How long does it take to get pregnant?

woman holding pregnancy test

by Samantha Ball |
Updated on

Trying for a baby isn't always the easy ride we hope it's going to be, and it can be disheartening when that positive pregnancy test takes longer than you'd hoped. However relaxed you try to be about the process, it can be hard to ignore the worry that there might be something wrong. One statistic that might put your mind at rest is that most couples having regular sex – that is twice or more a week – will get pregnant within a year.

When to seek help

Ready for the facts? Around 84 per cent of couples will get pregnant within a year of trying and 92 per cent will do within two years. If you break it down further, around 17-20 per cent of couples will get pregnant within that first cycle, so for you, it may happen very quickly.

The point at which couples should visit their GP largely depends on the age of the woman. couples should visit their GP.

‘If you’re in your 20s or early 30s, having regular periods and you are generally fit and well, there is not much point going to see the GP in that first year of trying to conceive,’ explains Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, from the Royal College of General Practitioners. ‘If you are over 35, you may want to go to the GP sooner, say at nine months or so, because we know fertility declines with age.’

It's also a good idea to use an ovulation calculator to work out the days you are most fertile.

In those older couples, it’s better to start any investigations sooner rather than later, aswaiting lists for fertility treatment can a be a long process.

What factors affect fertility?

Fertility problems do affect one in seven couples in the UK. As a nation, we’re choosing to have babies later and later, which has knock-on effects on how easy we find it to conceive, especially for women over the age of 35.

Other factors that may have an impact on how quickly you get pregnant include medical conditions, such as endometriosisand polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as low sperm count in men and being very under or overweight. Coming off the Pill should not delay things once your periods have returned.

If you are worried that these or any other factors may impact their chances of having a baby, it’s best to visit the GP and get further advice.

Can you get pregnant from pre-cum?

Yes, it is possible to get pregnant from pre-cum.

Before climaxing, men release pre-cum (also known as pre-ejaculation), a fluid that comes out right before semen. Although pre-cum doesn't contain any sperm itself, it is possible for pre-cum to mix with semen that may be leftover in the urethra, potentially resulting in pregnancy.

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