Pregnancy While Taking Birth Control Pills: What Are the Odds?
When taken consistently and correctly, birth control pills
are extremely effective and pregnancy is unlikely. However, several factors could increase your risk of pregnancy with the pill, such as:
- Missing pills or taking them late
- Drug interactions (see Birth Control Pill Drug Interactions)
- Severe diarrhea or vomiting, which could prevent the medication from being absorbed into the body
- Obesity (this is especially true of the new low-dose pills).
If you miss your period while taking birth control pills, you may want to consider making sure you are not pregnant (an over-the-counter pregnancy test
should be sufficient), especially if you have missed any pills or taken them incorrectly.
If you miss two periods in a row, you should definitely make sure you are not pregnant. Keep in mind that if you take birth control pills correctly (without missing any pills), the risk of pregnancy while taking them is quite low.
Pregnancy After Birth Control Pills
Currently, it is thought that birth control pills usually have no long-lasting affects on fertility. Although it may take some women a few months to return to their normal menstrual cycles, most women will become fertile quite quickly after stopping the pill.
Often, when a woman has problems conceiving after taking birth control pills, this may reflect an underlying problem, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS
, that was masked by use of the birth control pill.
Sometimes, women are cautioned to wait a certain period (sometimes one cycle, sometimes several) after stopping birth control pills before trying to conceive. This is probably not necessary in most cases (in fact, in some circumstances, a woman may be most fertile just after stopping the pill).
However, it may be a good idea to finish your current birth control pill cycle and not stop midway before trying to conceive; otherwise, it may be difficult for your healthcare provider to "date" your pregnancy.