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Abendliche Schneeverwehung in Sundsandvik, Schweden • Foto: Carl Filip Nystedt
A Guide on Coming Off Birth Control
Using birth control methods for safe sex and to protect yourself from unplanned parenthood is always a wise decision. But when the times comes that you and your partner decides to start a family, coming off birth control in order to conceive is often a tricky process. This is especially true if you have been using hormonal birth control methods like injectable or oral contraceptives. Here is a guide if you want to get off birth control for possible conception and pregnancy:
1. Complete your current cycle.
According to Frank Chervenak, MD, chairman of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Cornell University, it is advisable to complete the current cycle of your birth control pills or BCP instead of stopping mid-cycle in order to conceive. He says that continuing with your current BCP pack lessens the risk of irregular bleeding.
2. Stop pill intake at least two or three months before you plan to conceive.
This allows your body to resume its natural hormonal cycle without help from the pill. It also allows hormones from the pill to get out of your system. Stopping two or three months or cycles before you want to conceive also allows you to regulate your ovulation so you can chart when are you most fertile.
3. Use a barrier method after getting off the pill prior to the time you want to conceive.
Although this may seem nonsense after getting off the pill, it is advisable to use an alternative barrier method to prevent an earlier conception than you planned. Barrier methods such as condoms can prevent you from getting pregnant while your body is still trying to get accustomed to life without BCP. Also, using a barrier method or another means of alternative birth control saves you from constant worrying and hoping for a pregnancy. Irregular or missed periods soon after you got off the pill are common occurrences but these do not necessarily mean that you are pregnant.
4. Discontinue habits that can affect your ability to conceive.
Habits such as smoking, drinking, and taking in too much caffeine can affect your ability to conceive even if you got off the pill. Also, these bad habits can cause birth defects in your baby just in case you have an undetected pregnancy soon after getting off the pill. Irregular and missed periods are common and you can get pregnant while assuming that your body is just adjusting to the lack of pill hormones. To be on the safe side, discontinue or temporarily quit these habits after getting off the pill.
5. Take folic acid supplements and fertility medication.
Folic acid prevents defects during the early development of your baby. Since it’s hard to be sure whether or not you are pregnant soon after quitting BCP, take folic acid supplements just in case you are pregnant. You can expect to conceive and get pregnant two to six months after coming off birth control but still, it is not unusual if getting pregnant takes longer than that. Consult your gynecologist or a Planned Parenthood doctor for fertility medications you and your partner can take to increase your chances of having a baby.