One of the biggest worries when women come off the pill is – Will it affect my fertility and will being on the pill for several years make it more difficult for me to get pregnant?
There’s a common misconception that taking the oral contraceptive pill can result in issues with fertility later in life. However, a recent meta-analysis (a combination of different research trials) looked at over 14,000 women in the first year after they stopped contraception and found that regardless of contraception duration and type, it did not have a negative effect on the ability of those women to conceive, and did not delay women getting pregnant.
The caveat to this is that often when we work with clients who have been on the pill for many years, and the pill has been masking an underlying issue for a long time which is potentially the cause of their fertility issue. For example, PCOS, hypothalamic amenorrhea, and endometriosis. With these women there is some work to be done to get to root issue first, before their fertility will resume. Taking a form of hormonal based contraception can mask these issues, so while using these contraception, we are unaware of the real health and regularity of our menstrual cycle. But rest assured, the research suggest that that long-term contraception use is not a direct cause of fertility issues.
However, one thing to bear in mind, if you are coming off the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and plan on expanding your family, is that the OCP depletes some key nutrients in the body. These include zinc, b vitamins, vitamin c and magnesium, all of which are important for fertility! Therefore, it’s really important to correct these deficiencies once you come off the pill and prior to conception. Conception and growing a baby is arguable the most monumental feat your body will go through as a woman, so we want to make sure we’re entering into this journey in our best possible health. A wide variety of food will provide some of these nutrients but it can be a good idea to supplement with an antenatal multivitamin which contains at least 400mcg of folic acid to ensure you are replacing these lost nutrients. The Proceive Preconception multivitamin supplement covers you for all of these.
A key aspect that is commonly overlooked when women come off the OCP, is supporting your body’s natural detoxification pathways, so that you can rid your body of excess hormones following pill cessation. The main foods that can help this process are foods high in fibre such as beans, fruit and vegetables, and in particular, cruciferous leafy greens such as kale, spinach and chard. As well as helping support our natural detoxification pathways, all the addition fibre will help with regular bowel movement. Any unwanted excess hormones are removed from our body through our stool, so regular bowel movements are critical for healthy hormones.
If you are coming off the pill and plan on trying for a baby, stick to these basics for 3 months prior to conception (for you and your partner) – Follow a Mediterranean style diet, eat oily fish twice per week (or supplement with Proceive Omega 3s), take Proceive Pre-Conception (for him and her), exercise moderately, minimise alcohol consumption and look at where you can cut back on stress in your life. These simple steps will leave your body in its best shape for having a healthy pregnancy.