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Before you stop using birth control

When you stop using birth control it can take longer than you expect to get pregnant, or it may happen almost immediately.

If do not wish to get pregnant immediately, use condoms until you feel ready to have a baby.

When the time comes to stop using condoms, you should check your sexual health.

Sexual health check

Get a sexual health check before you stop using condoms in the following situations:

Other sexual partners

You should get a check if you or your partner are having sex with other people.

Risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

You or your partner may be at risk of STIs.

Symptoms of STIs include:

  • blistering or lumps on your genitals
  • discharge from the vagina or the tip of the penis

You may not have any symptoms, or the symptoms can be easy to miss. Even when you don't have any symptoms, you can still pass an STI to a sexual partner.

The only way to really know if you have an STI is to be tested. Your partner should also get tested.

Where to get a sexual health check

You can get a sexual health check from:

You can also get free home STI tests at

Coming off contraceptives to get pregnant

Planning to get pregnant

Begin taking folic acid 3 months before you plan to get pregnant. This can help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.

You should also try to keep healthy lifestyle habits as you plan for pregnancy. This will improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.

The following things can help:

  • eating a healthy diet
  • regular physical activity
  • stopping smoking
  • reducing alcohol intake
  • not using recreational drugs

How to help your chances of getting pregnant

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2022
Next review due: 15 December 2025