Coming off the pill

All you need to know about coming off the contraceptive pill.
How long should I wait before trying to get pregnant?

Before you start trying for a baby it's generally recommended that you wait until you have experienced one 'normal' menstrual period after stopping the pill. This will not only ensure that the hormones used by the pill to artificially control your cycle have left your system, but will also help your doctor to accurately pinpoint your due date when you do fall pregnant.

Certain individuals in the medical profession advocate waiting longer (2 - 3 cycles) before you start trying to conceive. This point of view is often encouraged on the basis that the contraceptive pill induces changes to the lining of the uterus that stop a fertilised egg from implanting as well as preventing you from ovulating. Because of this some experts believe that the chance of very early miscarriage could be increased slightly by conceiving before your uterine lining has returned to 'normal'.

Despite these recommendations it is possible to come off the pill and start trying to conceive right away at little risk to you or your pregnancy.

How does the pill affect my fertility?

Research has shown that neither short or long term use of the contraceptive pill is likely to have any lasting affect on your fertility and ability to conceive. In fact, recent research has found that around 90% of women fall pregnant within a year of coming off the pill.

How long will it take for my periods to start again?

Exactly how long it takes before your menstrual cycle resumes and you start experiencing 'normal' periods will depend on a number of factors. These include how long you were taking the pill, which pill you were taking, how old you are and how your health is in general.

Some women start ovulating again right away and find that they fall pregnant on their first pill free cycle. Others find that it takes a number of months for their natural menstrual cycle to resume. Waiting two to three months before experiencing a period is quite normal after coming off the pill. However, if you still haven't experienced a period after six months you should see your doctor as he will be able to carry out some checks to make sure that everything is ok.

It's important to realise that the pill can mask 'abnormalities' within your natural menstrual cycle as it induces artificial bleeding at the end of each cycle rather than a normal period. Because of this, fertility related issues such as irregular periods and anovulation can be masked.

Can I get pregnant while taking the pill?

When used properly the pill is 99.5% effective so statistically there is a 0.5% chance that you could become pregnant at any time while taking it. This 'risk' increases if the pill is not taken properly. So, if you miss a pill, take a pill late or take medication that could interfere with the pill, its contraceptive effects will be lessened and there will be a greater chance that you will fall pregnant.

Will taking the pill while pregnant harm my baby?

In the past there was concern that the artificial hormones used in the contraceptive pill could harm a developing foetus if you fell pregnant while taking it. However, the introduction of newer versions of the pill have eliminated this risk. As a result, research has consistently shown that taking the pill while pregnant is unlikely to cause any complications or abnormalities with foetal development.

Similarly, there will be no adverse effects to your baby's development if you fall pregnant straight away after stopping the pill.

How should I come off the pill?

It's a good idea to wait until you come to the end of a packet before coming off the pill, this way you'll experience a withdrawal bleed as usual. The next bleed you will experience will be your first 'normal' menstrual period.

There is no harm in stopping the pill midway through a pack, however by doing this you're more likely to experience erratic bleeding before your menstrual cycle resumes.

Once you stop taking the contraceptive pill it's a good idea to start taking folic acid supplements (these help to prevent neural tube defects), stop smoking, reduce the amount of alcohol you consume and try to eat as healthily as possible to start getting your body ready for a baby. If you plan to wait until your 'natural' menstrual cycle resumes before you start trying to conceive you should use an alternative form of contraception in the meantime.

Whether you have a question about coming off the pill, getting pregnant or something else all together why not visit the AskBaby forums for a chat.

