If you’ve started (or are thinking about starting) trying to conceive it’s natural to wonder how long it takes to get pregnant.
We know that getting pregnant can happen very quickly (or even accidentally) for some people but for others, it can take a lot longer. Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to know which category you’ll fall into. If you’re planning to start to try to conceive in a few years, there are some tests you can do now that will give you some idea but you still won’t know how fertile you are until you actually start trying. Annoying, right?
So while it’s impossible to say exactly how long it will take you, looking at the research can give you an idea of approximately how long it takes on average.
The first thing to know is that most heterosexual couples become pregnant within 6 months of trying.
A 2019 study of nearly 3000 people found that the average time to pregnancy was 2.3 menstrual cycles (meaning that you would likely fall pregnant somewhere between your second and third menstrual cycles after you start trying to conceive).
A German study found that the cumulative chance of conception was:
The researchers of this study suggest that for those couples who haven’t concived by 6 months, about half will be subfertile or infertile.
This might seem alarming if you’ve already crossed the 6-month mark of trying to concieve. Rather than panicing though, after 6 months of actively trying to concieve it’s a good time take a closer look at your lifestye to make sure it’s as fertility-friendly as possible.
As you’ve no doubt heard, fertility decreases with age. This is due to the fact that we are born with all the eggs we will ever have, as well as changes to our hormones and cycles occuring as well age.
For women aged between 35-39 years, the chances of falling pregnant naturally are about half that of women aged between 19-26 years of age.
One study found that at age 35, you have a 12% chance of conceiving within a three-month period. And by age 40, that drops to 7% chance.
Studies have shown that 60% of women between 35-39 years of age will be pregnant at the one year mark, and 85% will be pregnant at two years after starting to try to conceive.
If you’re over 35 years old and have been trying to concieve for 6 months or more, it’s time to check in with your doctor. If you’re trying to conceive over 40 years old, it’s a good idea to chat to your doctor right away.
Step 1: If you haven’t already, it’s time to start tracking your cycles. This is known to increase your chance of concieving and will let you know if you are actually ovulating. This is key as not ovulation is the most common reason for fertility problems.
Step 2: Optimise your lifestyle for fertility. Your diet and lifestyle have a huge impact on your hormones, cycles and ovulation and therefore, your fertility. Making some small tweaks to you lifestyle can dramatically improve your fertility and help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
Step 3: Check in with your doctor, they can run some preconception tests (hormone levels, STI screen, immunity tests etc) and set you up with a plan for the next steps if you struggle to concie.
Want to learn how to track your cycles and optimise your lifestyle so you can get pregnant faster and have the healthiest pregnancy possible? Our signature program, Optimising Ovulation will give you back control of your fertility. Learn more here.
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Fertility dietitian, ovulation expert, lover of food and squishy newborn baby cuddles. I help people get pregnant (fast) and have the healthiest pregnancies possible.