The Trying to Conceive and Just Starting Out Primer

This is a "primer" created by Krista (Rudylover) and posted by Jennifer (Tigger062077). We made this as a source of information for the "newbies" who are afraid to ask a "silly question"...and for the "oldies" who have been doing this so long they've forgotten the basics.

If you want to reach us, you can reach Jennifer at and Krista at

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What Can I Expect When Going off Birth Control Pills?

We all have questions about what going off Birth Control Pills (BCP) will be like. What will our bodies do? How soon can we get pregnant? Will we have regular cycles? I hate to say it, but its true – when discontinuing BCP - anything goes. This is also true when stopping other similar hormonal birth control like the patch or the nuva ring. Each woman’s response to coming off BCP is different, and what is considered normal is a very wide range.

Can I get pregnant in the first cycle off? Yes you can. It is possible to get pregnant before you ever have a normal period off BCP. You should check with your doctor and see if they want you to try to TTC in that first cycle off, or if they prefer you to use other contraceptives for 1-3 months and then try.

I just had my period at the end of my pill pack. When will my next period start? No one can answer that question. Your first cycle off may be earlier, on time or later than when you were on the BCP. BCP really forces most women to have regular 28 day cycles. Your body may have a different time table than that when regulating its own hormones. Cycles right off BCP can be short as 21 days or over 90 days. This is normal. If you go 90 days without a period and still are getting negative home pregnancy tests, you should see your doctor. Most doctors will give you meds to induce AF if she has been absent that long and it is confirmed that you aren’t pregnant (some will do this at 60 days as well).

Will I start ovulating right away? Maybe. Some women don’t ovulate right away, but ovulate after a few cycles off. Some women ovulate in their first cycle off. Some women need medical help to get them to start ovulating again.

Will my periods be the same? Maybe. They may be shorter or longer. They may be lighter or heavier. You might have less PMS or worse PMS (though it seems most women get worse PMS). All of this is normal.

Will my cycle length be consistent? Maybe. It is normal to have cycles of varying length for some time after going off BCP. (Personally my cycles have ranged from 29 days – 42 days in length in the last 6 cycles of being off, and I was a consistent 30 days before going on BCP.) Some women do rapidly return to a consistent cycle length though. It is also normal to have a few consistent cycles and then have a longer or shorter cycle.

The bottom line is this: Going off BCP is unpredictable and experiences really vary. You can rest assured that someone else has likely had a similar experience though, and you are not alone. Also many women have forged this road ahead of us and have gone on to successful pregnancies.