You’ve decided that the time is right. You want to start trying for a baby – simple right? Well if you’re method of contraception is the cap, condoms or just plain good luck(!), stopping contraception is very straightforward. However if you’re on the pill, have a coil or implants, then you may have more questions…
If you’ve been using any form of hormonal contraception, some doctors recommend allowing a month or two for your body to adjust itself to its natural cycle before conception. Others point out that the hormones are eliminated from your system as soon as you have your next menstrual period, and believe there’s no point in waiting. So what is the best way for each type and how soon can you get cracking with the task at hand?!
IUD or Mirena Coil
The only delay to your baby making with the IUD is that you’ll need to book an appointment with your GP to have it removed. This type of coil (as opposed to the Mirena coil) releases no hormones, so as soon as it’s gone, your cycle should continue as normal and there’s no reason why you can’t start baby making straight away. However, do bear in mind that waiting for one normal menstrual period before trying to conceive is recommended, in order to make calculating your due date more accurate.
You can also safely start trying as soon as your Mirena coil is removed, but it may take a little longer for ovulation to occur.
If you’re taking the combined pill, it’s a good idea to complete your current cycle, then simply don’t start again. This way you’ll have your regular withdrawal bleed, then a ‘normal’ period will follow in the weeks (or months) after. If your cycle was irregular before going on the pill, you may find that your periods become less regular again. Although you’ll be fertile once you stop taking the pills, it’s recommended that you give your body a full month before trying to conceive, so that your hormones are at their natural level, ready for conception.
If you’ve been taking the mini pill, you can stop whenever you like, but again it’s a good plan to let your body have a normal period before trying to conceive.
You may well be used to taking your pill at a certain time of day, if that’s the case make sure you swap your contraception for folic acid, so that you continue the habit!
As with the coils, this needs to be professionally removed, but it usually fairly quick, simple and painless as it will be done with anaesthetic. Again, you’ll be fertile immediately, but you may want to give your hormones a month or so to settle back to normal.
This is the method of contraception that could wreak the most havoc on your baby making plans, as it can take a year , sometimes more, sometimes less for your fertility to return to normal after the injections stop. For this reason, it may be worth swapping to another method for a year before you’re likely to want to conceive.
Next step to conception
Once you have stopped contraception and are trying to get pregnant, it is a good idea to keep a note of the dates of your menstrual periods. This will make calculating the fertile time of your cycle easier, and if infertility treatment is needed, knowing your typical cycle may help with diagnosis and treatment choices.