Should I Stop Taking the Pill at 35?
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Should I Stop Taking the Pill at 35?

Expert advice on when to stop taking birth control pills.

Q. When I went on the pill, my doctor said I should go off it when I turned 35. Do I really need to stop?

A. No, as long as you're healthy, you don't smoke,, and you have no family history of cardiovascular disease. "Your risk for having a blood clot rises from one in 10,000 to two in 10,000, but that's still very low," says FITNESS advisory board member Sarah L. Berga, MD, professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "The guideline is really a warning bell. Now is the time you may want to discuss other birth control options with your doctor if you're done having kids or your lifestyle has changed." The real cutoff point for taking the pill is age 50, when the risk for a clot jumps to one in 1,000.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November/December 2009.