When should I go off the pill?

Q: I want to get pregnant soon. When should I go off the pill?

A: It's possible to get pregnant right after you stop taking birth control pills, so discontinue using them as soon as you're ready to start trying. You should finish your current pill pack so you don't experience spotting, which is common when you stop taking birth control pills mid-cycle. There is an old wives' tale -- or rather, an old doctors' tale -- that says you should wait three months to conceive after stopping the pill to minimize the risk of miscarriage, but there's never been any good proof to support this. The only reason to wait is to make sure your cycle is regular, so you can have a better idea of when you're ovulating and can time your babymaking to boost your chances of getting pregnant. For some women, it can take a few months for ovulation to get back on track after you've been on the pill for while, so don't worry if your periods are a bit irregular at first. If your cycle isn't regular after three months, let your doctor know.

Copyright 2009

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