Signs of Ovulation After Stopping the Pill
Morgane Leten - Nutrition & Fertility Coach
Coming off of birth control can be a big decision, especially if you’ve been taking it for many years. Whether it is because you want to return to a natural cycle or you’re preparing to try for a baby, it’s important to know what to expect. When should your periods return, and how can you tell if you’re ovulating? In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know and give you some tips on how you can support your body when you come off birth control.
Does the pill affect fertility?
There are lots of rumours out there about the impact of staying on birth control for too long. While doctors have historically downplayed any side effects, many women believe that staying on the pill for years on end can actually make it harder to get pregnant. Feeling worried? We get it. There’s a lot of confusing and inaccurate information out there. We want to help set the record straight.
According to research, there’s actually no evidence to suggest that the pill negatively impacts your fertility after you’ve stopped taking it. One study found that the vast majority (83%) became pregnant within one year of quitting the pill. That should be encouraging news for any aspiring mommies out there!
Another common belief is that the longer you’re on the pill, the greater the impact on your fertility. But research shows this also is not the case.
So how long after you stop taking birth control can you get pregnant? Well, it depends. Some women will conceive almost immediately, while it will take longer for others. This could be down to age-related factors or other underlying factors that hormonal birth control may have been hiding like irregular periods. If you’ve decided to come off the pill for health reasons (vs. baby making reasons), it’s important to use another form of contraception like a condom because you can get pregnant right away.
When should you stop taking birth control?
We recommend that you stop taking hormonal birth control around the time that you are ready to get pregnant, or if you are trying to get back to a natural cycle free. Sometimes, the pill can cause unwanted side effects, so some women will stop taking the pill to alleviate these symptoms and rid their bodies of artificial hormones.
Learn more in our blog post: Side Effects of The Birth Control Pill.
Quitting the pill is a big step, especially if you’ve been on it for a long time. But don’t be nervous. Many women find that they have many positive side effects after they quit the pill. Check out what Guud ambassador Trix had to say about her experience when she went off the pill.
When do periods come back after coming off the pill?
So when can you expect your first period after stopping birth control? It varies from woman to woman, but on average, periods will usually start again within four weeks after stopping the pill. This depends on what your cycle is normally like, and if you’ve been on the pill for a long time, you may not know! Be patient. It can take a while for your period to come back. If you’re period has not come back after three months, we would recommend booking an appointment with your gynaecologist.
Other things may also influence when you’ll get your first period after stopping birth control. Stress, exercise, and hormonal disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis can impact your menstrual health.
Also, remember that your periods might be irregular for a little while after you come off the pill. Give your body some time to adjust. It could take up to three months for your natural cycle to regulate itself. Why does it take so long? It’s because the pill contains hormones that suppress ovulation. When you first bleed after stopping the pill, it’s known as a withdrawal bleed, which is not a real period. The next one after that will be your first natural period.
Try tracking your cycle after you stop taking birth control to help spot trends or anything irregular. We have a great list of our favourite period tracking apps here.
How to tell when you’re ovulating again
So how do you know when you’re ovulating? First, we recommend tracking your cycle. Then, you need to track the signs of ovulation in your own body. Ovulation typically occurs around two weeks after your period. At first, your periods might not be regular, so knowing the exact time you ovulate can be a challenge. But with time, things should start to regulate and if you pay attention to your body’s signs and symptoms, you’ll be able to tell when you’re ovulating.
Typical signs include:
- Increased cervical mucus, which may look clear and slippery (like egg whites). It sounds strange, we know, but your cervical mucus can teach you a lot about your cycle. Here’s a blog post all about what your cervical mucus is saying about your cycle.
- Pelvic and abdominal pain
- Increased libido!
- Possibly some spotting or light bleeding
If you are looking for more definitive proof that you are ovulating, you can track your basal body temperature, which is your temperature first thing in the morning before you get up. When you’re ovulating, there will be a rise in basal body temperature.
You can also purchase and use an ovulation test. You just pee on a stick which measures levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which rise 24 to 36 hours before you ovulate.
Guud to know: Here’s some more information on how you can track your cycle though basal body temperature and cervical mucus.
Tips for coming off the pill
Quitting the pill or any hormonal birth control can be a big decision. You might be afraid that you’ll experience side effects or that symptoms that stopped when you started taking the pill will return. But if you prepare your body for this change, you can prevent some of the most common side effects like mood swings, weight changes and acne.
Want to know more about how to stop taking birth control? We’ve got you covered. We wrote an entire blog post on how to quit the pill and get your natural cycle back on track as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, here are a few of our best tips for quitting the pill…
If a baby is not in your plans right now, remember to use a condom or other birth control method. It is possible to get pregnant right away! Be prepared for some physical symptoms. They will vary from woman to woman, but you might experience things like mood swings, acne or even some hair loss. Be extra kind to yourself and remember that any symptoms you feel now are likely to stop once your hormones regulate themselves over the coming months.
Support your body with the right nutrients
It is often a Guud idea to support your body with a supplement to ensure you’re getting the right vitamins and nutrients. If you’re planning a pregnancy, make sure your body is balanced and has the right amount of all nutrients like folic acid (important for a baby’s development!). Not sure what supplements are best for you? Take the quiz or Talk to us. We can help.
Get plenty of exercise and rest
Sleep. It’s so simple and yet so often overlooked. It’s incredibly important to your overall well-being so make sure that you’re getting enough quality sleep. Not only will this help your fertility, but it will also make you feel energised, focused and ready to take on the world.
Exercise is another major lifestyle component that can make your return to a natural cycle easier. Looking after your health will help get your cycle and hormones back on track and it will prepare your body for pregnancy if that’s what you want.
Want to know more about how sleep impacts your cycle? Read: Sleep and Your Cycle: How are They Connected?
Confused? Feeling a bit…lost? We’re here for you. Get in touch with one of our experts who can help guide you on your journey to a natural cycle.