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mine lasted for nine months before i concieved
by vera1 20th Jun 2013, 3:44pm
I was on the depo injection and then after coming off that i was on the pill for a year. I stopped taking it on the 18th December 2010 and had my last artificial period on Christmas day. My husband and I are trying to conceive and took a test 1 week after due period and then another 2 weeks after both negative I am 3 weeks late now, but I do know that it can take a while for my body to get back to a regular cycle. Any thoughts??
by hezz0211 14th Feb 2011, 9:02am
I have come of my contraceptive pill but still cant get pregnant is there a reason for this?
by amzie 24th Jan 2011, 9:04am
hi I came of the pill after finishing my packet the 20th December, I had a mini period on the 24th nothing much, so my next period is due the 22nd of this month. I have recently been getting really sore nipples and white discharge in my knickers. is this normal.
I really want to have a baby and am waiting for my next period before trying. they say you should wait until your 2nd period before trying. is it true it can take up to a year!!!! i hope not.
by sb12 18th Jan 2011, 4:35pm
Hi i came on my period on 18th of November and came off on 25th November and started another pack of my pills i then decided to try for a baby and i came off the pill on 28th November yesterday i started bleed again i have a bit of cramp and slightly heavy im very worried and would like some advise on why this could be.
by StayWithUsPrecious 3rd Dec 2010, 5:36pm
hi i came off the pill 2 months ago, my first cycle after coming off the pill was on 17th October, i was then due on my period on Sunday 14th November so this should have been my 2nd cycle after coming off the pill. i have not yet come on and I have had a few crampy like pains in my lower stomach, i have taken a test on Today as am now a week late but its negative. could i be pregnant or is it to early to tell or can i just be late on coming on my period?? a bit confused!!!
by Lou1977 22nd Nov 2010, 3:35pm
Hi there, it doesn't matter how long you've been on the pill. It certainly didn't affect me! Or take time to leave my system. I took the pill for 10 years, I came off it on Oct 5th. I conceived on October 12th!! I had no bleeding at any point, just conceived immediately. I knew pretty quick as I had sore breasts, twinges in my abdomen and felt very tired!
by lindsjane 8th Nov 2010, 10:34am
Hi I'm trying for my first baby with my partner who has 2 daughters from previous relationships aged 17 and 5. I came off cezarette on holidays on the 24th August. From the day we returned, 4th September, had really really sore boobs, normally not sensitive at all. Then I started feeling exhausted, started peeing all the time and felt faint on occasions. Was convinced I was pregnant, but not to be. Came on after 4 weeks 2 days was gutted, but didn't expect it to work first time as had been on the pill since i was 17 due to extremely painful periods and I'm now 35. Working on the theory of 28 day cycle got all geared up this week and then came on just 12 days after the start of my first one. More gutted now as I know it will make it harder to conceive, plus we'd really like a boy, although would be happy with anything, and have a bit more chance of trying for a boy if know my cycle. I used to have really irregular periods so cant just blame it on the pill, but never used to have all the pregnancy symptoms when I was coming on before. Interesting to see I'm not the only one with these weird symptoms. Good luck all of you xxx
by loopylyns 11th Oct 2010, 9:25am
My name is Eve.I am trying to get pregnant, I came off the pill cerazette 10 days ago. I'm not expecting to get pregnant for a while as I was takikng cerazette religiously for about 3-4 years. I have two sons, I am really,really hoping for a daughter, I have been looking on internet for tips on increasing my chances of concieving a girl baby!! (even putting white vineagar in my bath!) I think its madness, and I'm not garanteed to have a girl, so will have to let nature take its corse, I'm even trying to get my hubby to eat more dairy products becuase what they/we eat contributes to the sex of the baby. I would like to hear from people like me!! xx
by eve05 13th Sep 2010, 9:51am
i took the pill cilest for 5 years, i came off the pill over a year ago and for 6 months had no bleeding at all, i went to docs and had blood tests but everything was fine. after another few months i started to have ten week cycles and only now has it come down to 5, taking the pill really messed up my body never going back! still worrying it has affected me and worried if i fall pregnant i wont know due to my messed up cycles and hope its not going to be more difficult to concieve
by jelylynn 12th Aug 2010, 11:04am
hi i came off the pill 1 month ago, i was due on my period on monday 2nd august so this should have been my 1st cycle after coming off the pill. i have not yet come on and i am feeling a lil sick and have had a few crampy like pains in my lower stomach, i have taken a test on tuesday but its negative. could i be pregnant but its to early to tell or can i just be late on coming on my period?? a bit confused!!!
by kellie08 12th Aug 2010, 10:59am
I have just stopped taking cerazette and am trying to get some indication of when I can expect a bleed, It has only been 2 weeks since I stopped, but when I was on femodene once I stopped that I had a bleed with in 2-3 days.
by popsicle7510 12th Aug 2010, 10:32am
I had my last withdrawel bleed on 10th June then I stopped taking the pill and we started trying to conceive. It is now the 14th July and I have not had my period. I am constantly fatigued, sore breasts, really moody, I had nausea for two weeks but this has now gone and feeling like I am getting my period, but it feels like it's not coming, is this just because I have come off the pill or should I take a test? I don't want to take one in case it's negative but I am sick of feeling like this.
by Lilac14 12th Aug 2010, 10:26am
I was put on cerezette (POP) as i had very irregular periods each month on microgynon. I have come off my pill to start a family but i am not sure if i will get 'normal periods' or not or if it will go back to being light bleeding then heavy bleeding which is what my periods were like.
by kimza 12th Aug 2010, 10:21am

