Is Time Off The Pill Important?

When you're planning a pregnancy, you may wonder if you should go off the pill several months before trying to conceive. Obstetrical nurse Wanda F. Steele answers this common question.

Birth control pills on calendar

The question

I am 28 years old and considering my first pregnancy. I was on birth control pills for nearly 10 years. My doctor said I should be off the pill for three months before trying to conceive. Is there any medical reason for this, or is it just to get my periods regulated? — Lynn, Ohio

The expert answers

Hi Lynn,

First off, let me say what a good choice you have made to consider a pregnancy. There are so many things you can do to help yourself achieve a healthy pregnancy, and getting off on the right foot is a great start.

The only reason to make you wait to become pregnant after being on the pill for 10 years is not medical as much as it is a convenience. Your periods may be a little irregular after being on the pill, and if you wait a couple of months, it will be easier to say exactly when you got pregnant, and "dating" (estimating the due date based on the last period and ovulation) will be easier. Because your periods and ovulation would likely be regular after a few months, it also might be a little easier to get pregnant. There is no problem, however, if you become pregnant just after stopping the pill. Ultrasound tells us so much these days, and we rely a lot on it for dating.

While considering this pregnancy, it might be a good idea to see your caregiver for preconception counseling. Starting prenatal vitamins before you become pregnant is also a great idea.

Good luck to you!

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Tags: contraception

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