I want to get pregnant—when do I stop birth control?

Devon Johnson
Devon Johnson
Published: December 14, 2021Updated: January 11, 2022

Clinically reviewed by Lisa Czanko MD, MPH

So you’ve decided you want to try to conceive, congratulations! You probably have a lot of questions, and that’s okay! Big life decisions, such as adding to your family, should take some research and planning. 

But before you go cold-turkey on your birth control regimen, we’ve got some research you might be interested in!

We’ve rounded up some top asked questions to help guide you through the beginning stages of your journey to pregnancy. 

When do I stop taking my birth control?

Don’t stop until you’re absolutely ready! According to the NIH, if you’re taking oral contraceptives, ovulation can begin as soon as you stop taking the pill, which means it may be possible to become pregnant before your next menstrual cycle. However, although ovulation can start once you stop taking the pill, that doesn’t mean your cycle will instantly go back to normal. For some people, that takes around 1-2 months after stopping birth control.

Vaginal rings and contraceptive patches have similar effects when you stop using them. Once removed the delivery of hormones is stopped, so it's possible to become pregnant after their removal.

How can I prepare my body for pregnancy? 

There are many ways that you can prepare your body for pregnancy before stopping your birth control. Certain dietary changes and behavioral habits can have a positive effect on your ability to conceive. 

Stopping smoking, getting into a regular exercise routine, and limiting alcohol have all been proven to help boost conception. 

Obesity can put you at risk for certain complications during pregnancy, so its important to consult with your doctor about what a healthy weight might look like for you and your health. 

We know, it all seems pretty basic, but just getting started on any of these things can help your body prepare for pregnancy. 

Are there any supplements I should be aware of?

Yep! The NIH strongly recommends that anyone who is trying to conceive should be taking prenatal vitamins containing 400 micrograms of folic acid to reduce risks of abnormalities in your baby. Prenatal vitamins are packed with essential vitamins that you and your baby will need during the length of pregnancy. By getting a jumpstart on these vitamins, you are preparing your body to carry your baby. 

Fun fact! You can also find folic acid in foods like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and chickpeas!

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What else do I need to know? 

As important as it is to care for your physical body during this journey, it's also important to get mentally healthy. Making sure you feel as good as possible is important when considering a life change, such as adding to your family. Hormonal changes can also play a role in mental health, so make sure you’re talking to your doctor, sharing your reproductive plan and asking questions as you prepare for pregnancy. 

Whether now is the right time to try to conceive, 3 months from now, or 3 years from now, it's always helpful to have all the facts, and we’re here to help! 

This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution.

Citations: 

“Other Contraception and Birth Control Faqs.” Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/contraception/more_information/other-faqs. 

“Can You Promote a Healthy Pregnancy before Getting Pregnant?” Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/conditioninfo/before-pregnancy.

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