contraceptives family planning pregnancy

Can you still get pregnant after using contraceptives?

Hello dear readers, this is a follow up to my post titled: contraceptives and pregnancy 1. So you can read that first, or read this alone.

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
The truth is that when you stop using contraceptives, your body will begin to readjust to its default setting, i.e. 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 spoil’.

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, you need to know that all modern contraceptives (except for the surgical methods called Tubal ligation or Vasectomy) are temporary and completely reversible. For contraceptive methods that contain hormones, once it leaves your body, your ovulation and then fertility will resume. 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 (IUDs) or condoms. 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 normal setting when you are ready to conceive. Another advantage of contraceptive pills is that it is kind to your menstrual cycle and can make you have lighter and less painful periods. Common side effects that may happen to you during the ‘adjustment stage of 1-3 months’ include headache, nausea, breast tenderness, and seeing spots of blood after having your period. As mentioned above, if you can tolerate these effects, it will be over soon, but there are some women who luckily do not experience any side effects.Taking contraceptive pills require some discipline for you 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 take theses 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 (3- 9 months) before your body goes back to its default 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.For married women, using contraceptives for family planning is a powerful way to prevent abortions, and these days married women abort quite as often as single women, because they cannot insist on condoms with their husbands, or tell Oga that since today is not a good day of the month not to get pregnant, he should try again later.
Are there Benefits?
There are health advantages when you prevent pregnancy or wait two years or more between your pregnancies. This is because your womb can only go through so much stress and giving birth every year is a recipe for death or damage to your health. Questions to ask yourself are: Do you want another woman to raise your children? Or are you ready to frequently deal with all the complications of child birth, financial stress of sending too many kids to school and not being able to have a career because you spent the best years of your life routinely pregnant?
Be rest assured that while contraceptives do not cause infertility, not using one, definitely can. You can talk to me at: pharmacistreny@gmail.com

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5 Comments

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  • Nice write up, but advice more on the use of emergency contraceptives like postinor2, I have a client who uses it virtually every week. How safe is this?

    • Its pretty safe, if your client does not have any underlying conditions for which hormone contraceptives should not be used.(see above).
      However, the downside for her is that she will have irregular or delayed periods due to her frequent use of an 'emergency contraceptive'. This can be important if she does get pregnant(since ECs do not terminate pregnancies) but may assume her period is simply 'late as usual'
      Advise for her is to use an injection which will give her a contraceptive cover of 3months.

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