Many couples who are trying to conceive may ask this question: how long does it take to get pregnant? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Every woman is different, and so is the time she will take to conceive.
A woman’s ability to conceive relies on a host of factors such as age, reproductive health, overall well-being, and how often the couple has sexual intercourse (1). Of course, her partner’s overall health also plays an important role. Hence, consulting a specialist is advisable if you face issues conceiving even after trying for a year.
Read on to learn about the factors that may affect how soon a woman conceives, the common fertility issues, and some tips to help you gett pregnant sooner.
How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant?
Most healthy couples who indulge in frequent unprotected sex conceive within one year of trying.
The following statistics explain how soon a woman gets pregnant (2).
- 30% in the first cycle
- 60% in around three cycles
- 80% in around six cycles
- 85% in around 12 cycles
- 92% in around 48 cycles
*Cycle here refers to a monthly menstrual cycle.
- Around seven in ten women aged 30 or under will conceive within one year.
- Around six in ten women, aged 35 will conceive within one year.
- Around four in ten women, aged 40 will conceive within one year.
Further research revealed the following (1):
- Women aged 19-26: 92% conceive after a year, and 98% conceive after two years.
- Women aged 35-39: 82% conceive after a year and 90% after two years.
After the age of 35, both the number and quality of eggs begin to deteriorate. Age affects men’s fertility as well. If the male is above 40, it can be harder for him to make a woman pregnant, especially if the woman is also over 40.
The following are the reasons for older men having fewer chances of making a woman pregnant (3).
- Reduced interest in sex
- Poor quality of sperms
- Reduction in the levels of male sex hormones
How To Improve Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant?
- Achieve a healthy BMI: Overweight and underweight women are at an increased risk of having ovulation problems. Conversely, the healthy body weight of both partners can help conceive faster.
- Avoid smoking and drinking: Tobacco has several side effects on fertility, overall health, and the fetus’ health. If you smoke, you should contact your healthcare provider before you plan a pregnancy or as soon as you come to know of your pregnancy. Excessive alcohol use can also cause fertility issues. If you are trying to conceive, avoid using alcohol.
- Eat a balanced diet: A balanced diet that includes all vital nutrients can help you conceive faster.
- Take prenatal vitamins: It is recommended that women planning to conceive should begin to take folic acid at least two months before conception. Men should also consider taking prenatal vitamins while trying for a baby.
- Find time for stress-relief: Stress is believed to have an impact on fertility (4). Try and indulge in some mild exercises, such as yoga and walking, to destress yourself.
- Try couple acupuncture: Acupuncture is proven to be successful in restoring fertility in men and women. It helps address problems, such as an over-functioning thyroid, under-functioning thyroid, or increasing the blood flow to the endometrium (5). It also helps improve sperm quality, ovarian function, balancing hormones, and the endocrine system (6).
- Have frequent sex: Frequent or regular sex means having unprotected intercourse every two to three days all through the month. Some couples also try to have timed sex around the woman’s ovulation to conceive (1).
- Use fertility-friendly lubricants: Couples trying to conceive sometimes indulge in sex even when they are not in the mood for it. In such cases, it can be painful, and using lubricants can make sex less painful. You should use fertility-friendly lubricants as they do not affect sperm quality. Some of them are olive oil, canola oil, mustard oil, or other baby oils (7).
- Cut caffeine: Limiting caffeine consumption to less than 200mg per day can help prevent any adverse effects on fertility. It is around six to eight ounces of one or two cups of coffee per day.
- Avoid strenuous exercises: Doing strenuous exercises for more than five hours a week can cause problems with ovulation.
What Are The Common Fertility Problems?
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around six percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the US cannot get pregnant even after trying for one year (8).
Several factors contribute to fertility problems in couples. Both women and men are equally susceptible to these problems, some of which are listed below.
- Endocrine disorders
- Polycystic ovary syndromes
- Thyroid problems
- Problems with pituitary glands
- Anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder characterized by starvation and excessive weight loss)
- Excessive exercise
- Infections of the reproductive system
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Low sperm count
In about 40% of couples struggling with infertility, the problem can be attributed to both men and women. Sperm disorders and ovulation failure are the most common causes of infertility.
When To See A Doctor?
If you are a woman under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for over a year, or if you are older than 35 and have been trying to conceive for six months or more, you must consult your healthcare provider (2).
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long should I keep the sperm inside to get pregnant?
Sperm reaches the cervical canal within seconds of intercourse. They are believed to travel to the fallopian tubes in around two minutes. Keeping sperm in for long does not necessarily increase your chances of getting pregnant (9).
- How long does it take to get pregnant after a miscarriage?
You may ovulate and get pregnant before your first period after a miscarriage. However, the doctors may advise you to wait for at least one menstrual cycle before you begin to try again for another baby (10).
- How long does it take to get pregnant after ovulation?
It is possible to get pregnant after ovulation. However, the fertile period is limited to 12-24 hours after the egg is released (11).
Some couples may take longer than others to get pregnant. Do not compare your journey with others. Thanks to the advances in medical technology, there are several ways in which you can get pregnant. You may consult your gynaecologist or a fertility specialist if you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year.
- How long does it usually take to get pregnant?
- How to Get Pregnant.
- How age affects fertility.
- Fertility & Mental Health.
- Acupuncture for Fertility.
- Jihe Zhu et al (2018) Acupuncture Treatment for Fertility.
- Reproductive Health: Infertility FAQs.
- DIY: How to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
- Trying again after a miscarriage.
- Can You Get Pregnant After Ovulation?