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Low-Tech Ways to Help You Conceive - Chapter 8

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Low-Tech Ways to
Help You Conceive


8. BIRTH CONTROL:


    8.1 What form of contraception was used before conceiving or trying to conceive (if any)? [some types, esp. chemical types, can cause continued (but temporary) lower fertility after discontinuance]

    8.2 How long in advance of trying to conceive was contraception abandoned? For those who have conceived, how long in advance of actual conception was contraception abandoned (if it was abandoned)? [there is controversy over how long chemical methods should be discontinued prior to conception; recommendations range from no delay, to six months or more]

8.1 What form of contraception was used before conceiving or trying to conceive (if any)?

RAH - See Sec. 8.2 following, for a discussion of this issue. - RAH


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8.2 How long in advance of trying to conceive was contraception abandoned (if it was abandoned)? How long in advance of actual conception, if any?

RAH - Some contraceptive methods can be abandoned, and conception can take place almost immediately; natural methods that rely on timing during the monthly cycle, and barrier methods like diaphragm or condoms, are good examples. However, chemical methods such as BCPs (birth control pills) and injectables such as Depo-Provera are more complex; there is considerable confusion about how quickly the chemicals leave the body before conception is safe, or even possible. There are too many contraceptive methods in use today to make a summary possible in this short space. I have included mostly information about BCPs, since this question is most frequently asked on the newsgroups; also included are a few items on Depo-Provera, IUDs, and condoms. For further information, consult one of the books that deal with both fertility and contraception. As always, my recommendation is Toni Weschler's _ TCoYF_. - RAH


After 12 years of oral contraceptives, failed to ovulate only the first month. Same experience four years later after two years of o.c. Both times abandoned o.c. four months in advance of first attempt to conceive--barrier methods and timing after that.

Note that there is no need to wait more than one cycle after stopping the pill--although a 1970s study concluded that conceiving right after going off the pill resulted in a higher risk of defects, many studies since have failed to find any such connection, time after time. Some say that fertility is enhanced the first few months after quitting oral contraceptives.


I've noticed that in the thread regarding how long it took to conceive, many are saying they got pregnant right away after stopping the pill or within a couple of months. And I was wondering has the "be off the pill for three months before you start trying to conceive" rule been changed?

My OB/GYN suggested I wait 2 cycles after going off the pill, although he said there was no problem if I got pregnant right away. Apparently the thinking that the pill can be harmful to a fetus is not as fully supported as previously thought. He told me he had a patient who missed a couple of pills, got pregnant without realizing it right away, and finished out the month of pills before she knew what was happening. She was very concerned that having taken the rest of the pills would harm her baby, so my doctor called NIH to find out what the latest research had to say (he didn't just want to rely on possibly dated published articles). He was told that the most recent findings showed no problems, and sure enough, Mom and baby were absolutely fine.

The main reasons he suggests waiting 2 cycles are (a) some women don't ovulate immediately after getting off the pill, and he wanted to avoid undue concern on my part if I started trying right away and got frustrated, and (b) a couple of months tracking the cycle helps in estimating gestational age in a successful conception, or in estimating fertile times in the event we have trouble down the road.


My GP said to wait the 2-3 month's, however when I went to see my GYN (after we had waited) she said that there is new proof that shows that the pill residue leaves your body in 2 yes 2 days!! Therefore women especially with irregular cycles should start right away (too late for us we were already off the pill for 3 months). Anyhow, she is the top GYN in the city and mentioned that the new proof is just starting to circulate.

Also haven't you ever wondered why your GP tells you your baby will be fine if you happen to get preg? Yet on the other hand tell you to wait 3 months after the pill to start trying. Quite the contradiction in terms wouldn't you say??

Anyhow, I would say GO FOR IT and GOOD LUCK!!


My doctor told me that the reason to wait was not to let your system rid itself of the pill, but for 2 other reasons:

1) to allow normal period to return to help in determining due date, and 2) because the uterus or cervix is sometimes not strong enough to sustain a pregnancy. He said miscarriage rate is higher immediatly after the pill.


I too was also on the pill for 10 years. I was regular the first month off of the pill. I was pregnant within three months. I was lucky. My doctor did tell me that about 10% of women take up to 6 months to get their period back. I was happy not to be in that situation. My doctor also told me that it is definately possible and ok to get pregnant the first month. She explained it to me like this-with today's pill you need to take one every day to keep from getting pregnant because the hormones don't stay in the system for very long.


