Your contraception guide

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

It can take a while for your periods to come back after you stop taking the pill.

Most women will have a period around 2 to 4 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.

Your periods may be irregular when you first come off the pill, and you should allow up to 3 months for your natural menstrual cycle to fully re-establish itself.

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

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

It's unlikely that the time you've been on the pill will cause fertility problems. Some women conceive immediately after they stop taking it.

However, while the pill does not 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 until after you've had a natural period. 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: 17/07/2018
Next review due: 17/07/2021