The length of pregnancy is fairly fixed, usually lasting 37-40 weeks. However, the amount of time to get there varies from couple to couple. We break down how long it takes to get pregnant, and more importantly, what you can do to conceive quicker.
There are people who say that baking is a science, and it’s hard to disagree. Every baked good needs exact measurements and the right amount of time in the oven, much like a science experiment.
This is similar to trying for a child, where many couples closely observe the menstrual cycle to pin down their fertile window for unprotected sex.
Let’s recount the basic facts of conception: A pregnancy usually lasts for 37 to 40 weeks.
However, the process to get pregnant isn’t straightforward. There are many factors involved, and it can take months of trying — or years — before you succeed (even with regular sex on your most fertile days).
With that said, all the effort you and your partner put in is worth it once you see the positive result on your home pregnancy test and experience early pregnancy symptoms.
Because knowledge is power, especially when it comes to trying for a baby, we detail how long it takes to get pregnant and what you can do to put yourself on the fast track to success.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice.
What Is the Average Time to Get Pregnant? ⏳
As mentioned above, how long it takes to get pregnant varies from person to person because everyone’s conception timeline is uniquely theirs.
Some couples might just need one cycle while others require up to a year of trying — or longer.
Generally, 84% of people get pregnant after a year of unprotected sexual intercourse. This number rises to 92% after two years of unprotected sexual intercourse, and 93% after three years.
In the next few sections, you’d learn how the conception timeline differs based on your age.
How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant if You’re Below 35 Years Old?
Time is of the essence when you’re trying to get pregnant because your chances of conceiving decline as you age:
- Below 30 years old: You have an 85% chance of conceiving within a year.
- At 30 years old: Your odds of conceiving drop to 75%. This is partly due to the limited amount of eggs you have, starting with 1-2 million at birth before dropping through the years. By the time you reach puberty, you only have 300,000 to 500,000 eggs left.
How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant if You’re 35 Years Old and Above?
It’s a common preconception that you’ll have more difficulty conceiving as you age.
Like what we’d talked about in the previous section, the number of eggs in your ovaries decreases the closer you get to menopause. Case in point: You’re only left with about 25,000 eggs when you’re 37 years old.
Furthermore, the quality of your eggs dips as you grow older. Experts from the obstetrics and gynecology fields haven’t determined why. But they suspect it might be due to the fluctuating hormone levels in your body.
No matter the cause, the reality is that it takes longer to get pregnant when you’re 35 years old and above. However, there are at-home fertility aids you can use to make this process more seamless.
Enter the twoplus Fertility Applicator Extra, a self-insemination syringe that deposits semen higher up the vaginal tract. This helps sperm to avoid the acidic environment of the lower vaginal tract, increasing the odds of the swimmers surviving to meet the egg.
When Is My Best Chance To Conceive?
It can take months of trying before you see any symptoms of pregnancy. But there’s a way to boost your chances: Have unprotected sex during your fertile window.
When you’re ovulating, your body releases a mature egg ready to be fertilized by the sperm. Your uterine lining thickens, so it’s easier for the fertilized egg to attach itself to the uterine lining and grow into a fully developed baby.
There are early signs of ovulation you can look out for. Common ones include:
- An increased sex drive
- Clear and/or slippery cervical mucus (AKA vaginal discharge)
- Tender breasts
- Mild abdominal discomfort or pain
To confirm whether you’ve entered your fertile window, you can use an ovulation test kit or ovulation calculator.
Related article: How To Track Your Ovulation and Boost Your Odds of Pregnancy
How Long Does It Take for Sperm To Reach the Egg?
Now that you know the best time to have sex is during your fertile window, it also pays to understand how long it takes for sperm to reach the egg.
This happens quickly, with sperm being able to reach the fallopian tubes just five minutes after ejaculation or at-home insemination! 🤯 A steady amount of sperm could be found in the tubes 15-45 minutes after that.
What’s more, sperm can live for 4-5 days after entering the cervix and uterus, enhancing your pregnancy odds.
From there, all that’s left is for your partner’s swimmers to fertilize the egg.
However, many sperm die in the vagina because of the lower vaginal tract’s acidic environment. This is why it’s important for semen to be deposited as close to the upper vaginal tract as possible.
How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant After Coming Off Birth Control?
People use birth control for various reasons, be it to prevent unwanted pregnancies or as part of family planning. But one key thing to note: After you stop using contraceptives, it takes time to become fertile again.
As the table above shows, it can take as long as eight menstrual cycles if you used injectable contraceptives or as little as two cycles if you used an IUD.
In the meantime, what your partner can do is keep their reproductive health in tip-top condition through fertility-focused lifestyle changes like a healthy diet.
Think of it as doing the prep work before you start baking some cookies 😉
If You Have Fertility Issues, How Long Will It Take to Get Pregnant?
