If you’ve been trying for a while or you’re just coming off birth control, you might be curious… how long does it take to get pregnant?
Trying to conceive (aka TTC) is an exciting stage for many couples, but it’s also one that might last longer than you expect.
In a recent study, 44% of people said getting pregnant took longer than they expected.
And 1 in 8 women will experience difficulty getting pregnant.
If you’re hoping to become a parent soon, waiting for that positive pregnancy test can feel like forever.
But how long does it take you to get pregnant?
The truth is, the answer varies for different people.
You might want to look at the stats of getting pregnant, but there are lots of factors at play here, specific to each woman.
Knowing more about these factors can help you make sense of the process.
We spoke with embryologist and fertility expert, Navya Muralidhar, to get the full low-down on how long it takes to get pregnant.
In this article: 📝
- How long does it take to conceive?
- How long does it take to get pregnant with fertility treatments?
- How long after stopping birth control can you get pregnant?
- What are the chances of getting pregnant?
- How can I improve my chances of getting pregnant?
- What if it’s taking longer to get pregnant?
How long does it take to conceive?
Okay, just how long does it take to conceive a baby?
First, we’ll kick things off with a quick biology lesson.
We know from sex ed that pregnancy is what happens after a sperm fertilizes an egg.
But beyond that, the details get kinda hazy.
How long does it take to get pregnant immediately after sex?
It might surprise you to learn that pregnancy doesn’t start the day you have sex.
A few things need to happen for sex to result in pregnancy.
First, the woman’s ovaries have to release an egg (ovulation). And then the sperm has to reach the egg to fertilize it.
The key thing to know here is that sperm can survive in the female body for up to 72 hours!
So if you have sex 3 days before ovulation, some of that sperm might still be able to fertilize the egg even though it’s been a few days since you had sex.
But just because the egg is fertilized doesn’t mean you’re pregnant.
Fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes (the tubes linking a woman’s ovaries and uterus).
Once the sperm and egg join, it can take another three or four days for the fertilized egg to grow into an embryo and move from the fallopian tube to the uterus and implant itself in the uterus lining.
Pregnancy begins during this “implantation”.
That’s the magic moment when a mama’s body starts to release pregnancy hormones.
So, if you’re wondering, “If you just had sex, can you feel pregnant after 2 days?,” the answer is no.
Had sex a couple of days ago and feeling queasy?
It might be something you ate last night, not morning sickness… yet!
How long does it take on average to get pregnant?
If you’re trying for a baby, it can help to know the average time it takes to get pregnant so you know what to expect.
Lots of people want to know, can you get pregnant on the first try?
Yes, you can, and the chances of getting pregnant on the first try is about 30%. Not bad odds.
But it’s also very normal for it to take longer.
The majority of people trying to conceive will get pregnant within a year.
Stats on how long it takes to conceive do get more precise than this though: a study on couples timing sex around ovulation found the following:
- After one month, 38% were pregnant.
- After three months, 68% were pregnant.
- After six months, 81% were pregnant.
- After 12 months, 92% were pregnant.
Average time to get pregnant by age
As for the average time to get pregnant by age, there haven’t been any verified studies that give an exact figure of how many weeks it will take.
However, experts agree that expectations can look like this:
- Aged 19 to 26: 92% of couples conceive after 1 year and 98% after 2 years.
- Aged 35 to 39: 82% of couples conceive after 1 year and 90% after 2 years.
Average time to get pregnant with second child
What if you already have a beautiful baby and you want to try for another?
How long will it take to get pregnant with a second child (or third, fourth, fifth…)?
The average time to get pregnant with second child is at least 18 months.
However, some couples find it harder to get pregnant a second time ‒ this is called secondary infertility.
What if you want to start TTC again straightaway? How long after birth can you get pregnant?
Well, it all comes down to how fertile are you after birth ‒ some women can get pregnant just 3 weeks postpartum!
How long does it take to get pregnant after abortion?
It might surprise you to learn that you can actually safely start trying to conceive pretty soon after having an abortion.
As in your next fertile window, which could be even as little as a week after your procedure.
However, it does depend on the type of abortion ‒ a medical abortion tends not to influence your ovulation cycle, but a surgical abortion can cause some scarring, which can have a higher risk of complications.
If you’d like to start trying to conceive after an abortion, it’s best to speak with you healthcare provider for the next steps.
How long does it take to get pregnant with fertility treatments?
What if you’re trying to conceive with the help of a fertility treatment? How long will it take to get pregnant then?
Well, it depends!
The chances of a successful pregnancy change based on the type of fertility treatment, your health, lifestyle choices, and circumstances.
How long does it take to get pregnant with IVF?
IVF (or in vitro fertilization) is when you take your mature eggs and your partner’s or a donor’s sperm, then they are fertilized in a lab, then put into your uterus.
For 50% of women under 35 undergoing IVF treatment, it can take just two months to get pregnant.
For the rest of people trying IVF, it can take anywhere from 3 months to several years ‒ there are lots of factors to influence how long it takes to get pregnant with IVF.
