If you've been on the Pill for a while and are worried about conceiving, Dr. Gill Lockwood, medical director at Midland Fertility Services, has some good advice.
Young women today often spend ten or 15 years on the oral contraceptive pill before they decide the time is right to stop taking it and have a baby. Although many women will fall pregnant immediately, for others it may take significantly longer. It may even take a while for them to restart their periods. They worry that the Pill may have reduced their fertility, while forgetting about the years of painless regular periods, and protection from pelvic infections and unwanted pregnancies.
They can be reassured that experts are agreed that 'There is no evidence that the Pill causes infertility'.
Most women who had regular periods before starting the Pill will find that regular ovular cycles return within six months of stopping it. Irregular cycles before the Pill may indicate PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), with the cyclic hormones in the Pill regularising cycles. Weight, health, stress and exercise can also influence a woman's pattern of menstruation, as the following stories illustrate.
Jenny was 15 when she went on the Pill to control her irregular, painful periods, which were disrupting her social life and schoolwork. She also suffered from bad teenage acne, and the GP hoped an anti-androgen pill like Dianette would help her complexion.
At 25 she married Mark and they decided to try for a baby, so Jenny came off the Pill. Her periods didn't come back, she put on two stone in weight and her skin became greasy and spotty again.
Her GP explained that women with polycystic ovaries have a hormone imbalance, which causes irregular periods and weight gain. The increased levels of testosterone in their circulation can give them acne and excessive hair growth on the face and tummy.
Following a low-fat diet and regular exercise regime will help PCOS sufferers regain their proper weight and they can be helped to ovulate regularly with Clomid tablets or Gonadotrophin injections.
Jenny began exercising and lost some weight. Her periods remained a little irregular and unpredictable, but she conceived on their first wedding anniversary.