How to wean off of birth control

You’re a young married woman and want to stop taking birth control. You may want to get pregnant or you had some side effects that didn’t agree with you. Regardless of the reason, you’ll want to stop safely. Is there a right way? There really isn’t a “right way.” However, there are some things steps you can take both prior to quitting and for a few months after quitting that will be easy on your body.

Preparing to stop
If you desire to become pregnant, the things I recommend right away are prenatal vitamins, keeping ovulation kits handy and a cervical cap to put in after sex.

Regardless of your desire to become pregnant, the first thing I always recommend to every woman is to use a period tracker app on your phone. The app alerts you when you are ovulating and is a great tool to help your doctor guide you through various expectations.

Whether you are on the pill, using a ring or patch, planning ahead of stopping is always recommended. First, talk with your doctor and ask for advice on how to safely wean off birth control without affecting your overall health. Since contraceptives release hormones into your body, you’ll want to make sure your body will adapt to the changes it will encounter after you stop.

Diet is an important part in the preparation to stop. Begin fueling your body with nutrients a few months prior to stopping. Your doctor will provide a healthy diet and exercise regimen to ensure that your body has a smooth transition.

A positive side effect of taking oral birth control is good skin, or the decrease of hormonal acne. Stopping will cause your hormones to return to their previous level and if you are prone to skin break outs, you will find they come back. By knowing this in advance, you can take the extra care to minimize this by using products your gynecologist suggests.

Planning the date to stop is also important. You can safely stop any time, but it makes much more sense to stop the pill when you finish the pack. With the ring or patch, you’ll want to stop right after your period. Stopping any of these mid-cycle will alter your period and make it hard to know when to expect it.

After you stop
Stopping any form of birth control will affect your menstrual cycle. Your body will need some time to adjust. You might skip your period for a couple of months or experience some spotting or bleeding between. Your menstrual cycle may even become irregular for a while. This is common and your cycle will return to normal fairly quickly.

You may experience mood swings due to hormonal fluctuations. Exercise is a great way to alleviate this! Plan to begin a regular exercise routine – you’ll get an endorphin boost!

Pay attention to your diet by adding nutrient rich foods and vitamins to your daily menu. Now for the less than great news: it’s a good idea to skip alcohol for the first few months after quitting as your hormones are affected by alcohol. Talk to your doctor to see what is best for you.

Last, but certainly not least, try to reduce stress. Your hormones will start to balance out in the first couple of months after stopping the pill. Reducing stress will help keep them in balance.

Do consult with your gynecologist throughout and after the “weaning” stage. Dr. Vahora has worked with young women weaning off of birth control for many years and will share the tips and tricks to make weaning a nearly seamless and comfortable transition.