Yland JJ, Bresnick KA, Hatch EE, Wesselink AK, Mikkelsen EM, Rothman KJ, Sorensen HT, Huybrechts KF, Wise LA. Pregravid contraceptive use and fecundability: prospective cohort study. BMJ (Int Ed). 2020 Nov 11;371:m3966. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m3966.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between pregravid use of a variety of contraceptive methods and subsequent fecundability.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Denmark and North America, 2007-19.

PARTICIPANTS: 17 954 women who had tried to conceive for up to six menstrual cycles at study entry. At baseline, participants reported their contraceptive histories, and personal, medical, and lifestyle characteristics.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Pregnancy, determined by bimonthly follow-up questionnaires for up to 12 months.

RESULTS: Approximately 38% (n=6735) of participants had recently used oral contraceptives, 13% (n=2398) had used long acting reversible contraceptive methods, and 31% (n=5497) had used barrier methods. Women who had recently stopped using oral contraceptives, the contraceptive ring, and some long acting reversible contraceptive methods experienced short term delays in return of fertility compared with users of barrier methods. Use of injectable contraceptives was associated with decreased fecundability compared with use of barrier methods (fecundability ratio 0.65; 95% confidence interval 0.47 to 0.89). Users of injectable contraceptives had the longest delay in return of normal fertility (five to eight menstrual cycles), followed by users of patch contraceptives (four cycles), users of oral and ring contraceptives (three cycles), and users of hormonal and copper intrauterine devices and implant contraceptives (two cycles). Lifetime length of use of hormonal contraceptive methods was not associated with fecundability.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of some hormonal contraceptive methods was associated with delays in return of fertility, with injectable contraceptives showing the longest delay. The findings indicated little or no lasting effect of long term use of these methods on fecundability.

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