How long does it take to get pregnant with IUI?
IUI is intruterine insemination, where ‘concentrated’ amounts of motile sperm are artificially inserted into your uterus using a long, thin tube called a catheter.
IUI can take as long as it takes to get pregnant naturally ‒ but if the first try doesn’t work, it could be worth waiting until your next fertile window.
How long does it take to get pregnant on Metformin?
Metformin is not actually a fertility drug ‒ it’s original use is a diabetes treatment, but it has been used as a fertility treatment, particularly with those who have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
While there’s not much information on how effective Metformin actually is, some claim that it can increase fertility and your chances of getting pregnant within around 60-90 days.
How long does it take to get pregnant with Fertilaid?
FertilAid isn’t actually a fertility treatment in the strictest sense of the word.
It’s more like a fertility supplement ‒ a herbal fertility aid.
FertilAid themselves say that it takes up to 3 months for it to be working to its full potential, but that it can take up to 6 months of taking the supplement to get pregnant.
As with all fertility supplements and treatments, there are no guarantees.
How long after stopping birth control can you get pregnant?
If you’ve just come off the pill, IUD, or another form of birth control, how long does it take to get pregnant then?
Let’s break it down.
How long does it take to get pregnant after IUD removal?
You might have heard stories of people getting pregnant immediately after IUD removal, and you’re here thinking, why am I not getting pregnant after IUD removal?
So how soon can you get pregnant after IUD removal?
Well, you start ovulating after getting your IUD removed at about 10-14 days after, but on average, it can take up to 4-7 months to actually conceive.
How long does it take to get pregnant after Mirena?
Mirena is a type of IUD, so if you’re keen to get pregnant immediately after Mirena removal and you’re wondering how long to get pregnant after Mirena, it’s the same ‒ around 4-7 months, on average.
How soon can you get pregnant after stopping the pill?
The pill is one of the most popular forms of birth control, but how long does it take to get pregnant after stopping the pill?
And can you get pregnant right after stopping the pill? It is possible, but not all that common.
Most of the time, you can get pregnant within 1-3 months of stopping the pill.
What are the chances of getting pregnant first month off birth control pill? About 40%, increasing to 99%!
What are the chances of getting pregnant?
So now we know how long it takes to get pregnant, but that doesn’t tell us much about your actual chance of getting pregnant.
Some couples become pregnant quickly, while for others it takes longer.
This may be frustrating and upsetting, but it’s also very normal.
Factors that can affect your chance of conceiving include:
- General health
- Reproductive health
- How often you have sex
Yup, age is a factor — but it’s not the only one.
It’s true that women are at their most fertile in their early twenties (when for some, babies aren’t even on the radar).
Women under age 25 have a 96% chance of conceiving in a year, if they’re trying each month.
By age 35, the chance of getting pregnant drops to 86% within a year, which is still high!
How likely is it to get pregnant the first time you try?
While there’s not much research into how long it takes to get pregnant after the first specific time of trying, the chances of getting pregnant in the first month is about 30%.
This then increases to 75% after 6 months, and 90% after one year.
How can I improve my chances of getting pregnant?
Age is one factor you can’t change.
But there are real things you can do that reduce the average time it takes to get pregnant.
The first has to do with when you have sex.
Once the egg is released from the ovary, it stays in the fallopian tube for about 24 hours.
So, it’s helpful to know when you’re ovulating, to make the most of this fertile
The best way to tell when you’re ovulating is an ovulation test.
This detects the surge of a hormone called LH (luteinizing hormone) that increases 24-36 hours before ovulation.
This makes it easier to time sex to get pregnant.
You can also track your cycle on a calendar and check for symptoms such as egg white cervical mucus and increased basal body temperature.
However, some people find it stressful to do all this tracking and testing.
If that’s you, just aim to have sex every 2-3 days throughout the month.
Since sperm can live in the fallopian tubes for 72 hours, having sex every 2-3 days gives you a good shot of having sperm ready when the egg is released.
Another factor that helps with minimizing the average time it takes to get pregnant is looking after you.
You’re more likely to get pregnant if both you and your partner are in good health.
Things that might help include: eating healthily, quitting smoking, and drinking less.
What if it’s taking longer to get pregnant?
If you’ve been trying for a baby for over a year without getting pregnant, experts recommend seeing your healthcare provider for advice.
This doesn’t mean you won’t conceive.
After two years, 90% of couples conceive on their own.
If you’re in that remaining 10%, you’ve still got a 1 in 2 chance of pregnancy within three years of trying.
That leaves only 5% of couples who don’t conceive on their own after three years of trying.
Talking to a doctor can help you identify what’s happening, and many couples find these answers help them as they continue trying for a baby.
So how long does it take to get pregnant? Well, it’s a pretty big range.
Even if it’s taking longer to get pregnant, there are still options out there to help you and your partner conceive, and speaking to a medical professional can help you get on the road to pregnancy.