Updated on 10/17/22
If you’ve just decided to start trying for a baby, congrats! This is an exciting time and we are so honored to be even a small part of your journey (even if that just entails you reading this blog).
However, you may be wondering where the heck to start. If — like many women — you started by stopping your birth control pill (or any form of birth control), you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about getting pregnant after the pill.
How long does it take to get pregnant after the pill?
As we know, every woman and cycle is unique. This means that the amount of time it takes to get pregnant varies from woman to woman.
If you are coming off the pill, you likely will not have an issue conceiving. Recent studies show that about 80% of women conceive in the first year after giving up the pill.
You can get pregnant as soon as you come off the pill. Many experts say your body doesn’t need extra time to clear the medication from your system, meaning you can get pregnant within a month or two of stopping. No need to stop taking it several months before you’re ready.
That said, it’s important to note that many women start taking birth control pills as a way to manage symptoms that come with their period. Some examples of this include heavy periods, bad cramps, and irregular periods.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this – we always encourage you to do whatever is best for you and your body – sometimes these symptoms are signs of underlying hormone imbalances or issues that can make it more difficult to get pregnant. And while your birth control pill may help get these symptoms under control, they can return once you stop taking it.
For example, irregular periods may be a sign that you’re not always ovulating. With ovulation, there’s no egg present to meet sperm, meaning pregnancy isn’t possible that cycle and it could take you longer than expected to conceive.
If you went on the pill to manage symptoms of hormone imbalance or do not have a cycle within 3 months of discontinuing the pill, we recommend consulting your doctor. Even without a birth control pill in the mix, every couple’s journey to a baby is different and it may take some shorter or longer than others.
Additionally, there are often other factors at play than just the effects of your birth control pill; fertility is complex! For many women, the pill is a long-term contraceptive solution, meaning they could be on it for many years.
If, for example, you were to come off the pill at age 35 after taking it for 10 years, your ability to get pregnant may be impacted more by your age and egg quality rather than the pill. If you are concerned about fertility issues after coming off the pill, we recommend consulting your doctor.
There are other factors at play rather than just coming off the pill; fertility is complex!
What should I do after coming off the pill?
If you stopped the pill because you are planning on trying to conceive, keep in mind your body could potentially need some time to get its hormone balance back on track. While it can be disappointing to not get a positive pregnancy test right away, remember that this is totally normal.
Tracking your cycle is super helpful when trying to get pregnant and, after ditching the pill, it is even more so. Hormonal shifts and slight irregularities in your cycle may make ovulation less predictable, meaning it could be more difficult to conceive. If you’re new to tracking, a period tracker app is a great place to start.
Additionally, if you went on the pill to manage hormonal imbalance symptoms such as cramps, acne, or heavy periods, the pill could have been masking subfertility issues that could make it more difficult to conceive. In this case, tracking your cycle and testing your hormones is especially important to get to the root of a potential issue.
A period tracker app will use the data you give it – first day of your last period, average cycle length – to predict when you should ovulate. Knowing when you ovulate is really important when trying to get pregnant, as this is the only time during your cycle that sperm and egg can meet!
After coming off the pill and timing intercourse around ovulation, based on a period tracker, most couples will get pregnant within a few months. About 80% of couples who have regular intercourse will get pregnant within a year.
What if I'm not pregnant in a few months after coming off the pill?
If you’re having regular intercourse around your estimated ovulation from your period tracker, but still not getting pregnant, there are a few things you can do.
1. Consider a more accurate ovulation tracking option.
While period trackers are a great place to start if you’ve never tracked your cycle before, they’re not always the most accurate ovulation tracking method. This is because they use a small amount of data to predict when you should be ovulating based on general assumptions about women’s cycles.
But they have no way of knowing what’s going on inside your body. In fact, one study found that period trackers are only accurate about 20% of the time.
Instead, you may want to consider an LH (luteinizing hormone) test, also called an ovulation test. LH is the hormone that surges to trigger the ovary to release an egg each cycle.
LH surges about 12-36 hours before ovulation should occur, meaning a positive LH test identifies your 2 most fertile days — a.k.a. the time to have intercourse!
LH tests are often a more accurate ovulation predictor than a period tracker app, since they directly measure the hormone changes in your body. This allows you to better pinpoint the best time to have intercourse for a better chance at getting pregnant.
2. Confirm that you’re ovulating.
We know what you may be thinking — Wait, doesn’t an ovulation test tell me if I’ve ovulated? It doesn’t!
An LH test can only predict when ovulation should occur (important information for timing intercourse), but it has no way of telling you if ovulation actually happened. Not ovulating after an LH surge or not ovulating successfully are both really common and can prevent you from getting pregnant.
To confirm ovulation and successful ovulation, you’ll need an entirely different test: a PdG test! PdG is the urine marker of the hormone, progesterone, which is released after ovulation and prepares the uterus to receive a pregnancy. Without enough progesterone, it can be more difficult to get and stay pregnant.
Not only can a PdG test confirm that you did in fact ovulate, but Proov’s FDA cleared PdG test also confirms successful ovulation, meaning PdG levels rose and remained elevated for long enough to allow for a higher possible chance at conception.
Low progesterone after ovulation is a common cause of pesky period symptoms and infertility, so checking your PdG early on can help set you up for success later.
3. When in doubt, talk to your doctor.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for several months with no success or even if you simply suspect something may be wrong, we recommend consulting your doctor.
They will be able to perform additional testing and help you form the best plan based on your unique medical history.
Trying to get pregnant after stopping the pill is such an exciting time in your life! And with the right information, you’ll be well on your way to success.
Have additional questions or need support? Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 7 days a week.