A Complete Guide on How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant

Seeing the second on line on your pregnancy test is an exciting moment. For trying couples, the number one question in mind is how long does it take to get pregnant. While some couples may find it effortless to conceive for the first month, around 75% may start conceiving around six months. How long it takes will depend on age, lifestyle habits, fertility, and how frequently you’re having sex.

Read this Preggy to Mommy article to understand how long does it take to get pregnant. We will also tackle the odds you have to undergo to reach pregnancy.

Fertilization

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Fertilization starts when the sperm and egg meet along the fallopian tube. How long does it take to get pregnant? For this to occur, the woman must be fertile, meaning she has reached the ovulation period. Ovulation is the period in a woman’s period cycle when the ovary releases an egg.

Note that the body can only fertilize an egg between 12 to 24 hours of release from the ovary. Following that, the egg will start to break down, and the hormone will shift. It marks the period of the next menstrual cycle. While this may sound like it complicates the odds, you also have to look at the sperm cell.A single ejaculation can contain up to 280 million sperm cells. And these sperm cells can stay alive for several days inside a woman’s reproductive tract under ideal conditions. Hence, having sex within five days of ovulation is enough for the sperm cell to get fertilized. To put it simply, it is possible to conceive even after a week before your ovulation. It can happen as long as there is a remaining healthy sperm inside the reproductive tract.

On how long does it take to get pregnant, it is also possible to conceive very quickly after sex. Some experts explain that the sperm can reach the egg as soon as half an hour after ejaculation. And so it varies how long does it take to get pregnant depending on individual circumstances.

Implantation

In some cases, women may think that they’re already showing pregnancy symptoms even when they’re not. But note that feeling symptoms of pregnancy only starts after implantation. Hence, if you haven’t reached this point yet, the symptoms seemingly manifesting may not be related to pregnancy.

When does implantation occur on how long does it take to get pregnant? 

  • Once fertilization starts, the zygote will move down the fallopian tube, where it will experience various changes. The result of this is the zygote developing into a morula, then after that to a blastocyst.
  • During the blastocyst stage, the zygote gets implanted into the lining of the uterus. 
  • Once it implants to the uterine lining, it continues to grow into an embryo.

The process of implantation is crucial to achieve pregnancy and to determine how long does it take to get pregnant. Without this process, the blastocyst would break down along with the uterus lining and get expelled during your menstrual period. The implantation process usually occurs between 6 to 10 days after fertilization begins.

During implantation, you may experience mild symptoms such as spotting and cramping. However, some women don’t experience any symptoms during this period.

Manifestation of Symptoms

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How long does it take to get pregnant? Here are some of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy:

1. You’ve missed your menstrual period. 

It is one of the most telltale signs that you’re pregnant. During this time, the hormones produced by the embryo sends a signal to the brain to retain the uterus lining.

2. You experience morning sickness. 

Here, you can nauseate with or without vomiting. It typically starts a month after implantation but may manifest sooner for some women.

3. You experience frequent urination. 

What’s causing your frequent bathroom are the kidneys processing more fluids. It happens because of the increased blood volume that results in frequent urination.

4. Your breasts feel tender or swollen. 

The changes in how your breasts feel may be due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy.

5. You quickly get tired. 

Early on in pregnancy, you may suddenly feel tired and exhausted for long periods. The cause of this symptom is the hormone progesterone.

If you suspect that you’re pregnant and experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to take a pregnancy test.

Positive Pregnancy Test Result

On how long does it take to get pregnant, you can determine whether you’re pregnant using a pregnancy test (PT). You can easily purchase a home pregnancy test at drugstores, pharmacies, supermarkets, or even online. Make sure to follow all instructions indicated in the box and follow up with your doctor if the result is positive.

How PT works is it looks for human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG in your urine. It is usually not yet detectable until 6 to 14 days after the start of fertilization. Note that since all menstrual cycles are unique, you may need to take more than one pregnancy test. If you keep track of your period cycle, the most reliable results would be on the day of the missed period.

You may also conduct a blood draw under your doctor’s help. This process can help detect lower levels of hCG. Hence, we can say that it is more reliable.

What If a Woman Doesn’t Get Pregnant After One Year?

Is it still normal to not get pregnant after a year? To answer the question how long does it take to get pregnant, if you’ve been trying to conceive and get pregnant for a year and it still doesn’t happen, you should probably see your doctor. It also goes for 35-years-old and up that have been trying for six months.

To have a closer look, this is what the numbers are saying:

  • 10% of women may not get pregnant after 12 months of trying
  • The half of this 10% group is likely to get pregnant after 36 months
  • 4% of women will not get pregnant until four years

The 4% here would be unlikely to get pregnant without assistance from a medical professional.

How Long does it Take to Get Pregnant: Increasing Your Chances

While how long does it take to get pregnant can be a complex topic, there are ways to increase your chances. The number one way is to understand your menstrual cycle and be aware of the period when you are fertile. 