If you had regular periods before going on the pill, you should get regular periods after quitting. Same for irregular. The pill doesn't affect your fertility per se, but it can mask changes in your body - particularly over nine years. So if you notice a significant difference from your pre-pill cycles, see a doctor.

It may take several weeks for your body to adjust to the lack of hormones. Don't be surprised if your first period seems off.

It's recommended that you wait 2-3 months to conceive after going off the pill to 1) make sure your system is cleaned out, 2) get your periods regular so you can better date a pregnancy.


My doctor told me to go ahead and start trying right away after stopping the Pill. She told me that she herself got pregnant the first month after she stopped taking it. She also said the "wait 3 months" thing is now no longer considered necessary because recent studies have proven that the residual hormone leaves your body very quickly (hence the fact that it is possible to get pregnant if you miss even 1 pill) Also, I have 2 other friends who got pregnant the first month after going off the Pill. (note: I believe this is unusual and I don't expect this to automatically happen to me!)


Everyone's experience with this seems to be different. You could get pregnant as soon as your first non-pill cycle or it may take a few months. If you try for a year off the pill (6 months if you're over 34) and don't get pregnant, it's time to consult a doctor.

Note, it's recommended that you wait a couple of cycles after stopping the pill before you try to conceive, just to be sure your system is back to normal.

My experience was pill for 8 years, condoms for two months, tried and got pregnant the next month.


I went off of birth control pills (10 years of use) back in March 1993. I conceived in November 1993, but miscarried at 7 weeks. I have yet to conceive again.

I've heard anywhere from a month to 3-6 6 months. Check with your doctor. Supposedly, one can get pregnant while taking BCP or a month later and still have a healthy baby. I stopped BCP in July, 94 got pregnant in Sept., 94, and miscarried in Nov. 94. Then got back on BCP- stopped in May 95, got pregnant in July 95, and now Jan 96 am 7 months pregnant, and doing ok.


| My wife has been on the pill for 20 years and has now stopped. How long | should we wait until we try to get pregnant? and What are the chances of | her getting pregnant? any comments would be appreciated.

It is quite possible to become pregnant very soon after coming off the pill. I know someone who conceived 4 days after taking her last pill. Many recommend waiting a few months before trying though. I'm not sure why.

My doctor recommended waiting 3 months so that we could get my cycle back to normal, or at least know have an idea what kind of cycle I had. I was on the pill for 10 years and got pregnant on the first try with both pregnancies.


Most doctor's reccomend waiting 3 months after going off the pill before you start trying to get pregnant. This is to ensure all the artificial hormones are out of your system. Also there is a minute chance of increase in incidence of heart problems in the baby if concieved within the first 3 months. I had been on the pill for 4 years, went off for 6 months and got pregnant on the first try. Then went back on the pill for 2 years, went off for 3 months and again got pregnant on the first try.

Yes I know I'm lucky.


My gyn said to wait three months to allow your uterus to strengthen and build up before getting pregnant. I have to admit, though, we aren't being real careful with the alternate birth control. Anyone else HATE a diaphram? Or use spermicidal suppositories?

Same here, but I read in "What to Expect When Your Expecting" that you should not use spermicide because if you do get pregnant while using spermicide that it can damage the sperm. Please correct me if this is incorrect. I know it is something along those lines. My doctor also said that the miscarriage rate is 20% and is higher immediately after going off the pill for that very reason, uterus strength to carry pregnancy.

What about Depo Provera? I've been taking depo provera shots for about 2 years now and we are thinking about getting pregnant. Does anyone know about how long it will take to get out of my system, etc?


Transient infertility after discontinuation of depo-provera injections is one of the adverse reactions of this method of contraception. In my own practice, I have seen one patient where this was true. According to the gynecologist with whom I consulted at the time, it can take months or up to one year for normal ovulation and menses to resume after stopping the depo-provera. Of course, in the absense of menses, other medical conditions need to be ruled out.


* There is no statistical delay in achieving pregnancy after IUD removal.


In response to the previous response on barrier contraceptive methods: [My partner] and I were together for almost nine years before first pregnancy, and in all that time our only contraceptive method was condoms -- usually Trojans, which failed the Consumer Reports test as reported in April [1995]. When we think about how quickly we conceived once we threw them away... it makes you go "Hmmmmm...." :-) (Actually, condoms are very reliable if used properly; and I have some problems with the Consumer Reports article, but that's another story...)


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