How Long After Stopping the Pill Should I Wait to Get Pregnant?
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What do you do when after many years of not wanting to become pregnant, you now want a baby, but you’re on the pill? Do you come off it and start trying for a baby immediately, or is best to give your body time to get rid of the hormones in the pill and wait for your body to return to its natural cycle?

When you’re on the pill, you don’t have real periods. You’re not actually ovulating because the pill’s hormones have stopped this happening so that you don’t get pregnant. The ‘period’ you get is just the womb’s lining coming away due to the drop in hormones that happens when you have your pill free week.

The great thing about the pill is that your periods don’t last long, they are normally light and much less painful. Your own cycle may not be like this. You could find that you have more pain and heavier periods that go on for longer, but this is your natural cycle.

contraceptive pill in the mouth of a young woman

Contraception

If you want to wait a few months for your body to rid itself of the pill’s hormones you will have to use an alternative form of contraception in the meanwhile because you will be fertile as soon as you come off the pill. If you want to get pregnant quickly then use condoms until you are ready. If you’ve decided you would rather wait between six months and a year in order to make some lifestyle changes before you become pregnant, then you can have the copper coil fitted, which doesn’t have any hormones.

The Copper Coil

The coil or IUD releases copper into your system which effects your womb lining and the mucus inside your cervix, so that a released egg cannot implant itself and sperm cannot travel as they do normally, so they can’t get to the egg.

The coil is in the shape of a T with two threads attached to either side, which sit in your vagina and are used to check that the coil is in the right place, or when it is time to remove it. The threads can’t be felt by you, or your partner when you have sex. A coil will last around 5 years, but if you want it removed sooner then it’s not a problem.

Condoms

Male condoms are 98% effective against pregnancy. They are another form of contraceptive that doesn’t contain hormones. Female condoms are slightly less effective at 95%. They are made from polyurethane and worn inside the vagina, so sperm cannot get to the womb.

Lifestyle Changes

As well as stopping the pill, you can also use this time to make some lifestyle changes, so that you are healthy when you conceive.

Weight

If you are overweight, this may affect your chances of having a baby. If you can get down to a healthy weight, then your chances of conception will increase. Take up some light exercise like walking or cycling, which will tone you up and help you lose some pounds.

Smoking

Smoking isn’t good for you full stop. It definitely isn’t beneficial for a baby to be around cigarette smoke. In fact, it can give children respiratory problems and it has also been linked to cot deaths. There are a lot of products available to help you. Have a look at the Smoke Free website, which has plenty of useful information.

Diet

You will need folic acid, iron and protein once you do get pregnant, so try include foods such as meat, cheese, fish, yogurt, avocados, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals into your diet. Don’t drink too much caffeine and avoid alcohol altogether.