Everything You Need to Know About Getting Off Birth Control
If you are considering getting pregnant, the first thing you need to do is work on getting off birth control. For me, I have been on some form of birth control since I was 15 years old, so the idea of getting off birth control completely scared me. I was constantly unsure about what would happen to my body once I was birth control free and worried about the side effects that would occur as a result. But, while every woman is different, there is nothing to be scared of as long as you are prepared. Here’s what you can expect.
What Will Happen
The actual process of stopping your birth control is pretty easy. If you are taking the pill, it’s as simple as stopping it at the end of your pack. For me, I had an IUD, so it required going to see my gynecologist to have it removed. I read things online about how painful this can be, but luckily, there was only a little bit of discomfort and over in less than 30 seconds.
Once you stop or remove your birth control, your body pretty much bounces back immediately. In fact, it only takes a woman’s body a few days to completely get rid of all the hormones you received while on birth control. Right away, your body will go back into its normal cycle, and you could get your period immediately or a few weeks later, depending on your ovulation schedule.
The Side Effects
The biggest thing women experience when getting off birth control is a change in their period. For me, I never got a period while on the IUD, so having one again after a few years made me nervous. But, once I did get my period a week after the IUD was removed, it was very similar to how my period was before I went on birth control. For most women, this will also be the case. If you had heavy periods that stayed light while on the pill, your period will most likely turn heavy again once you stop taking it.
Some women may experience a different period than what they were used to, and this is no cause for concern—the body is constantly changing throughout our lives! If you feel something is off or weird about your period, be sure to see your doctor.
Other than your period, going off birth control may also increase your moods since your hormone levels are no longer being replaced. Full-blown PMS and all the lovely things that come with it (sore breasts, discharge, tiredness, cramps) will probably come back, especially if you experienced these things before birth control.
A lot of women think that it takes a little while for their birth control to drain from their system, but this is not the case! In fact, it is entirely possible to get pregnant right away. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. According to my gynecologist, it can actually be unsafe to get pregnant within a month of going off birth control. Instead, try to wait a month or two before you begin trying—not only will it be safer, but it will also be easier for you as you can start tracking your ovulation and get a better idea of your due date once you do get pregnant.
After you have your first baby, you may want consider going back on birth control right away. If you choose to go back on the pill, you will have to wait about six weeks before starting it. For those who are breastfeeding, your doctor will give you something called a mini pill, which won’t affect your milk production. An IUD can be put it in right away—in fact, many doctors actually suggest getting it put it right after you deliver (yes, while still on the hospital bed!). This will take away some of the pain often associated with IUD insertion and offers an immediate and safe form of birth control.
Just remember, you are usually not able to have sex until about six weeks after you give birth, so talk with your doctor about what form of birth control will work best for you.
Best of luck trying to conceive! Getting off birth control isn’t as scary as it sounds, and marks a new transition in your life.