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Types of contraception and how long they take

The type of birth control you use will affect how long it takes for your fertility to return to normal.

Condoms, diaphragms or caps

To become pregnant after using condoms, diaphragms or caps, stop using whatever barrier device you have been using. These barrier methods of contraception do not affect the length of time it takes for you to become pregnant.

The pill, vaginal ring or patch

The pill, vaginal ring and the patch are all methods of contraception that raise the levels of two hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, in your body.

The pill, ring or patch work by stopping your body from producing an egg each month (ovulating).

Once you have stopped using the pill, ring or patch, you will probably have a withdrawal bleed. This is like a period but it is because of the effects of the hormones leaving your system.

Some doctors prefer you to wait until after your first 'natural' period before trying to get pregnant. This makes it easier for them to know the date of your pregnancy. However, there is no reason why you cannot begin trying to conceive immediately after stopping the pill, ring or patch.

Many women conceive shortly after stopping the pill, ring or patch. Occasionally, it can take several months before your body begins producing an egg each month (ovulating) after stopping these types of birth control.

The mini-pill

The progesterone-only pill, or 'mini-pill', is a tablet that raises the level of the hormone progesterone in your body. Depending on the type of pill, it may stop you from ovulating. It may make it difficult for sperm to travel to the egg.

Your fertility should return to normal within a very short time of stopping the mini-pill.

The coil

The term 'the coil' can refer to one of the below:

The copper coil (IUD)

The copper coil is an intrauterine device or IUD. The IUD does not contain any hormones and you continue to ovulate while it's in place. There is no delay in returning to normal fertility once the IUD gets removed.

Intrauterine system (IUS)

The other type of coil is an intrauterine system (IUS). An IUS is a small, T-shaped plastic device that's put into your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse.  It contains a low dose of the hormone progesterone.

Examples of this type of coil include the levonorgestral intrauterine delivery systems (including Mirena, Kyleena and Jaydess).

Once your IUS is removed, your fertility returns to normal very quickly.

The contraceptive implant (the bar)

The contraceptive implant (the bar) is a small tube that is inserted into the inner part of your upper arm.

This implant releases a low level of the hormone progesterone. This helps to stop you from ovulating as well as making it difficult for sperm to meet the egg.

Once this is removed, your natural fertility will return quickly, often within days.

The contraceptive injection

The contraceptive injection (medroxyprogesterone acetate or Depo Provera) is a large dose of progesterone given every 3 months. This injection stops you from ovulating.

The effects will last for at least 12 weeks after your last injection. After this, you may become pregnant quickly. But, as it is a relatively high dose of hormones, it can take longer for fertility to return to normal. In some cases, it can take up to a year.

Tubal ligation or vasectomy

It is not easy to become pregnant if you have had a tubal ligation (your tubes tied) or if your partner has had a vasectomy.

Discuss your options with your doctor if you have used these contraception methods.

Page last reviewed: 28 March 2019
Next review due: 28 March 2022