We’ve all heard the stories about a friend of a friend who has magically gotten pregnant. And we have all heard the horror stories about being on contraception for too long. But its time we separated the myths from the truths and find the answer to the one question that’s on all of our minds. Do we need to take a break from contraception?
Well, the answer is no. Unless you desperately want to have a baby, that is. There is no need to take a break as contraception produces artificial hormones that occur naturally in your body. Meaning there is nothing hurting or dramatically changing your body or your chances of getting pregnant in the future.
The main reason why women think they need to take a break is to allow their bodies a year or two to prepare for a baby. However, once we stop taking contraception it only takes our bodies and menstrual cycle a few months to regulate. Although this means irregular periods, it does not stop women from becoming pregnant just days after they stop taking contraception as the hormones that prevent pregnancy instantly vanish.
If you are planning to stop using your contraception you should start using condoms immediately, unless you are trying for a baby. However, doctors advise you wait at least two months to try for a baby to allow your body to get back to normal so doctors can give you an accurate due date. Women are most likely to suffer from irregular periods during the first three months off contraception, and if you suffered from painful periods before contraception, it’s common that you’ll start to experience them again.
Of course, women can take a break from contraception for medical reasons but your doctor will suggest this. Statistics say that women shouldn’t be on some types of contraception for more than ten years, as it increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Although, for users of the contraceptive injection, Depo-Provera, it’s a different story. Doctors advise women to use ‘the injection’ for no more than two years due to the higher risk for bone mineral loss. It can also take women up to six months for their periods to return to normal once they stop taking the injection. However, doctors have said it could be better for your body to stick to contraception to prevent changes to our bodies. The hormones in contraception have lowered over the years, meaning it’s safe for our body to interact with them for years at a time.
By taking breaks you could actually damage your body as you are reintroducing it to the actual hormones and making your body go through the common side effects associated with them, which you may encounter during the first few months. Whilst on contraception, you are increasing the risk of blood clots and types of cancer, but doctors say going off and on again actually gives you a higher risk.
So basically, it’s better to permanently stay away from contraception than to confuse your body by taking a break.