Contraception guide

When will my periods come back after I stop taking the pill?

It takes a while for your periods to come back after you stop taking the pill. Most women will have a period around two to four weeks after stopping the pill, but this depends on you and what your cycle is normally like.

Weight, health, stress, exercise and conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can all influence your cycle of periods.

Your periods may be irregular when you first come off the pill, and you should allow up to three months for your natural menstrual cycle to re-establish itself fully.

This is because the pill contains the hormones that stop ovulation (the release of an egg) each month.

The first period after stopping the pill is known as a "withdrawal bleed". The next period after this withdrawal bleed is your first natural period.

It's unlikely that how long you have been on the pill will cause fertility problems. Some women conceive immediately after they stop taking the pill.

However, while the pill doesn't cause fertility problems, it can mask underlying problems you may already have, such as irregular periods.

You can get pregnant as soon as you come off the pill, so it's important to use another form of contraception, such as condoms, straight away.

If you're trying to get pregnant, it's a good idea to wait to have one natural period first. This gives you time to make sure you're in the best physical health for pregnancy – for example, by taking folic acid supplements, giving up smoking and giving up alcohol. It also helps your GP or midwife predict your due date more accurately.

Find out more about getting pregnant.

Page last reviewed: 30/07/2015

Next review due: 29/07/2017

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