Perhaps you’ve been considering going on the pill and are wondering how it would affect your fertility. In this article, we explore some common questions you may have about the long-term effects of birth control.
“Will using contraception affect my chances to conceive in the future?”
One of the most prominent questions many women have about contraception is whether it would affect their future fertility.
It’s understandable; you are temporarily delaying ovulation and fear how that may affect you in the long run. But there’s nothing to worry about.
Contraceptive pills and other reversible forms of contraception are designed to prevent unwanted pregnancy during the time when they are used. The pills work in a three-fold manner:
- Preventing ovulation
- Thickening the mucus in the cervix to reduce the possibility of the sperm reaching the egg
- Thinning the uterus walls so that a fertilized egg cannot be implanted in the womb
None of these bodily changes is permanent.
Granted that it can take a little while for your natural hormone and fertility levels to be restored once you stop using contraception, they don’t affect your chances of conceiving in the future.
A study involving 14,884 women showed that once they discontinued the use of contraception, they were able to conceive naturally. The research also indicates that there isn’t a significant difference in results based on the type or duration of birth control use.
“After stopping the use of contraception, when can I hope to get pregnant?”
Our bodies may function the same, but the differences in our DNA have varying implications on our health.
Apart from our genetic makeup, even the way numerous birth control methods work differs.
What this means is that there are bound to be some differences in how soon you can hope to conceive after stopping the use of contraception. No one answer fits all forms of birth control.
In the case of contraceptive pills, most women are able to return to their regular cycle right after they come off birth control pills. For some, it may take 3–6 months.
If you are unable to conceive even after a year of coming off birth control, the cause may lie elsewhere and wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with the use of contraception.
There have also been studies proving that long-term use of oral contraceptives can result in improved fertility.
You would be aware of common alternatives to birth control pills, such as IUDs and injections. More than 85% of women who participated in a study reported being pregnant within 6 months of removing the IUD.
“Can it lead to pregnancy-related complications?”
Some myths also associate the use of birth control pills with developing health concerns such as depression, emotional imbalance, miscarriage, and ovarian cancer.
On the flip side, research suggests that oral contraceptives lead to a reduced risk of colorectal, ovarian, and endometrial cancer, especially when the pills are taken for a long period.
Moreover, birth control pills, irrespective of how long you’ve been taking them, do not lead to miscarriages or any other pregnancy-related complications.
Using contraceptives is safe when done right and as per the guidance of a medical practitioner. When speaking to a healthcare professional, remember to share your complete medical history with them.
They would be able to prescribe a suitable contraception method based on your pre-existing health conditions if any.
MBBS, MD — Obstetrics & Gynaecology