If you’re thinking about starting a family soon and you’re currently on some form of birth control, you may be wondering how long you should be off birth control before trying to conceive. The answer varies, depending on the type of contraception you’re on and any health conditions you have.
Will my fertility come back right after stopping hormonal birth control?
It’s important to know that it’s possible to get pregnant right after stopping birth control, as long as ovulation returns right away. For some women, though, it can take a few weeks or up to several months or longer for ovulation to be restored and thus be able to conceive. This is because hormonal birth control suppresses ovulation by interfering with your brain’s ability to communicate to your ovaries, and it can take some time for this communication pathway to re-establish itself and for your hormones to regulate.
The type of contraception you are on can also affect how long it takes to get pregnant. For example, it can take several months for ovulation to return after using Depo-Provera (an injectable form of birth control).
Your health also plays a role in your fertility. If you have health conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, or hypothyroidism, you may need additional support to improve your fertility, especially after being on birth control.
When should I start preparing to conceive after birth control?
Ideally, you should start preparing your body about 1-3 months before you decide to stop hormonal contraception in order to make the transition smoother and restore your fertility sooner. This preparation often includes making nutritional and lifestyle changes, and taking key herbs or nutrients that can help your body adapt and balance your hormones after birth control.
After stopping birth control, it’s best to give your body at least 3 months of preconception support before trying to conceive. This is because your eggs take about 90 days to mature in your ovaries, and you want to make sure these eggs are well-nourished and haven’t been exposed to the synthetic hormones in birth control.
If you’re wanting to start a family, it’s a good idea to track your menstrual cycle so you can know when you ovulate, as there are only a few days in your cycle when you can get pregnant and these include the few days before and the day of ovulation. Ovulation typically occurs around day 14 in a 28-day cycle. You may notice changes in your cervical mucus (it should look like egg whites) and an increased libido.
If you’re concerned about how long it will take you to get pregnant after stopping birth control, make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor. They can help you improve your fertility and make recommendations to support your body as you transition off of birth control.
Tips to support your fertility after birth control
- Track your menstrual cycle and have sex daily 2-3 days prior to ovulation until the day of ovulation. Your fertile window is about 5 days before and the day of ovulation, as sperm can live inside the uterus for up to 5 days.
- Take prenatal vitamins that include methylated folate (rather than folic acid) and methylated B12 (rather than cyanocobalamin). Prenatal vitamins replete nutrients depleted by hormonal birth control and also support your body’s ability to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
- Eat a nutrient-dense whole foods diet (organic as much as possible) and avoid processed foods, alcohol, soda, and lots of sugar.
- Move your body regularly to regulate your hormones
- Get plenty of good-quality sleep, as good sleep is essential for healthy hormones
- Address stress, as stress can negatively impact your hormones and ability to conceive
While these tips provide a valuable starting point, personalized treatments tailored to your individual requirements will significantly streamline the process of hormone rebalancing, preparing you more effectively for pregnancy. If you’re wanting more support getting pregnant after stopping birth control, talk with a naturopathic doctor. They can help support your fertility naturally and recommend holistic treatment options suited to you and your needs.