What Happens After Stopping Birth Control Pill?

by | Nov 19, 2019

Do you feel it’s your time, and you’re ready to start this exciting journey of becoming a mom? Congratulations! One of the first and very obvious steps is to stop using contraception.

birth control

However, if the pill is your primary method, don’t hurry. Here’s what every woman should take into consideration when she stops taking the pill.


Two types of birth control

To begin with, let’s sort out various birth control methods. All of them can be divided into 2 categories: hormonal and non-hormonal.

Non-hormonal birth control methods include:

All of the methods above are also called barrier methods, as they create a physical barrier that blocks sperm from entering the uterus. Barrier methods are only used when you’re having sexual intercourse.

It is a small T-shaped device made of plastic and copper. IUD is placed in the uterus by your ob gyn for the long term. The copper acts as a spermicide.

When you stop using any of non-hormonal methods, there are no significant changes in a female body.

Hormonal Birth Control takes the following forms:

–       Birth Control Pill (also called oral contraceptives)

–       Birth Control Shot/Injection (also called Depo Provera)

–       Birth Control Patch

–       Vaginal Ring

–       Hormonal Intrauterine Device (IUD)

–       Contraceptive Implant


How hormonal birth control works

Hormonal contraceptives contain certain amounts of man-made hormones (estrogen and progestin). When these hormones enter your body they inhibit the production of your own natural hormones.

What happens next? This combination of factors prevents pregnancy:

1)    Hormonal birth control stops your body from ovulating (the egg is not released);

2)    It changes the cervical mucus (makes it difficult for the sperm to go through the cervix and find an egg);

3)    It makes endometrium (the lining of the womb) thin and inhospitable. So even if the egg is fertilized, it is unlikely to be implanted into the uterus.

There are 2 types of hormonal pills:

1)    Combination pills (COCs) is the most common type. It combines 2 hormones: estrogen and progestin. You need to take 1 pill every day.

2)    Progestin-only pills (also called Mini Pills) contain only one hormone and have to be taken within the same 3 hours every day to prevent pregnancy.


Other effects of hormonal birth control

There are multiple reasons why women start using hormonal contraceptives.

Apart from the very obvious one (birth control), the pills help women with a number of symptoms caused by hormonal disbalance:

–       Heavy menstrual bleeding

–       Period cramps and pains

–       Irregular periods

–       PMS mood swings

–       Skin problems (increased acne, etc)

–       Excess hair or hair loss

When you stop using hormonal birth control, you change the hormonal balance in your body. Your body got used to receiving certain amounts of artificial hormones daily. So when your body doesn’t receive them anymore, it has to go through certain changes, until hormone levels return to baseline.

birth control


Common changes in your body when quitting the pill 

What are the possible side effects of going off the pill?

1)    Return of Unwanted Symptoms

If you started birth control for some other reason (for example endometriosis or PCOS treatment), be ready that the unwanted symptoms will come back. These may include heavy menstrual bleeding, cramps, mood swings, acne, unwanted hair, you name it.

2)   Changes in Menstrual Cycle

While on the pill, you are in control of your period. You can have it regularly, every month, or you can skip it for 3 months if you wish. Once you stop taking birth control, your menstrual cycle needs some time to go back to normal.

You may experience irregular periods, unusually long or short menstruation, atypical discharge or spotting in the middle of the cycle. Give your body some time – up to 3 months, as NHS of UK suggests.

3) Return of Fertility

After some time, when hormones go back to normal, you start ovulating again. You may feel mild cramping as your ovary releases an egg. You may also have more vaginal discharge.

5) Higher Sex Drive

Some women find that the pill drives their libido down. So you may find yourself in the mood more often after you quit hormonal birth control.

6) Weight Loss

Some types of birth control cause weight gain. It happens because the hormones you take retain fluid in your body. Once you’re off birth control, you may notice that you’ve lost some weight or that your breasts decreased in size.

7) Decrease in Vitamin D Level

Some women have a lower level of vitamin D when they stop taking the pill. It’s a good idea to start taking a Vitamin D supplement, as this element is crucial for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Studies show, that vitamin D is responsible for bone density, good immunity, and helps to cope with depression, tiredness, and fatigue.


How much time do you need to get pregnant?

Most women have their period 2-4 weeks after getting off the pill. The first period, in this case, is known as “withdrawal bleeding“. The next one is going to be your first natural period.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, it might be a good idea to wait until after you’ve had a natural period. Firstly, it gives you time to make sure you’re in your best physical health for pregnancy. Secondly, it also helps to predict your due date more accurately.

As soon as you ovulate, you can get pregnant. Time frames for ovulation vary from one method to another. For example, after quitting mini-pills (progestin-only) you may ovulate within days or weeks, whereas after the hormonal injection your first ovulation may happen only after 10 months.

birth control


To stop immediately or finish the pack?

You can stop taking the pill at any moment – it is absolutely safe for your health.

However, if you’re planning a pregnancy, it is a good idea to finish your pack.

When you stop in the middle of the pack, it can throw your cycle off and cause bleeding to start. Your uterus gets confused, the bleeding might last for up to 2 weeks.

If you finish your pack, you can better judge ovulation timing. You’ll know when to expect your next period and when you might be ovulating. It’s easier to date your pregnancy if you know when your last period was.

Once you’re off birth control pills, pay attention to your cycle. You can easily track ovulation with Mira Fertility Tracker. The Mira method of analyzing fertility hormones gives you specific numerical data, rather than the traditional ‘smiley face’ approach. This provides you with more definitive results, giving you a better sense of your cycle, increased accuracy, and cycle prediction that improves over time. If your cycle doesn’t return to normal after 2-3 months, make sure to check in with your doctor.

Having a hard time tracking ovulation? Mira takes the guesswork out by measuring your actual fertility hormone concentrations! Sign up today for exclusive Mira content and discounts!
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As always, it is a great idea to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet, Vitamin D and iron supplements, decreasing stress levels are all very helpful for a smooth and healthy transition. Try to relax and let nature take its course.

Trying to conceive is not an easy journey for many women. The Office On Women’s Health says that around 10 percent of women in the United States struggle to get pregnant or stay pregnant. There can be a great deal of stress and heartbreak during this process. Refrain from these avoidable mistakes that could negatively affect your conception goals.

Order Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.

Reserve Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.