"How long does it normally take to get pregnant?" It's a question many of us ask, often before we are even trying to conceive. The problem? There's tons of conflicting information out there about the odds of getting pregnant.
So we’re going to sort through the noise.
The good news is that, on average, 95% of couples trying to conceive do so within four years. The bad news is that four years can feel like an eternity when you're trying to get pregnant (and not succeeding).
While it's true that 59% of couples will get pregnant in the first three months of trying, that means that a full 41% will not. After six months of trying, about 80% of couples successfully conceive, which leaves 20% of couples wondering why it's not happening for them.
I'm Not Pregnant Yet: What's Going On?
If you're one of that 20% of couples for whom the answer to "how long can it take to get pregnant?" is more than six months and up to four years, you might be wondering why, and if there is anything you can do to increase your odds.
There are plenty of factors that can affect a couple's ability to conceive. For instance:
Bad Habits that Affect Getting Pregnant and Pregnancy
- Smoking or overconsumption of alcohol or caffeine are big no-no's when you're TTC (Trying To Conceive). You should do your very best to kick those bad habits before you begin trying to get pregnant. (Really, we can't stress this enough.)
Weight and How Long it Takes to Get Pregnant
- Being considerably under or overweight can affect your reproductive health and your ability to get pregnant. Getting your weight under control before you start trying to conceive works in your favor, too.
Age and When You Will Get Pregnant
- Whether we like it or not, age is more than just a number. It actually plays a significant role in a woman's ability to conceive. It's a fact: the older we get, the longer it can take to get pregnant.
- About 86% of healthy women in their 20's will become pregnant after 12 months of trying.
- But by the age of 35, our chance of conceiving drops to just 15% per cycle. So, if you're age 35 or over and trying to get pregnant, the time to seek fertility help is at the six month-mark, not later.
Male Infertility and Pregnancy Chances
- Approximately 1 in 8 couples struggle with fertility issues. In about half of these cases, male infertility plays a role. Male infertility can be due to many things, including low sperm production, injury, or even lifestyle choices. But your guy does have options for treatment, so make sure he goes to see his doctor, too.
Now, with all this in mind, there are things you can do to help reduce the time it takes to get pregnant.
When Will I Get Pregnant: Helping Mother Nature Along
Get Your Body Ready to be Pregnant
- Get a check-up when you're ready to start trying to conceive. Find out what you should be eating, what vitamins you should be taking, and what nutrients you should incorporate into your diet. Need help starting that conversation? You can find some thought starters here.
- And, remember those bad habits we mentioned? Your doctor can help you kick those, as well as establish some healthier habits for now and the future. After all, you are your baby's first home.
Know Your Menstrual Cycle
- Let's talk ovulation. Do you know when you are ovulating? And if so, do you know when the best time to have sex is during your ovulation cycle? Download the First Response App to help you find your optimal window of conception here.
- First Response Ovulation Tests can tell you when you're experiencing an LH (Luteinizing Hormone) surge (this is just a fancy name for the right time to have sex when you're TTC). This LH surge immediately precedes ovulation. Your most fertile time is within 24 to 36 hours of this LH surge. If you're timing your sex around this window, you'll increase your chances of getting pregnant. (Translation: Drop everything and have sex now!)
- Read more about the First Response Ovulation Test, and how it works, here.
Remember, though, all these numbers about how long it takes to get pregnant are just statistics and averages. You are more than a number. And your pregnancy journey is more than just a predetermined probability. Know the facts, take care of yourself, and work with your doctor to make sure that you're taking the right steps on your journey.
All statistics via Baby Center.