Remember, even if you’re always having sex and you’re not doing it when you’re fertile, pregnancy may not happen.

Here are some guidelines and ways on how you can increase your chances of getting pregnant:

  • If you’re on a 28 days cycle, it is highly likely to ovulate around day 14 after the start of your last period.
  • Try to have sexual intercourse five days before ovulation or the day before the egg is released.
  • Have sex twice or thrice each week to have stock of fresh sperm in your reproductive tract.
  • Try using ovulation predictor kits that come in strips. You can usually purchase it over-the-counter and can detect hormones in your urine. The process can help indicate how soon the egg will release.
  • You can also try the method of lying still for 15 minutes right after sex.

Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Pregnant

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As you may now know, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pregnancy. It can be challenging to predict and determine how long does it take to get pregnant for different women. Even those couples with calculated intercourse can face challenges in getting pregnant.

Remember, pregnancy doesn’t start immediately after you have sex. To make it more transparent and easier to understand, this is the timeline before and during conception occurs: 

  • It can take up to 6 days for the sperm and egg to become a fertilized egg. 
  • It can take anywhere between 6 and 10 days for the implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterine lining.
  • Pregnancy begins once the hormones required for pregnancy are released.

Now that the timeline of conception is clear, what may be the reasons why you’re not getting pregnant? Here are the usual variables that affect how long does it take to get pregnant:

Age

Women in their 20s or 30s with no health concerns can typically get pregnant within a year. On the other hand, generally, the older a couple gets, the more challenging it may take to conceive. It is due to the lower quality of the egg and sperm that comes with aging. Hence, it is more likely not to conceive month-by-month for older couples.

Here are some crucial points on the age when it comes to how long does it take to get pregnant:

  • The best odds for women to get pregnant is during their 20s or early 30s. That’s the period when you have the most amount of healthy eggs in your body.
  • Fertility and the quality of eggs naturally diminish with age.
  • Women are born containing all the amount of eggs they’ll ever have in their lifetime.
  • Once women reach the age of 35, the chance of getting pregnant within three months drops to 12%.
  • Women in their 40s generally don’t have enough quality eggs in their uterus.
  • It is rare to get pregnant naturally for women 45 years of age and up.
  • The quality of men’s sperm declines with age. Furthermore, it is more likely for older men’s sperm to contain genetic defects.

Drinking of Alcohol and Smoking

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Drinking alcohol and smoking can alter the DNA structure of the eggs and sperm. Hence, it can affect the quality of conception but usually not the timing.

Smoking can cause fertility issues and damage to the body’s cervix and fallopian tubes for women. Furthermore, it can also induce infertility and early menopause. One the other hand, drinking can increase the risk of ovulation disorders. It can affect the release of eggs from the ovaries and, consequently, how long does it take to get pregnant.

Weight

Being overweight or underweight can affect how long does it take to get pregnant as the weight can affect women’s ovulation.

When you are overweight, the body’s fat cells will produce more estrogen than needed to affect ovulation. On the other hand, if you are underweight, it can cause a lack of estrogen in your body that negatively affects ovulation.

Stress

Stress is another factor that affects how long does it take to get pregnant. It is because feelings of stress can change the period cycle of a woman. If you’re stressed when you’re fertile or during your ovulation window, you are less likely to conceive that month. That’s why it’s vital to remain healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally, for trying couples.

Even if you’re both physically well, but you’re stressed, it can affect how long does it take to get pregnant.

Birth Control Use

Most women resume a regular period cycle after using birth control. Having a normal period cycle means that the body is ovulating and is a sign that the body is ready to conceive. Here is a guide on getting back on your regular period cycle depending on birth control used:

1. Pills 

Once you stop taking pills, it is possible to get pregnant right away. However, it may take several months for your menstrual cycle to sync up to its routine. 

2. Injectable contraceptives

 According to a study, the average a woman can get pregnant after discontinuing injectable contraceptive, specifically Depo-Provera, is ten months. Depo-Provera is an injectable of hormone progestin that prevents the body from ovulating.

3. Vaginal ring and patch

 After using a vaginal ring and patch, you should begin ovulating around 1 to 3 months after. To give an example, you can get pregnant about two cycles after stopping the use of NuvaRing.  

4. IUD 

An IUD or intrauterine device is a type of hormone-releasing contraceptive. How it works is you place it in the uterus to deliver a small amount of progestin straight to the uterus. You’ll need a health care professional to put this, and the effect can last for up to 5 years. On average, it takes about 4 to 6 months for a woman to conceive with an IUD. 

Timing and Luck

A lot happens in the body for ovulation, fertilization, and then eventually for implantation to occur. Another reason why it’s taking some time on how long does it take to get pregnant is timing and luck. Although you may be having frequent intercourse, your timing may not be right. Hence, if you’re having intercourse infrequently or you’re consistently not having sex before ovulation, it may take some time to conceive.

Infertility

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Typically, the answer to how long does it take to get pregnant is within a year.  Infertility means that a woman isn’t able to conceive even after a year of trying. It is a fairly common condition, as about 15% of couples are unable to conceive even after a year of having unprotected intercourse. Getting pregnant but getting multiple miscarriages or stillbirths can also be considered infertility.  

There may be other symptoms of infertility, except for not getting pregnant. For some infertile women, they may have irregular or no menstrual periods at all. For some infertile men, they may show signs of hormonal defects, including erectile dysfunction

Before referring you to undergo fertility tests, most doctors would prefer you to have regular intercourse without contraception for a year. Regular intercourse means around 2 to 3 times a week.

Causes of Infertility

Sometimes, the issue that causes infertility may present at birth or may develop later in life. The cause of the condition may be one or both partners.

  • In about 1/3 of cases, the issue is with the man.
  • In about 1/3 of cases, the issue is with the woman.
  • The rest of the cases may find issues with both the man and the woman, or in some instances, there is no cause found.

Here are some of the most common causes of infertility for men and women:

Male Infertility Causes

  • Abnormal sperm production caused by genetic problems, health problems, infections, or undescended testicles
  • An issue with sperm delivery caused by genetic diseases, structural problems, reproductive organ damage, or premature ejaculation
  • Lifestyle habits and exposure to environmental factors, such as chemicals and radiation
  • Underlying health conditions and taking medications
  • Damage brought by cancer and radiation or chemotherapy treatment

Female Infertility Causes

  • Ovulation disorder, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hyperprolactinemia, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism
  • Uterine or cervical defects or abnormalities
  • Damaged or blocked fallopian tube caused by inflammation
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic adhesions that can form after surgery for appendicitis, endometriosis, abdominal, or pelvic conditions 
  • Early menopause
  • Presence of tumor in the body
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Damage brought by cancer and radiation or chemotherapy treatment

When You Should Get Help

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Again, how long does it take to get pregnant? If you’ve already been trying for a year and are still not conceiving, you should see a doctor. Since you’re battling with time when it comes to conception, prolonging medical attention can lower the chance of fertility treatments. Hence, the primary advice is to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, if you’re 35 years or up and have been trying for six months, you should immediately seek a doctor. You can still conceive on your own by this time, but it’s always best to consult your doctor.

Treatments for Infertility

There are various treatments for infertility that specialists may offer. Sometimes, you may undergo a combination of treatments to get the best results. The treatment method may depend on several factors, including age, cause of infertility, and overall health.

If it’s taking too long on how long does it take to get pregnant, the cause may be infertility. Here are some of the most common treatment methods for infertility.

Medicine

Some medicines can stimulate the ovary to release an egg, including:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone
  • Clomifene
  • Metformin
  • Bromocriptine
  • Letrozole
  • Gonadotropin

These medications can help you get on the right timeline on how long does it take to get pregnant. To note, these medications can increase the risk of giving birth to twins or multiple babies. Some medicines can increase the sperm count of men.

Surgery

In some cases, the effective treatment for male and female infertility may be undergoing a surgical procedure. Surgery may fix a woman’s problem with the ovaries or uterus. For men, an operation may clear up a sperm blockage, retrieve semen from the reproductive tracts, or fix a varicocele.

Artificial or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Artificial insemination or intrauterine insemination is an infertility treatment method that is growing in popularity. What happens during IUI is the man produces sperm, which the doctor injects through a catheter into the uterus. The doctor will conduct this around the time when the woman would be ovulating. She may also take medicine beforehand to help her ovulate on the timeline of how long does it take to get pregnant.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

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Assisted reproductive technology or ART is the process of combining the egg and sperm outside the body. The primary and most popular type of ART is in vitro fertilization or IVF.

Before undergoing IVF, the woman will undergo a series of injections first to help the ovaries produce many eggs. Once the eggs mature, the doctor will acquire it through a surgical procedure. After that, the eggs will be combined and fertilized with the partner’s sperm. The formed embryo would be grown in the laboratory before transferring it into the uterus.

The process shortens the required time needed on how long does it take to get pregnant. Some other common types of ARTs are:

  • Assisted hatching: The process involves opening the embryo cover to help it implant with more ease in the uterus.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): The process involves injecting a healthy sperm into an egg.
  • Egg or sperm donors: Couples can get a healthy egg or sperm from a donor if there’s an issue with either.
  • Gestational carrier: A surrogate mother would carry your baby to term.

These treatment methods can either follow or not follow the regular timeline of how long does it take to get pregnant.

The Takeaway on How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant

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The journey on how long does it take to get pregnant can be an unexpected one. While some couples may conceive with ease, some may take longer, especially if there are present issues with either the man or woman. Even if you follow your period calendar on how long does it take to get pregnant, you may still find challenges in conceiving. In this case, it is best to seek a medical professional for help.

There are what we consider miracle babies who women give birth when there seems to be no chance at all. Hence, giving up is not an option as long as there are no detrimental consequences to the couple.

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