Maybe you’re planning to have a baby. Or maybe you’ve decided to switch to an IUD. Whatever your reason for going off birth control pills, it’s only natural that your body will need to adjust. We checked in with Dr. Danielle Roncari, an OB/GYN and the director of family planning at Tufts Medical Center, to find out exactly what to expect.
1. First and foremost, your period should go back to normal. Flashback to your flow, pre-pill. If it was heavier—and a lot less regular—that’s pretty much what it will return to as soon as you stop taking the pill. (If you aren’t currently carrying an extra tampon in your purse, it’s time to start.)
2. …But your acne might return. One of the surprise benefits of being on the pill is that it can help banish acne for women who are struggling with it. This is largely due to the blemish-fighting hormones—including estrogen—it contains. If the pill helped cure your acne, don’t be surprised if it comes back when you stop taking it.
3. Your weight should stay the same. Although everyone has a different reaction to the pill, if you didn’t gain weight when you started taking it, you shouldn’t gain weight when you stop. (That said, some women do experience the loss of a couple of pounds, but it’s probably just water weight.)
4. Some PMS symptoms might come back. Damn you, cramps. If they went away when you went on the pill, chances are good that they’ll come back when you go off. Still, if you’ve been on it for a long time, your PMS symptoms might take a different (and less dramatic) shape than when you were younger.
5. Your sex drive might increase. If you noticed a change in your libido when you went on the pill, it should return to its usual self when you go off. Huzzah!
6. You’re no longer protected from pregnancy. “Well, duh,” you’re probably thinking, but it’s an important point to note. If you’re off the pill and not planning to start (or expand) your family, take precautions.