Can I get pregnant if I just stopped taking Depo Provera shots?

Patient having injection
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Depo Provera is a powerful form of birth control. It is given by injection by your doctor, nurse or midwife. Each injection lasts about 12 weeks as a form of birth control. So if you have had a shot within those 12 weeks, you are unlikely to get pregnant. The only thing that you need to do to make sure that this is in effect is to remember the appointment every 12 weeks. This is one of the reasons that women like this method of birth control.

You may wonder if you can get pregnant on Depo provera. The answer is usually no. It has a very high rate of success as a birth control method (99%) with very little ability to have user error.

After that 12 week period, you will either decide to continue with this method of birth control or stop. It is generally recommended that you discontinue depo provera about a year before you want to get pregnant. Sometimes it takes awhile for your natural fertility to return. Some women are naturally more fertile than others, therefore it takes less time to get pregnant.

You probably have a lot of questions about this timing. If you have to get the shot every 12 weeks, why would you need to consider that your cycles and ovulation may not return for up to a year? The truth is if you are using depo provera for birth control, you should consider yourself fertile after 12 weeks, but this isn't always going to be the case.

The need to prevent pregnancy is of utmost importance in that scenario.

"We knew we wanted to get pregnant, so when my twelve week appointment came up, I just skipped it," said Robin. "My husband and I were ready to try for another baby. We had liked the ease of the depo, but it was just time. I knew I had to wait 12 weeks or so, but I wasn't prepared to wait for about six months before I ovulated.

I had previously been really fertile. I think my doctor thought I was a bit obsessive, when I called at three months not yet pregnant. She was great about allaying my fears and explaining to me the concept of natural fertility, how it declines over time, and how depo really works. I started monitoring for ovulation and lo and behold - it happened and we were pregnant within six months."

If you have questions about your future fertility please check with your doctor or midwife to discuss this matter. Ask them questions, ideally when you start taking depo provera, about planning future pregnancies. While it is only recommended that you use depo for about two years due to the potential of bone loss, you should consider when you would like to get pregnant within that time frame. This will help your doctor give you the best advice based on your medical history, personal preference, and history with birth control.


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Yoost J. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2014 Jul 3;8:947-57. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S45710. eCollection 2014. Understanding benefits and addressing misperceptions and barriers to intrauterine device access among populations in the United States.

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