Dear Dr Mitchell, I am currently on the Depo Provera shot. I want to try conceiving in 2020 and I've read that after coming off Depo it will take a while to get my hormones back on track. I don't want to get pregnant this year and I'm due my next shot soon.
Should I go straight from Depo to the birth control pill? And if I do, will this switch hurt me in the long run in terms of my fertility?
The Depo Provera injection is a progesterone only preparation that is used ever so often for contraception. It does not contain oestrogen. The combined oral contraceptive pills contain both oestrogen and progesterone and is taken daily for 21 days with a seven-day pill free interval.
The injection is usually associated with a longer time period for the menstrual cycle to return to its regular flow and for ovulation to return to its normal pattern. You can discontinue it three months before you plan to conceive and you should be perfectly fine. If you do not want to conceive within the three-month interval, then go on a low dose oral contraceptive pill and discontinue it whenever you are sure you want to try for a pregnancy. The switch is perfectly safe once you do not have a contraindication to the use of oestrogen.
You should start taking daily folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects and try to achieve desired weight for height to reduce your risk of diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure in the pregnancy.
Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Ave, Kingston 5; or fax to 876-968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor.