Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) is a popular method of contraception in the UK.
At some point you – or your partner – may choose to stop contraception in order to start a family or have another child. Alternatively, you may stop LARC in order to switch to another form of contraception.
So, once you’ve stopped LARC, how long will it take until you’re able to try for a baby or be able to take a pregnancy test if you believe you may be pregnant?
Choosing to get pregnant
LARC is a good option for many women as it’s easy to use. Unlike the contraceptive pill, you don’t need to remember to take it every day!
LARC typically comes in four forms. First is the contraceptive implant, which is a small, flexible rod which is placed just under the skin of the upper arm.
The next two types are the Intrauterine Device (IUD) and Intrauterine System (IUS) which are both placed in the entrance to the uterus (womb).
The final form is the contraceptive injection which is usually administered every 8-13 weeks.
With the implant, IUD and IUS, you can typically get pregnant during your next fertility cycle (prior to your period) once they are removed.
If you’re coming off a certain type of LARC because you want to start taking another form of contraception, it’s advised to not have unprotected sex in the gap in-between.
Even when you’re using LARC, it’s a good idea to use a condom – especially with new partners – as LARC will not protect you against STIs.
So, you’ve made the decision to cease LARC. Let’s look at the different types of LARC and how quickly you can take a pregnancy test…
Getting your period once LARC is removed
Once you’ve had the implant, IUD or IUS removed, your period may return within a few weeks – or sometimes, it might take a little longer. It can take up to 3 months for your normal fertile period to resume.
This is important to understand, as missing your regular period is one of the more noticeable signs of becoming pregnant. If you fall pregnant quickly after ceasing LARC it is possible your normal period will not have returned yet.
Once you’ve stopped LARC, you can carry out most home pregnancy tests from the first day you notice that your period is late.
Pregnancy after LARC implant removal
The contraceptive implant is a popular type of contraception in the UK.
The majority of contraceptive implants work for three years, after which they need to be removed and replaced.
Once your implant is removed, it’s possible to get pregnant right away. If you’ve had unprotected sex, it’s a good idea to get a pregnancy test if your period is late.
If you want to avoid pregnancy, use a condom or look into getting another implant or using an alternative form of contraception
Pregnancy after the contraceptive injection
The contraceptive injection is another type of long-acting reversible contraception.
Once administered, the contraceptive injection lasts for between 8 and 13 weeks.
If it’s been longer than 8 weeks since your last contraceptive injection and you’ve had unprotected sex (without a condom) you may wish to take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant.
Again, you should take the pregnancy test when you notice your normal period is late.
Pregnancy after IUD removal
The Intra-Uterine Device (IUD) is also known as the coil.
There are two types – hormonal and non-hormonal (copper) – which are inserted into the cervix (womb) and have one or two threads which hang through the opening into the top of the vagina.
You can have your IUD removed at any time, which is ideal if you want to get pregnant or change your chosen form of contraception.
Once your IUD has been removed, fertility can return immediately.
If you think you may have had unprotected sex during your normal fertile period, you can take a pregnancy test as soon as your period is late.
Pregnancy after IUS removal
The Intra-Uterine System (IUS) is a small, T-shaped device that’s put into your uterus by a doctor or nurse.
You can get your IUS removed at any time. Once removed, it’s possible to get pregnant immediately.
If you’ve had unprotected sex after having your IUS removed, it’s a good idea to take a pregnancy test as soon as your normal period is late or missed.
The choice is yours…
There are lots of different options for contraception, with LARC being a popular choice for long-term protection.
As we’ve seen, once removed or stopped, you can get pregnant as soon as your next fertility cycle (period).
Once you feel your period is late or delayed, you can take any home pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant. Whether the results is welcome news or concerning, there are resources available to help you cope and make the right decision for you.
LARC does not protect against STIs (infections), so it’s recommended to use a condom during sex, especially if you are with a new partner.
Though highly effective, LARC is also easily ceased, and fertility returns immediately – making it easy to plan to start a family.