiving and growing a baby. You can start taking folic acid, and if you need to cut down on alcohol or cigarettes, get cracking with that too.