I used to take the Yasmin pill and took it for 6 years. I have come off the pill last month in May and finish the tablet as was on, on the 7th of May, had my periods on the 9th as usual but still had not had my periods this month and it has been almost 5 weeks now. Is it normal? i am not planning to get pregnant yet as would like o wait a little longer. I have all the period's symptoms but still no period in sight. can anyone help?

by VGDC 12th Aug 2010, 9:17am
i have been trying to concive for four months,i stopped taking the pill four months ago and started having normal periods.just last week on the 10th i spoted a red stain on my panty and that was all,my date isto be on the 17th,i feel small cramps on my lower stomach but not too painful,could i be pregnant?
by tbk 21st May 2010, 3:57pm
hi all i am new to this but i would really like some help,i am on da pill cerzette for 2yrs 6 mths i have 4 kids and i would like 1 more.but i dont know how long it will take for my periods to come can any 1 help fanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by clare1979 14th May 2010, 5:07pm
i came off the pill in january as i am due to marry in may and would really love to have another baby soon after but i have yet to have a withdrawall bleed. is it likely i will become pregnant without having a bleed first? the pill i was taking was called cerazette.
by werserk 14th May 2010, 5:05pm
I came of the pill the begining of jan and fell pregnant the middle of jan is that normal to fall pregnant straight away someone has said to me that its not right to fall straight away and can be really dangerous and can cause miscarrage or octopic pregnancy is this true as Im extreamely worried now .
by Christinek 14th May 2010, 4:25pm
I came off the pill one month ago and we started trying for a baby straight away. I have just had my first period. It was nearly 2 days late and only lasted 48 hours. I took a pregnancy test just to make sure. It was negative. I'm so dissapointed although not surprised.
by nugget18 14th May 2010, 4:18pm
Hey all....My experience so far!! I came off the pill 24th december as a new years resolution to become pregnant with my partner of 5years. Knowing i'd been on the pill since 17 and now 25 i knew it would be difficult to concieve. In my 1st month of trying (January) i had all the syptoms of being pregnant, cramping, spotting, sore dark nipples, nausia, you name it i had it. We did a test on the 24th Jan showing negative, and then very heavy bleeding 25th which lasted 5days like my period but never like before. Not sure if it was the effects of coming of the pill but all the website advise differently and its difficult to know whats happening to me. Now in february i have none of the syptoms as januarys month. Has any of you lovelly ladies experienced similiar after coming of the pill ?
by uglybetty 14th May 2010, 4:17pm
hi, me and my partner decided to come off the pill in august of last yr. I had a normal cycle straight away and continued to have regular cycles untill i missed my period in feburary. I have been to the doctors and blood tests etc say all is normal, except i still haven't had a period, my dr says i just have to wait. My last cycle was january. Has anyone else experienced this? And if so how long did you go without periods? It's now been almost 4 months with no cycle. I's driving me crazy!
by AnderzBernath 14th May 2010, 3:36pm
i came off the pill in December, and have so far had 2 monthly periods around the expected date (when i was on the pill), however longer lasting than when on the pill. struggling to work out ovulation dates as every website gives different advice??? last 2 periods began on jan 4th then jan 29th - any advice much appreciated
by gordrinne 8th Feb 2010, 9:25am
Hello All, I stopped taking the Dianete pill in early December and had my usual monthly period. Since then We've been trying to conceive actively (my partner already has a little boy so we know he's fertile etc). I have not had my usual monthly period thus far in January (5 days late) but the Ovulation kit said that I was ovulating, but the pregnancy test was negative.... any ideas or advice? I have been taking folic acid since November 09. Thanks :)
by Birdie1980 13th Jan 2010, 11:47am
Could you provide information on artificial bleeding at the end of a cycle. How would you know the difference between a normal period and artificial bleeding?
by aztec 18th Sep 2009, 11:09am
Could you provide information on artificial bleeding at the end of a cycle. How would you know the difference between a normal period and artificial bleeding?
by Toon83 4th Sep 2009, 10:52am
Trying to get pregnant being of the pills since May of the year has 2 normally periods.
by Gosine 28th Jul 2009, 1:33pm
Why is it when you want a baby thats all you can think about? Y ou try not to obsess but you just cant help it anyone know what i mean?
by Jess1987 29th Jan 2009, 8:57am
will my periods be normal again? ive had 3 periods since coming off the pill but all different lenghs 1st 27th day 2nd 31st 3rd 42nd day.
by lou1979 7th Jan 2009, 8:52am