Depo-Provera is a very effective technique of birth control. It is nice having a reliable birth control method which doesn’t have too many negative side effects, and you do not have to worry about taking every day. As long as you get your shot of Depo-Provera when due, then you will be avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
However, can Depo-Provera contribute to long-term infertility even after you stop taking the shots?
What Is Depo-Provera and How Does It Work?
Depo-Provera is the brand name for the medication depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). It is taken via injection and provides three months of reliable birth control. They are repeated once in three months for as long as you want to avoid unwanted pregnancy. The medication is a contraceptive based on progestin, and it works by thickening the cervical mucus and subduing ovulation.
Depo-Provera is different from birth control pills because it is required only once in 90 days. This is because the medication stores medroxyprogesterone acetate in the body at the site of the injection.
After taking a dose of the injection, the level of progesterone in a woman’s body rise gradually for about three weeks. After three weeks when it has reached its peak, the progesterone level slowly starts to decline.
However, when the level of progesterone in a woman’s body declines to a certain level (usually lesser than 0.1 mg/mL), her ovulation and regular menstrual cycle begins again.
Some women will experience a complete stop in their menstrual cycles while getting Depo-Provera injections. While 50 percent of women who have had the injections for over a year have experienced a defect called amenorrhea (lack of menstrual cycles).
However, this doesn’t mean a woman has infertility issues, but simply a likely side effect of using the medication. Your menstrual cycles usually return once the medication runs its course. Also, it usually takes about 6 months or more for your period to return.
The Reason Why Depo-Provera Can Cause Temporary Infertility for Up to Two Years
It should be noted that not all women can get their menstrual cycle back on track 6 months after their last dose of Depo-Provera. In some cases, they take almost two years after their last dose of injection.
According to various researchers, the delay seems to be related to a woman’s weight and irregular periods.
- Weight gain
Most women gain a lot of weight when going on Depo-Provera. Getting pregnant could be more difficult due to weight gain. So if you are trying to get pregnant after stopping the Depo-Provera medication, you should ensure that your diet is healthy and try to keep your body in the best shape as possible. Women whose weight are less will have their fertility rate return back to normal faster than those who tend to weigh more. This has to do with how long it takes for the body to completely metabolize the progestin.
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle
Most women discover that even after stopping the use of Depo-Provera, they still experience irregular menstrual cycles. Most women experience no periods at all while other women have a very light or very heavy periods that remain irregular for years after stopping the medication. For women who are attempting to get pregnant, it makes it difficult for them to track or chart their ovulation cycles.
How long a woman uses the Depo-Provera is not associated with how long she lacks ovulation. This means that it doesn’t matter whether you use the Depo-Provera injections for 6 months or two years. Your fertility will likely take the same amount of time to return in either case.
A woman’s risk of experiencing irregular cycles for up to two years is significantly less is reduced if the dose of Depo-Provera you received is the subcutaneous version as opposed to the older and common intramuscular version.
Some practical tips to increase your chance of getting pregnant after birth control:
One of the things that increase your chance of getting pregnant after Depo-Provera medication is timing. Natural techniques of getting pregnant often require getting the timing right in other to ensure that the male’s sperm meets the egg of the woman. One of such methods is by using the fertile period (usually after 6 months or 2 years in some cases) of the woman when preparing to get pregnant. After 6 months of withdrawing from the Depo-Provera medication, you can start to plan and time your intercourse during your fertile days to increase your chances.
Also, another technique that can increase your chances of getting pregnant is by having a proper diet. When you avoid certain foods and eat those that promote pregnancy, your body will be well prepared for the most anticipated event. When you stop taking Depo-Provera, it is advisable for you to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, eat more nutritious foods that helps improve your chances of getting pregnant fast easily.
Your diet should consist of foods sufficient in folic acid, such as fruits, whole grains, leafy green veggies, fortified cereals, breads, pasta,and rice. You may also take prenatal vitamins, calcium, Vitamins B12, C and D, Iron and Zinc. Consult with your doctor regarding these supplements and other natural methods of improving your chances to get pregnant.
With these tips in mind, your chances of getting pregnant will be increased after birth control. You should remember that time and patience are essential factors, and rushing things won’t bring any positive results. Whenever you decide to stop taking Depo-Provera and are trying to get pregnant, ensure that you visit your doctor and talk with him or her about what you can do to help you get pregnant as soon as possible. Your doctor should be able to help you figure out the best plan of action and also provide answers to any of your questions or concerns that you might have. A nutritionist will also be able to plan a great diet and exercise plan if you need andhelp you to get started on a great prenatal vitamin.