Fertility problems like a low sperm count, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and endometriosis impact how long it takes to get pregnant.
Here’s the lowdown for several common fertility problems:
1. Unexplained Infertility
Unexplained infertility is diagnosed when a couple’s reproductive health is in good condition, but they can’t conceive after trying for 6-12 months.
Still, not all hope is lost: The chances of conceiving range between 13-15% after one year of trying, and 35% after two years.
2. Erectile Dysfunction
While erectile dysfunction (ED) usually doesn’t affect male fertility parameters like sperm count or incite infertility, it can lengthen the time taken to get pregnant.
ED refers to the inability to achieve or maintain an erection, which makes ejaculating into the vagina challenging for male-identified folks.
That’s not to say it’s impossible to get pregnant with ED, though.
According to a number of studies focusing on intravaginal insemination (IVI), there’s still a 25-65% chance of conceiving when couples use this fertility treatment.
Your fertility specialist may also prescribe medications to help manage the symptoms of ED so it’s easier to get pregnant with this condition.
Related article: Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments
PCOS is a women’s health issue in which the body produces excess androgen (a male hormone).
Fortunately, treatments are available, and studies have reported a conception rate of 22% per each cycle of clomiphene citrate (an ovulation-inducing medication).
Although fertility problems are scary, there’s usually a solution for every issue.
Consult your fertility specialist or OB-GYN, and they’ll recommend the right treatments or lifestyle changes to help you shorten the time to pregnancy. Extra time, effort, and money might be needed, but the door to conception isn’t completely shut.
What Are Some Things That Can Affect Your Fertility? 🤔
Your fertility is impacted by several factors, which also affect how long it takes to get pregnant. We list the top three ones below.
We’ve detailed how age affects a woman’s fertility, with the number and quality of eggs declining over the years.
However, people who ejaculate also experience age-related declines too. For example, the concentration of sperm in semen decreases with age. Likewise, for other key semen parameters like sperm motility (AKA how well the sperm move) and sperm morphology (AKA their shape and size).
Related article: All You Need To Know About TTC With Low Sperm Motility
2. Health Issues
Health issues can also extend the time you take to get pregnant. They reduce your chances of conceiving while increasing the time needed for a positive pregnancy test.
Common medical problems that directly affect your fertility:
Common health conditions that indirectly impact your fertility are:
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are associated with missed menstrual cycles and premature menopause. The number of fertile days you now have is much lower than someone without the disease.
Autoimmune diseases could dampen your fertility levels. One study cited that “fertility is impaired in women with active Crohn’s disease.” It also highlighted that people with inflammatory bowel disease prior to conceiving have a lower pregnancy success rate.
How healthy you are impacts your fertility and, by extension, your pregnancy timeline.
Take cigarette smoking, for one. One study featured in the Journal of Environmental Epidemiology shared that:
- Smoking is linked to lower semen volume and sperm count.
- Quitting smoking might improve sperm quality.
- Lower sperm quality can potentially lengthen the time taken to get pregnant.
Alcohol consumption is a big no-no as well, with a 2017 study determining there’s no safe amount for pregnant individuals and people trying to conceive 😳
How Can I Get Pregnant Faster?
1. Go for a Fertility Checkup
Firstly, visit a reliable healthcare provider for a fertility checkup. This gives you and your partner more clarity on your reproductive health while revealing any roadblocks to your fertility journey.
No matter the results, the information is useful for your OB-GYN and primary care physician to suggest treatments and solutions personalized to your unique health needs.
2. Adopt a Fertility-Focused Lifestyle
Next, adopt healthy lifestyle habits that can set you up for pregnancy success.
As mentioned earlier, it’s best to stop smoking and consume less alcohol. Additionally, track your ovulation so you know when your fertile days are every month.
These actions might not seem like much on their own, but every little thing you do does add up.
3. Try At-Home Fertility Aids
Lastly, you can use a fertility aid like twoplus Fertility’s Sperm Guide to put yourself in a better position for pregnancy.
The Sperm Guide is an easy-to-use conception kit. It helps prevent semen from leaking out after sex while retaining your partner’s swimmers closer to the cervix.
All you need to do is insert this home fertility aid into the vagina and have procreative sex as usual.
It’s All About Timing, Timing, Timing ⏱️
How long it takes to get pregnant is a deceptively simple question.
There are a ton of variables affecting the amount of time you need to conceive, including age, lifestyle, and underlying health conditions. Fortunately, the wealth of information and quality of medical care today means the door is never completely shut to your dreams of having a child.
To boost your chances of conceiving and getting pregnant more quickly, there are several best practices you can adopt. These include regularly having unprotected sex during your fertile window, consulting a trusted healthcare professional before and during your conception journey, and taking good care of your overall health.
There might not be a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to knowing how long it’ll take you to get pregnant, but there’s definitely much you can do to stack the deck in your favor ✨