How long does it take to get pregnant? Well, technically it only takes a fraction of a second for the sperm to make contact with the egg and begin the process of conception. But that probably isn't what you want to know. You likely want to know if you'll get pregnant this month, six months, or a year from now.
Most women have spent lots of energy up until now avoiding pregnancy. We have taken birth control, had protected sex, or avoided sex altogether due to the fear of becoming pregnant. We have all seen stories of teens with unwanted pregnancies, and didn’t want to become one of them. After years of this behavior, we often think getting pregnant is as easy as taking the pill. We think that once we want to get pregnant it will happen right away.
It can vary greatly on the time it takes each different couple to conceive. Some women seem to get the two pink lines right away while others struggle for years. So what is the deal? Here are some of the things that affect fertility and some of the things you can do to speed up the conception process.
10 Age Matters
Unfortunately, all things do not age like fine wine. Your eggs are some of those things. You've been storing your eggs your entire life. By the time you are in your mid to late thirties, they are getting old. It may take longer to get pregnant because the chances of releasing a good egg are less.
For example, an average 30-year-old has approximately 20% chance of getting pregnant each month she tries. That will drop to less than 5% by the time she reaches the age of 40.
It isn't impossible to get pregnant in your 30s or even 40s. In fact, the average age of women having babies is on the rise. Just realize that it may take a little longer or you may need some help from a fertility specialist.
9 Your Health is a Big Factor
Healthy women are the most fertile. This is because a healthy body is the most capable and ready to accept the challenge of growing another human being. It makes sense right? If you are at an ideal weight, eat healthy, and regularly exercise you will have much better odds at becoming pregnant quickly.
Overweight women tend to produce too much estrogen which can throw off your menstrual cycle. Underweight women or those that exercise too much tend to fall into a amenorrhea where your body stops ovulating. Your body is smart. It knows when you are incapable of carrying a child and will adjust to account for your unhealthy habits.
Other illnesses or diseases you may have can also affect fertility. Kidney disease, lupus, and celiac disease are a few examples that can have negative impacts on your body and fertility. If you have a medical condition, speak to your doctor about when and how you should try to get pregnant.
Stress also plays a big role in conception. We have all heard stories about women who have been trying so hard to get pregnant, and as soon as they stop trying so hard - boom they have a baby bump. That is because they have stopped worrying and stressing about it. When your body is relaxed, it is more willing to cooperate.
8 Existing Reproductive Disorders
If you have a reproductive disorder, it will likely be more challenging to get pregnant. It is definitely possible and many women with disorders get pregnant every year. There are lots of treatments available and fertility help specifically for affected women. Endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and other abnormalities of the uterus or reproductive organs can affect your pregnancy chances. Seek treatment and the help of your doctor.
Infertility issues can also be undiagnosed in the man. A low sperm count can make getting pregnant very tricky or even impossible. Do not always assume it is the woman causing the infertility. Both partners need to get tested.
7 Sexually Transmitted Disease
Untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STD) can cause fertility issues. If left untreated, many STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease which can cause permanent damage to your uterus, fallopian tubes, and nearby tissues.
Most STDs are treatable so if you haven't been tested, head to your doctor for a quick test. Get tested each year if you are not in a monotonous relationship. The longer you carry an STD, the more potential for damage on your reproductive organs.
Some diseases can cause permanent damage, this alone is reason to get tested in order to preserve your fertility. So if you have any reason to suspect that you contracted something from someone, get tested right away.
6 Stop Smoking Right Now!
Smoking affects every stage of your reproduction. It affects the quality of your eggs (and sperm for men), your hormone production, and the environment in your uterus. Smoking can also damage the DNA in both eggs and sperm. If you want to get pregnant, you should stop smoking in advance.
Smoking while pregnant increases the risk of all sorts of pregnancy complications as well as increasing the chances of birth defects and low birth weight.
Smoking also increases a woman's chance of miscarriage. There are so many reasons to quit smoking so make steps to stop before you try to conceive. This applies to both the man and woman!
5 Get Checked Out Before you Try
Schedule a preconception visit with your OB GYN doctor. Your doctor will ask a long list of questions about your health and lifestyle. She will ask about any family medical history and current or past conditions you may have. She will also want to know about any past pregnancies and your periods so start keeping a calendar if you haven't already. You will get a pap smear and a screen for STDs while you are in there.
The doctor will check to make sure you don't have any reproductive disorders. She will check your blood and urine to ensure you are in good health. The doctor can recommend any actions required on your part to reach a healthy weight or adjust your lifestyle to up your odds of conception.
4 Get Healthy
If you want to get pregnant, start preparing your body. Get healthy now. Quit smoking and drinking excessively. Eat foods that boost fertility. Think fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and oily fish. Make sure to include enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C in your diet. Deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to less frequent ovulation and a higher risk of miscarriage.
Reach a healthy weight. Remember that both obesity and being underweight can affect fertility. Start taking a prenatal vitamin now to help prepare your body for carrying a baby. Ensure it has adequate amounts of folic acid.
3 Have Sex Often
Of course, sex is a crucial part of having a baby. You also must have sex at the right time to get pregnant. Timing your intimacy around your ovulation will help bring those two pink lines into your near future. Whether you choose to track ovulation through temperature recordings or ovulation predictor kits or not at all, the more you have sex with your partner the better your odds will be. I don't think you will have any trouble convincing him!
Try not to think too much about getting pregnant. Stress will only make it tougher. Concentrate on having fun and enjoying the closeness. After all, intimacy is a lot trickier once baby makes his arrival so enjoy it now!
2 Fertility Charting
A normal menstrual cycle can range from 21 days to 35 days. Charting your fertility cycles is the best way to find out what your body's patterns are and when you are most fertile. A woman's fertile days are usually the day of ovulation and about four days before. In order to tell when you are fertile, you will need to know when you ovulate.
An easy way to chart your fertility is by tracking your basal body temperature. Before ovulation occurs, your basal body temperature will be relatively low. After ovulation, your body temperature rises slightly due to the production of the hormone progesterone. The temperature rise is typically around half a degree.
To track your basal body temperature, you need a sensitive thermometer that can read two decimal points. Take your temperature as soon as you wake up before you get out of bed each morning. Record and graph your temperature each day. After a few cycles, you will see your body's pattern and know which days of the month you will likely ovulate.
1 Know When to See a Fertility Specialist
While it is common for baby making to take up to a year, you should know when to seek professional help. As already pointed out, time is not on your side. As you age, your chances go down.
If you are a healthy woman in your twenties, there is no need to seek professional help until after a year of trying unsuccessfully. However, if you are over thirty five years old and have been trying for six months, it is time to head into a fertility specialist. If you are over forty, do not wait. Go straight to a professional to help you conceive.
Doctors can run fertility tests on you and your partner to determine the best course of action. If, together with your doctor, it is determined that you cannot get pregnant on your own there are other options to become a parent. Adoption, sperm donation, surrogacy, and in vitro fertilization are all viable options.