What to expect if you’re expecting to go off birth control

Decision Stopping your regular contraceptive use is a big decision. There are several reasons why you might consider this – whether it’s to have a baby, or because of the negative side effects you may experience (such as mood swings). But while there’s a lot of talk about what happens when you start birth control, there’s less about what happens when you decide to quit.

One of the biggest things to consider if you stop using regular birth control is the possibility of pregnancy. If you’re trying to avoid this, it’s important to use a backup birth control method.

But some women may also experience changes in their periods, skin, or mood when they stop taking the pill and their natural cycles return. This is because most birth control pills contain hormones – typically estrogen and progesterone – that block the body’s normal hormonal changes. Not only will this prevent pregnancy, but it can also have other effects – such as reducing menstrual cramps or affecting mood.


The most common birth control method used by British women is the pill. This includes both the combination pill (which contains both estrogen and progestogen) and the progestogen-only pill (often called the “mini-pill”).

If you decide to stop taking the pill, it’s best to wait until the end of the pack. This will reduce the risk of pregnancy when intercourse takes place right before stopping taking the pill. When using the combination pill, it’s safe to have sex during the pill-free period, but only if you start the next pack on the correct day and take the pill for at least the next seven days. That’s why stopping midway carries the risk of pregnancy.

The biggest change you will experience when you stop taking the pill is the return of your menstrual cycle to normal. Because the combination pill often makes your period lighter, less painful, and more predictable, you may find your period heavier and more painful than when you stopped the pill. Your period should also return to normal (for some, it may be irregular). People who had pain between their periods (during ovulation) or premenstrual syndrome before starting the pill may also find these pains return.

If you are using a combination pill to improve acne or control certain conditions (such as polycystic ovary disease), you may find these benefits are lost when you stop. use.

But if you’re someone who’s already taken the drop, you may find your experience a bit different when you stop. The progestogen-only pill doesn’t provide the regular menstrual cycle that the combination pill usually does – with many women experiencing irregular (usually mild but unpredictable) bleeding when taking the pill. So when you stop the mini pill, your period will return to the way it was, possibly more regular and predictable.

Because progestogens have different side effects for some women – such as causing acne, mood swings, or low sex drive – discontinuing both the combined and mini-pill may improve all these things.

It’s important to note that your periods and fertility return very quickly after stopping the pill, and you can get pregnant within weeks or even days of stopping the pill. So use a backup method right after you stop taking it if this is something you want to avoid.

Birth control pills last longer

Longer-acting hormonal contraceptives — such as the implant, intrauterine hormonal system (IUS), and injection — have the same effect on menstrual cycles as the pill. This can include making periods lighter but more unpredictable, or even no period at all.

If you’ve had a contraceptive implant or an IUS, your periods should return to normal within a few weeks. Your fertility should also return to normal in a few days or weeks.

But with the injection, you may not get your period for several months after stopping the pill – and returning fertility can also be delayed by several months. This is most likely due to the high dose of the hormone injected and how well it inhibits the natural cycle. However, most women usually get their period back within a year of stopping the injection, and the periods are as regular and heavy (or light) as before.

If you use a copper intrauterine device (IUD), it does not contain any hormones. Although it is long-acting and extremely effective at preventing conception, some women experience heavier and longer menstrual periods when using this method. Fertility returns shortly after the IUD is removed, so it’s important for women who don’t want to get pregnant to use backup contraception. Women who have the IUD are also advised not to have unprotected sex for a week before having the IUD removed because fertility returns very quickly.

You may be concerned about birth control having a lasting effect on your periods or fertility, but happily, all the evidence points to this not being the case. Some women may find their periods are slightly delayed after stopping any form of hormonal birth control (although this is most common with injections). This is because it can take a few weeks for the body’s natural hormonal cycle to reset on its own. This is not a cause for concern unless it goes on for several months.

Deciding to stop using birth control is an extremely personal decision and will be influenced by whether you want to have children, your relationship, and many other factors. Aside from sterilization, all modern contraceptives are designed for full recovery. While you may notice some effects after you stop using them, they are usually due to the natural rhythm of your menstrual cycle returning.

This article was originally published on Conversation by Susan Walker at Anglia Ruskin University. Read the original text here.

https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/birth-control-side-effects What to expect if you’re expecting to go off birth control

Emma James

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