Ovulation in the First Cycle After Stopping the Pill
byTamara Van HooserMay 01, 2014
If you are stopping the pill, chances are your goal is to get pregnant. The question of how soon ovulation will occur is probably on your mind. Ovulation in the first cycle after stopping the pill can vary from a few weeks to several months, according to the University of California at Davis Student Health and Counseling Services. Your personal health, the type of pill you take and how long you have taken it all affect the amount of time it takes to restore hormone balance, regular menstruation and fertility.
The Return of Ovulation
Generally speaking, ovulation will resume two to four weeks after you stop the pill. It may take a bit longer for older women and women who have been on the pill for a long time, according to Columbia Health. In some cases, re-establishing a regular ovulation cycle can take a few months. It will be difficult to calculate the exact return of the first cycle, so it is possible — though unusual — to become pregnant without ever having a regular period.
Menses usually return two to four weeks after a woman stops the pill. If you had irregular periods before you began taking the pill, this pattern will likely return when you stop it, says Mayo Clinic. Although most women can safely assume they are fertile and able to conceive within a month of stopping oral contraceptives, an irregular cycle can make that hard to predict with any accuracy. If in doubt, take a pregnancy test and see a doctor with any questions or concerns. If your menstrual cycle doesn't return to normal in a few months, your health care provider can address any health issues that may be delaying or interfering with your cycle.
Use Back-Up Birth Control
Since you won't know when your first ovulation takes place upon stopping the pill, you can't predict ovulation in the first cycle. If an immediate pregnancy is not your plan, err on the safe side and assume you are fertile within two weeks. Use a backup method of birth control until your normal cycle resumes and you are ready to try for a baby. Your doctor can recommend an effective contraceptive method that fits your lifestyle and personal preferences.
In some cases, your ovulation and menstrual cycle may go AWOL for several months as it takes your body longer than usual to start producing the regular hormones for ovulation and menstruation. On the other hand, you may have an occasional period with several skipped months in between. This may come as no surprise to women who are accustomed to irregular cycles but it can happen to women who previously had a regular cycle before taking the pill as well. Columbia Health reassures women that their regular cycle will return; however, it may not be until after pregnancy for some women. Every missed cycle in these cases is a chance that you might be pregnant so you will probably do many negative pregnancy tests, never knowing when ovulation and fertility occurred unbeknownst to you. The flip side is that if you ignore the missed cycle as routine for you, it could be several months into your pregnancy before you figure out that you actually are pregnant. Therefore, keeping your doctor in the loop can ensure that you catch the pregnancy early enough to get quality prenatal care to give your baby a healthy start.