Medically reviewed by Neifa Nayor, FNP on July 20, 2020
There aren’t any health risks to going off the pill for a while and then starting again. However, if you do start the pill in the future you may experience side effects — such as acne, spotting, or mild nausea — for the first couple of months as your body adjusts. And when you stop taking the pill you may notice changes as your body returns to ovulating and having a real period It’s possible that you will experience more menstrual cramps and heavier periods than you did while on the pill.
If you do stop taking birth control, know that you can get pregnant pretty much immediately. With progestin-only pills, fertility can return within three hours of a missed pill, and with combination birth control pills it can return in a day or two. So if you do start having sex again, even if your period or your cycle hasn’t returned to “normal” yet, always use a condom or other barrier method for pregnancy prevention.
When you start the pill again, start by taking the first pill in a new pack and take it consistently for at least three weeks before you take a break for a period. You can start your pill on the first day of your next period, on the first Sunday after your next period starts, or any day (even immediately) if you’re sure you’re not pregnant. If you start your pill more than 5 days after your last period started, you must also use backup pregnancy protection (like condoms) until you have been on the pill for 7 straight days. After 7 days of being on the pill, you are protected from pregnancy and no longer need to use a backup method. However, birth control pills do not protect against STIs and you should always use a condom if you are not 100% sure of your partner’s STI status.