The Effects of Stopping Birth Control Mid Cycle


Many women take an oral contraceptive (the pill) as a means of birth control. Birth control pills offer positive benefits besides preventing pregnancy, among them, mitigating painful menstrual periods. But oral contraception comes with warnings and side effects of which women should be aware, including what happens if a woman stops taking the pill in mid cycle.

Birth control pills
Birth control pills (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin, or just the progestin. These hormones prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg for fertilization. They also prevent pregnancy by thickening the mucus lining of the cervix. Packs of birth control pills usually come in either a 21-day cycle, or a 28-day cycle. Typically if you miss a pill, you can take it as soon as you remember, or you can take it together with the next pill.

Woman drinking water
Woman drinking water (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)


Stopping your birth control pill mid-cycle can cause certain reactions, such as your body reacting to the instant stopping of hormones. When you stop your birth control pill mid-cycle, most times it will cause you to start a menstrual period. There may be some cramping, bloating and spotting, or you can have a regular period. Some women who just missed one or two pills mid month will get a short or lightened period, so stopping the pill mid-month altogether, can definitely bring on a regular period.

Woman in bathroom
Woman in bathroom (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Increase Risk of Pregnancy

There is a sudden increase in the risk of pregnancy when you stop the pill mid-month. The hormone levels change quickly by stopping the pill in the middle of the cycle, and this can increase your chances of conceiving. There may be some women who think they are protected for the whole month even if they stop early, but this is not true. You are only covered and protected while taking the pill on a regular, everyday basis.

Woman looking at pregnancy test
Woman looking at pregnancy test (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Birth Control Protection

Because stopping the pill mid-month can increase the risk of pregnancy, you should use always use a back-up birth control. Condoms are a good way of not only protecting yourself against pregnancy, but from venereal diseases as well. Your chances of getting pregnant increase greatly once you are off the hormones. For some women, pregnancy can happen right away as they are fertile immediately. For other women, it may take the typical two weeks to ovulate, and for some women it can take months. Because you will not know, you should always use protection.

Condoms (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)


If you are thinking about stopping, talk to your physician first. You should let him know why you want to stop and he can help you figure out what else you can do for birth control. If the pills are making you ill or giving you problems with depression or other issues, he may be able to prescribe another pill for you. Do not just stop the pill without first talking to your health care provider.

Birth control pills
Birth control pills (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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