Women on birth control who don't get periods- how do you know you're not pregnant?

In this post, Lissa mentioned Depo-Provera stopping menstruation entirely.

My question is, for those of you on birth control that has that effect, how do you know it hasn’t failed and you haven’t gotten pregnant?

Mine (implant, not depo shot) doesn’t stop the cycle, but randomises it to the point where it can be a couple of months between periods.

The short answer of how I know if I’m not pregnant? Eventually my period comes again. Occasionally if I’m worried or something feels “off” I’ll spring for a pregnancy test and just make sure it’s all okay.

I was on depo for years. Partly, I wasn’t worried because DMPA’s efficacy rate is so high: slightly better than a tubal ligation, but otherwise you just watch out for other signs–abdominal pain/cramping, nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, etc.

Knowing I’m not pregnant is actually the only reason I stay on a monthly cycle with my pills instead of asking for 3-month or longer cycle pills from my doctor.

I am so frickin’ paranoid about pregnancy…pills, condoms, infrequent sex…and I STILL want the re-assurance of a period.

You gals who don’t get your period have a stronger will than me :slight_smile:

Was on depo for seven years, averaged 1-2 periods a year. I don’t know, it just never crossed my mind to wonder if I was pregnant. I knew why my periods were absent, so not having them gave me no worries. I also had been pregnant before, so I guess I figured I would know through other signs if I was pregnant.

I use the hormonal IUD (brand name Mirena in North America) and get either a few spots in my undies or no period at all. I have been pregnant three times and I know what it feels like - my body does not like being pregnant and says so loudly and clearly. So for me there’s no worries. As long as I feel healthy, I know I’m fine.

I would worry, but I’m too busy skipping thru flowery fields, wearing the good underwear every single day and never watching Lifetime movies while eating chocolate to remember to fret. :smiley:

You can always stock up on dollar-store pregnancy tests to reassure yourself for the first coupla months until you get more comfortable. I adore not menstruating regularly.

I’ve seen a few “surprise” pregnancies in clinics that started off as “this new contraception is making me feel really crappy”. Usually the women were 8-10 weeks pregnant, and the failure was in the first few weeks of starting a new contraceptive method, so the women weren’t sure what were side effects from the new method, and what were pointers to a pregnancy.

Statisically, if you are using a contraceptive method that prevents you menstruating, you’re highly unlikely to be pregnant. Nausea, tiredness and anything that feels “off” probably warrant a pregnancy test and a visit to your doctor.

If it makes you feel better, bulk-buy pregnancy tests and take one every 4 weeks!

My neurologist wants me to go on one of those period-every-3-months oral contraceptives - I’m currently on a more traditional monthly cycle pill - because I get horrible migraines nearly every day that I’m off the pill. (I get migraines at other times too, but these are daily and really awful.) I’ve been on oral contraception for about a decade now and never had a failure, but damn, I’m still so freaking paranoid about it that this makes me nervous. Guess I’ll have to stock up on pregnancy tests if my gynecologist OKs the switch.

I’m on depo currently. From the moment they shot me in the ass with it I stopped getting my periods. I figure that when I start getting a hard little ball in my belly, then I’ll know I’m pregnant.

Seriously, though, Depo has a great success rate and the women in my family have always been this way - baby factories when we’re not on BC, but sterile as anything when we’re on it. So as long as I get my shot every three months, I’m as unlikely to get pregnant as a guy.

With me, though, the only way I think I’d know I was pregnant would be sore breasts - once again, the women in my family don’t tend to get morning sickness. We’re Italian, baby-making machines, and every woman in my family is so happy pregnant that they do it repeatedly. My mom was the odd one out, only having two, and my family thinks I deserve to be in an asylum because I haven’t had one yet. But yeah, pregnancy tests at the first sign of trouble are good, and the doctors can do one that can’t be fooled by the hormones in some birth control.

~Tasha

tashabot- no contraception can fool a pregnancy test. pregnancy tests test for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced by the placenta (and thus, only present during pregnancy). Contraceptives contain oestragens and progestogens, none of which affect pregnancy tests- not even made in China, generic or dollar store ones.

A false positive on a pregnancy test is usually a very early miscarriage, a false negative is usually because the woman tests too early for the HCG to have built up enough to be detected.

I’m on Depo, and I haven’t had a period in over three years. I don’t think about getting pregnant any more.

I recently had to have a pregnancy test because I started medication that can cause birth defects. Not pregnant.

Not having a period is too awesome for words. (I’m 47 years old, BTW.)

I’m the same way (though we don’t use condoms). I’d be way too worried about possibly being pregnant to enjoy not having periods :frowning:

What about the other way round: you’re on the pill and you get pregnant, but continue to bleed on the off weeks anyway? This happened to my cousin (who apparently can’t take the pill on a regular schedule) four times–she was always 4-5 months along before she found out.

I’m not saying she’s the sharpest tack in the box, but apparently she continued to have periods.

LA LA LA LA, I can’t hear you!

Seriously, I reassure myself that that’s fairly rare. Also, in those cases, don’t the “periods” tend to be (TMI) fairly light and not include clots? Mine are generally not like that.

I’ve been on Depo for… a little over 5 years now, with a few months off in the middle, and here and there. I adore the lack of periods. I’m careful about making sure that I’m covered under the Depo when I have sex, and when I get paranoid, I take a pregnancy test - 8$ is worth my peace of mind. I’ve only done it twice so far.

Like Flodnak, I’ve got the Mirena IUD (irishgirl, you got yours yet? Seriously, it’s the bomb. You gotta get that gyno thing straightened out right quick.) Unlike Flodnak, I don’t have kids. I’m sold on the IUD’s very, very low failure rate and the fact that since it also has a physical presence, it’ll deter anything from planting in there (in addition to its low hormonal dose).

Haven’t had a period since I got it inserted (which sucked a lot, but only for a day). Some very minimal spotting. I loves me my Mirena.

I’m on the Nuvaring and haven’t had a real period (spotting once every six months or so) in almost four years. (yay!!!). I take a pregnancy test at any sign of sickness or “wrongness”, and I keep the number to Planned Parenthood in my cell phone.

I apologize for the misinformation - my gynocologist is an idiot, so I should have known not to trust a damn word she says.

~Tasha

Well, when I got the depo shot it got rid of my period, but I also became such a fat raging bitch that my husband wouldn’t fuck me with someone else’s dick.
So I switched to the pill. Of course, then I got pregnant…