Many women say they are afraid to use contraceptives or go for family planning because they feel it will prevent them from getting pregnant in the future. If you have the same concern and want answers, then read on…
Here’s The Truth
Yes, you can still get pregnant when you stop using your contraceptive. The truth is that when you stop them, your body will begin to readjust to its default setting. This means that if you were able to conceive before you took it, that ability will be restored and if unknown to you, you had fertility issues before you took it, you will also go back to your default setting. ‘So nothing ventured, nothing gained’.
How long will it take before you can get pregnant again?
The time it takes for your body to adjust varies, depending on the contraceptive method you choose so you need to pick a method that has a waiting time that is convenient for you and meets your needs and lifestyle. First, know that all the modern contraceptive methods (except for the surgical methods called Tubal ligation or Vasectomy) are temporary and completely reversible (not permanent). So in a nutshell here are your contraceptive options based on when you will be able to get pregnant:
Option 1- Immediately after: If you want your body to readjust immediately after stopping contraceptives then you should use intra-uterine devices (Lydia IUDs) or condoms (Fiesta). These methods are off and on and only work when physically present. IUDs can work for up to 10 years and because they do not contain hormones, IUDs are very safe for many women. One common side effect to expect is that you can have heavier or more painful menses during the first 1-3 months after it is inserted. Also after the first few menstrual periods, you need to check to be sure your body hasn’t pushed it out. Those first three months are an adjustment stage for your body as it gets used to the tiny IUD in your womb and is a tolerable side effect for women who truly do not want a method with hormones.
Option 2- Days after: Contraceptive Pills eg. Levofem, contain very low dose of two hormones and are excreted quickly, so it’s a quick and friendly way to return your system to its previous setting whenever you are ready to conceive. Another advantage of contraceptive pills likeLevofem is that it can make you have lighter and less painful menstrual periods. Common side effects that may happen to you when you first start using this pill include headache, nausea, breast tenderness, and seeing spots of blood after having your period. As mentioned above, if you can tolerate these effects for 1-3 months, it will be over soon, but luckily, not all women will even experience these side effects.
Taking contraceptive pills require some discipline and you need to use them every day for 21 days (early in the morning or late evening is usually convenient). The remaining days of the month are rest days before you start another pack and your period will come during this time. Most brands of contraceptive pills come with 7 iron tablets that you should take during the rest days so you don’t lose count of when to start another pack.
Option 3- Weeks after: Using an implant like Jadelle and Implanon NXT are options that involve having a doctor or nurse insert a tiny flexible silicone rod just under the skin of your upper arm. You will get a local anaesthetic during the quick insertion process so you can watch while it’s done, kinda like going to the dentist. The advantage: Implants can work for up to 5 years and you don’ t really need to visit the hospital for check up once it’s done. Just go back to the hospital anytime you’re tired of it and want to get pregnant, or when the five years are due. Side effects include menstrual changes, such as heavier or lighter bleeding, or no menses as well as headache, nausea and breast tenderness. Also take note that it has an adjustment stage for most side effects except for the no menses effect which may persist throughout the period you use this method.
Option 4- months after: Use a contraceptive injection like Sayana Press. With this method, you need to take only one shot every 3 months, which is pretty convenient, because you only take 4 injections in a year. Also if you forget to take your next dose, you can take it as late as 1 month after you were due without getting pregnant.
If you choose this convenient method, you should also be prepared to exercise some patience (2- 9 months) before your body goes back to its previous setting. This hormone in this method in a small way mimics pregnancy, so one common side effect of this method is amenorrhea, (no menses) but this does not cause health problems and your period will return when you stop using this method.
Not seeing your period can be an advantage especially for women who experience severe pain and discomfort during their menses, for them, this is the solution they are looking for.
At first, not seeing your period can be surprising because you may think you’re pregnant, but since you are expecting it as a side effect you should not worry. This side effect should not deter you since your menses will return some weeks after you stop using the method, so enjoy your menses and menstrual pain free life while you can.
Consequences of avoiding contraceptives
Many women in Nigeria who do not use contraceptives resort to abortions and over 40% who visit a quack for the procedure are likely to have fertility issues as a result or die. Young women are especially vulnerable and have to stop school, face social stigma for being a young and unwed mother or live with the consequences of an unsafe abortion which may be illness, infertility or death.
It is important that even married women know that using contraceptives for family planning is the best way to prevent abortions, because these days, many health providers complain that married women seek abortion quite as often as single women, because they have sex frequently but cannot insist on condoms with their husbands, or tell their spouse that since today is not a good day of the month not to get pregnant, he should try again later.
Be rest assured that while contraceptives do not cause infertility, not using one, definitely can, so re-access your fears and choose a contraceptive today.
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