ZocdocAnswersI am off the depo shot and I want to get pregnant. What should I do?

Question

I am off the depo shot and I want to get pregnant. What should I do?

I've been on the depo for about 3 yrs I don't always get my shot on time usually a month late but now I would like to conceive I was due for my shot at the beginning of nov and about a week before I was supposed to get my shot I began to bleed and just stopped bleeding this week

Answer

Fertility is affected by many things, such as medications, lifestyle, age, and underlying conditions for both you and your partner. For a full evaluation of your fertility, you should discuss these questions with your primary care physician or an ob/gyn. Many women wonder about becoming pregnant after stopping birth control. With some forms of birth control, such as IUDs, you are able to conceive immediately after discontinuing the birth control. Other forms of birth control may take some time to get out of your system--this is true for the depo shot. The depo shot does not permanently alter your ability to become pregnant; however, it can delay the return to fertility. About half of women who are trying to become pregnant after stopping the depo shot become pregnant within 10 months of the last injection. In some women, however, this may take closer to 18 months. Other women may become pregnant more rapidly. The length of time is related to body weight: women with lower body weights often return to fertility more rapidly than women with high body weights, since the medication tends to linger longer in fat tissue. Each woman is different, however, and it is difficult to predict how quickly you could become pregnant--it could happen at any point, so you should be prepared! If you are planning to try to become pregnant, there are several things you can do to prepare and increase your chance of fertility. It is recommended that you start taking prenatal vitamins now, even before you conceive. Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, which is very important particularly in the first few months of pregnancy--even before you know you are pregnant. Maintaining a healthy body weight, choosing nutritious foods, and getting some exercise to promote cardiovascular health are important to both increase your fertility and prepare you for a healthy pregnancy. If you smoke, you should stop now because smoking has a negative impact on fertility rates, pregnancy, and eventually on your child's health. If you drink alcohol, limiting consumption can also increase fertility rates and prepare you for stopping alcohol while pregnant. When trying to become pregnant, it is important to touch base with your primary care physician and/or ob/gyn to discuss your overall health. If you are taking medications, you should discuss with your doctor if any of these medications are not safe during pregnancy. You should keep in mind that your return to fertility may be delayed due to the depo shot; however, if you are concerned about your ability to become pregnant, you should discuss this with your doctor because there are some medical conditions that can affect fertility that may need to be evaluated.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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