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 2-4 weeks after stopping the pill, but this depends on the individual and what their 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 six months for your natural menstrual cycle to re-establish itself fully. It's quite common to have a longer delay before normal periods start again after stopping the pill, particularly if you have run two or three packets together. This is because the pill contains the hormones that stop ovulation (the release of an egg) each month.

There appears to be no connection between how long the pill has been taken and having fertility problems. Some women conceive immediately after they stop taking the pill. While the pill doesn't cause fertility problems, it does mask problems that were already there, such as irregular periods.

As soon as you come off the pill, you can get pregnant. It's therefore 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 of health for pregnancy - for example, by taking folic acid supplements and giving up smoking. It also helps your GP or midwife to predict your due date more accurately.

Find out more about getting pregnant.


Page last reviewed: 30/07/2013

Next review due: 29/07/2015

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Find out where you can go for confidential access to the contraception that's right for you.

Media last reviewed: 11/07/2013

Next review due: 11/07/2015