Contraception comes in a few different shapes and forms, everything from barrier methods to more permanent solutions. But it’s the oral contraceptive pill that’s the most popular choice amongst women, being taken by up to 34 per cent of the seven in 10 Australian women of reproductive age who use some form of birth control.
And then there are implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive injections, all of which are known as long-acting reversible contraception.
Due to the way these types of contraceptives work and the fact that most of them release hormones, wondering how that might impact any future plans you have around falling pregnant is only natural. To help out, we’ve answered a handful of common contraception-to-conception questions.
It depends on a few things, including what your natural cycle is like and the type of contraception you’ve been using. For most types of contraception, including the pill, IUDs and implants, most women’s cycles will be ‘normal’ again within one or two months. The exception is the contraceptive injection. It can take between eight and 12 months – but sometimes as many as 18 months – to return to your normal cycle, and therefore fertility, after your last injection.
No – at least not as a direct result of the contraceptive you’ve been using. It is important to remember though that over time, natural changes in egg quality occur due to ageing, so if you’ve been using contraception for many years, your fertility and the time it takes to conceive naturally may be different compared to when you first started using it.
On top of the amount of time it takes for your cycle to get back to normal, how long it’ll take to conceive is influenced by a few different things. While 84% of couples will get pregnant within a year if they’re having sex regularly without contraception, it’s worth remembering that while a 25-year-old couple has a 20 per cent chance of conceiving in any one month, by the time you’re 41 this falls to just 4 per cent, per month.
If you’re using an IUD or the contraceptive implant, you’ll need to see your doctor to have it removed, but if you’re taking the pill you can simply stop taking it, even if you’re ‘mid pack’. If you’ve had the contraceptive injection, which is administered once every 12 weeks, you’ll need to wait for it to wear off. With the exception of the injection, it’s technically possible to fall pregnant immediately, or soon after, you stop using contraception. So if you’re not planning on conceiving straight away, you should use another form of contraception, such as condoms, until you are.
Yes. Still, most doctors do advise waiting to have one natural period first, if only because this gives you time to see your doctor for a check-up and to start taking any supplements that are recommended pre-conception to help support a healthy pregnancy.