Ovulating and Getting Pregnant After the Depo Provera Shot
Depo-Provera, or the birth control shot, is a convenient form of birth control but many people have questions about how it affects fertility. If you’re trying to conceive, you need to ovulate and since the depo shot affects ovulation it’s understandable you’d have questions. You may be wondering how long after the shot do you ovulate or even what the signs of ovulation are after stopping the Depo Provera shot.
Getting pregnant after Depo Provera is possible since there are no long-term effects on your fertility, but it can take some time for your cycle to return to normal. In this post, we’ll go over all things ovulation after depo and getting pregnant after Depo Provera. We’ll also review ovulation and how you can keep track of your cycle to know if your fertility has returned.
How does the Depo-Provera shot affect your body?
Depo-Provera is the brand name for a progestin-based contraceptive injection known as depot medroxyprogesterone acetate. Not only does the shot work by suppressing ovulation, it also thickens the cervical mucus while thinning the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy.
In other words, it stops the ovaries from releasing an egg, makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus so it can’t fertilize an egg, and makes it even harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterine lining.
Injections provide three months of birth control and need to be repeated every 90 days to stay reliable. The storage (or depot) of medroxyprogesterone acetate at the site of injection allows progesterone levels to reach their peak before slowly declining over this time. Progesterone levels need to be at a certain level to suppress ovulation so once they fall below a certain level, ovulation should return. It is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy if used properly and has no long-term effects on your fertility.
Signs of ovulation after stopping Depo
Assuming you had no fertility problems before getting the shot, there are three key signs of ovulation after stopping the Depo Provera shot: your menstrual cycle returning, a positive ovulation test, and detecting ovulation by basal body temperature (BBT). Every individual is different and there is no set timeline for restoring your hormonal balance.
Your Menstrual Cycle Comes Back
One of the most common side effects of the birth control shot is a change in menstruation. Many users report a complete lack of menstruation (amenorrhea) with continued use, although not everyone will experience this. A regular cycle is an obvious sign of ovulation so if your period starts to come back online, meaning it’s occurring every 21 days to 35 days and lasts two to seven days, it’s a good indication.
Irregular cycles are normal after the injection and when you first come off the shot, but the majority of women will see their periods resume within 12 months. Every person’s experience will be different and it may take longer (or shorter) for others.
Positive Ovulation Test
An ovulation predictor kit (OPK) or ovulation test is a type of at-home hormone test that detects the presence of LH in urine. Similar to a pregnancy test, a positive test indicates that your LH levels are “surging” and that ovulation is likely to occur within the next 24-36 hours.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, OPKs and ovulation tests are approximately 99% accurate when taken and used correctly. Although they don’t technically measure the exact day of ovulation (they measure the LH surge that occurs just before), they are a useful tool in predicting ovulation.
BBT Charting after Depo
Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your body temperature when you are completely at rest. After ovulation, there is a slight rise in your BBT and you can use this temperature increase to confirm ovulation. The shift is very subtle and requires a special thermometer to measure temperature in tenths of a degree for better accuracy.
This method can be affected by many lifestyle and environmental factors and several studies have found that BBT can be inaccurate. Still, if used properly this method can be a helpful way to know if ovulation has returned. You can use the increase in BBT to predict your fertile window and maximize the chance that you will conceive.
Chances of infertility after Depo
Although the average return to normal fertility is approximately 10 months after the last injection, this may not be the case for everyone who gets the birth control shot. Some women experience a longer return to fertility and it may take as long as 12 months after the last injection. Research indicates that this delay may be related to weight and how the body metabolizes progestin. Generally speaking, women who weigh more may take longer for their fertility to return to normal.
There is no association with length of use and return of ovulation. In other words, the length of time you were on the shot doesn’t matter and your fertility should return to normal regardless of how long you were on the shot.
Your body needs time to return to “normal” and unfortunately there’s not much you can do to increase ovulation naturally. There are several methods for balancing hormones that may help to increase your odds of ovulation, but if you are still having trouble it may be necessary to seek medical assistance.
Getting pregnant after depo provera will look different for everyone. Some women get pregnant right away, while others will see their fertility return on a longer timeline. Although a return to ovulation and fertility will likely be delayed, most women will conceive within 18 months from the last injection. The shot does not affect long-term future fertility but there are risks to consider, including bone loss, so if you are planning a pregnancy it’s best to talk with your healthcare team about when to stop the shot and what ovulating after depo might look like for you.
Using an ovulation kit or fertility device after stopping the Depo-Provera shot will help you to determine when you’ve started ovulating again. Learn how Mira’s fertility trackers and hormone concentration analyzers can help you ovulate and get pregnant after the Depo shot. Mira provides personalized and accurate ovulation analysis through lab-quality hormone tracking. Using urine samples to track certain hormones, Mira gives you a clear idea of when you’re ovulating and when you’re most likely to conceive.