Reproductive Health Center, Tucson, Arizona

When should you stop taking birth control?

When should you stop taking your birth control so that you can get pregnant? – Arizona fertility clinic

It’s one of those ironies of life – most women spend their early years trying desperately not to get pregnant, and then, once they feel ready to start their families, they want nothing more than to get pregnant immediately. The event you were so scared of becomes the one that you want most.

Because they were trying not to get pregnant when they were younger, most of our patients at our Santa Fe area fertility clinic have used birth control before they began trying to conceive. Once you decide that it’s time to start trying to get pregnant, when should you stop your birth control? What can you expect to happen after you do?

Hormonal birth control

This is the most common form of birth control. Types include the pill (both the regular pill and the “mini-pill”), patch, ring, and implant. These forms of birth control use the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone to stop you from getting pregnant.

Many women believe that, after stopping their hormonal birth control, it will take a long time for them to become fertile again. The truth is that it’s often quicker than you might think. Once you stop using your hormonal birth control, it takes only one to a few days for the artificial hormones to be out of your system. Then it’s simply a matter of your system rebalancing itself with its own natural hormones. For some women, they’ll ovulate within two weeks of stopping the birth control. Others may take up to two or three months.

Half of all women get pregnant within three months of stopping the pill, and the rates of pregnancy after a year are similar to those of women who have never used it.

The injection

The birth control injection (such as Depo-Provera) is also a hormonal method. However, it’s designed to be long-acting, which is why women using the shot only need to get it every three months. This means that it can take a while after your last birth control shot for you to get pregnant. It takes an average of about nine to ten months to get pregnant after stopping the shot, although it could happen as soon as three months later.


Intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy for a period of years. There are both hormonal and non-hormonal (copper) types. After the removal of the IUD, it’s possible to get pregnant immediately. Once you’ve had a menstrual cycle, then your fertility has returned to normal.

Do I need to worry that the birth control will affect the baby?

The hormones from your birth control don’t stick around in your body for very long. Because of this, you don’t need to worry that they’ll affect the baby. There’s no need to use condoms as a backup while you “wait for the hormones to be out of your system,” as some women have heard. Scientific research has shown that there is no increased risk of birth defects in babies who are conceived soon after their mother stops the pill, or even while she’s still taking it.

Once you’re ovulating again, your hormonal system is functioning well enough to have a healthy pregnancy. It’s safe to get pregnant as soon as you stop using your birth control.

Arizona fertility clinic

We hope that it’s reassuring to realize that you may be able to get pregnant soon after stopping birth control. However, it’s also important to recognize that getting pregnant can sometimes take a while for any woman. Even for a woman who has never taken birth control, it can take several months to a year to achieve pregnancy. Keeping realistic expectations is important, so that you don’t get stressed if pregnancy doesn’t happen immediately after you stop taking your birth control.

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for at least a year after stopping your birth control, but it hasn’t happened yet, then you should consider a consultation with a fertility specialist. To schedule an appointment at our award-winning Arizona fertility clinic, located in Tucson, contact us. We’ve helped thousands of people start their families.

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