If you’re trying to get pregnant right now, there’s probably one question at the forefront of your mind: how long does it take to get pregnant after sex?
We spoke with embryologist and fertility expert, Navya Muralidhar, to get the full low-down on how long it takes to get pregnant, and how soon you can tell if you’re pregnant after sex.
In this article: 📝
- How long after sex does it take to get pregnant?
- How long does conception take?
- When does implantation occur?
- How many days after sex will I know if I’m pregnant?
- Is it likely to get pregnant after sex?
- What to do after sex to conceive
- What to do after sex to prevent pregnancy
- Signs of pregnancy after sex
- So, how long does it take to get pregnant after sex then?
How long after sex does it take to get pregnant?
If you’re TTC (trying to conceive), you may be at the phase when you’re rushing home to get down, not because you’re a hot new couple but because this little act (yes, it’s okay to admit that it might be losing its charm) has to happen right now, while you’re ovulating.
It’s no longer “what do want for breakfast in the morning?” but it’s “how long does it take to get pregnant after unprotected sex?”
Οr, on the other hand, you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, and are hoping with all your might that the answer to the question, “how long after sex does implantation occur?” is “it doesn’t in your case”.
If this is you, firstly, try not to get yourself knotted with anxiety.
Many of us have been there at some point in time.
Whatever perspective you’re coming from, you may find the answer to “how long after sex does it take to get pregnant” somewhat unsatisfying.
That’s because this is one of those “how long is a piece of string” questions, except this is not just any string.
This kind of string is the having-a-baby kind of string.
And that’s some serious string.
How long does conception take?
- Timing, ie. sex should happen when you’re ovulating, or just before, just at that fertility window;
- Matching, ie. the egg and the sperm who are going to join forces to make your baby are into the idea.
With this state of affairs, one might think that it happens in a flash.
Egg + Sperm = Instant Baby-To-Be
Alas, nothing pregnancy-related is this simple.
Even when you have the perfect match at the perfect time, it could still take up to a week (yes, you heard that right) for the pregnancy to start.
So hold on, how long does conception take? And how long after sex does it take place?
How long does it take sperm to reach egg?
It can take anywhere from minutes to hours for sperm to reach a waiting egg at the fallopian tube.
Can you get pregnant the same day you conceive?
After sex, it can take up to about 12 hours for the sperm to fertilize your egg.
Then, the fertilized egg (embryo) has to implant in your uterus in order for you to be classed as officially pregnant.
So usually, it’s a few days (up to about a week) that you’re pregnant after sex.
How long does it take after conception to become pregnant?
Generally speaking, it can take up to a week to become pregnant after conception, as the fertilized egg has to then implant itself in your uterus.
Can you feel the process of conception?
No, you can’t feel conception, when your egg becomes fertilized by sperm and becomes an embryo.
But you may feel a few implantation symptoms soon after, like:
When does implantation occur?
So, how long after sex does implantation occur? Here’s the lowdown.
After your romantic evening (or morning, or afternoon, depending on your preference), and provided there are no obstacles like condoms in the way, sperm trek up to your fallopian tubes where they’re like, “Hey? Hello? Any eggs around? Anyone keen to go into partnership with me on this venture?”
(Remember that there are loads of them, like, 100-200 million of them, and that they can hang around there for a few days. They’re keen to make this happen.)
If you’re ovulating, there will likely be an egg either waiting or on its way to take them up on the offer.
The egg essentially has a timeframe of 12 to 24 hours where it can be fertilized.
That means, if pregnancy is something you’re looking for in your life, get in tune (as far as possible, it’s not easy of course) with your menstrual cycle.
You’ll be wanting to have sex just before or during ovulation.
And remember, those sperm are happy to wait around for about 5 days after sex to get the job done.
How long does implantation take after sex?
Generally, once your egg has been fertilized by a sperm on a mission, it can take about 5-10 days for your new embryo to implant itself in your uterus.
How many days after sex will I know if I’m pregnant?
Well, it depends when you have sex, at what point in your ovulation cycle you have sex, and how long your ovulation cycle usually takes.
The average ovulation cycle is around 28 days, with your peak ovulation time (your fertile window) coming in at around halfway through (day 10-14).
If you have sex in that fertile window, there’s a chance you’ll know you’re pregnant about a week.
This space of time is called the two-week wait (TWW or 2WW).
How long after sex before pregnancy test?
It depends on when you have sex and at what point in your menstrual cycle you are.
But, generally speaking, to get the most accurate pregnancy test results, the day after your period is expected to start is the best time.
Is it likely to get pregnant after sex?
The likelihood of you getting pregnant is dependent on a lot of factors ‒ your age, the regularity of your menstrual cycle, your lifestyle, diet, stress levels… the list goes on!
But if you’re after details of how likely you are to get pregnant after sex at different points in your cycle, here’s a handy breakdown:
- Day 1: < 1% chance (first day of period)
- Day 2: < 1% chance
- Day 3: < 1% chance
- Day 4: < 1% chance
- Day 5: < 1% chance
- Day 6: < 1% chance
- Day 7: Around 3% chance
- Day 8: Around 6% chance
- Day 9: Around 9% chance
- Day 10: Around 18% chance (start of fertile window)
- Day 11: Around 27% chance
- Day 12: Around 33% chance
- Day 13: Around 42% chance
- Day 14: Around 20% chance (ovulation day)
- Day 15: Around 8% chance
- Day 16: < 1% chance
- Day 17: < 1% chance
- Day 18: < 1% chance
- Day 19: < 1% chance
- Day 20: < 1% chance
- Day 21: < 1% chance
- Day 22: < 1% chance
- Day 23: < 1% chance
- Day 24: < 1% chance
- Day 25: < 1% chance
- Day 26: < 1% chance
- Day 27: < 1% chance
- Day 28: < 1% chance
Now, this is a generic breakdown of your chances of getting pregnant, and not to be used as a definitive way of getting pregnant or in place of birth control.
Your ovulation cycle may be different from the above, and even less than 1% chance is still a chance of getting pregnant.
Can you get pregnant the first time you have sex?
Yes, first-time sex can cause pregnancy.
If you don’t want to get pregnant while having sex, you’ll have to use a form of birth control that works for you, your body, and your lifestyle.
But it’s worth noting that there’s no such thing as 100% effective birth control.
What to do after sex to conceive
If you’re trying to conceive (TTC), you might be keen to try every trick in the book to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Here are a few things to do after sex that may increase your chances of conceiving:
- Lie down for 10-15 minutes after sex.
- Do what you can to reduce your stress levels, like meditation.
- Cut down your caffeine.
- Try our recommended fertility foods or a fertility diet.
If you tend to visit the bathroom to pee after sex, that won’t impact your chances of getting pregnant.
But if you’re trying to get pregnant, aim to lie down after sex before you pop to the toilet.
How long should I lay down after insemination?
If you’re TTC, you won’t have to lie down after sex for very long ‒ just 10-15 minutes should be plenty.
Sleeping position to help implantation
Okay, so there isn’t a “best” sleeping position to help implantation.
But did you know that your sleeping position can influence where in your uterus your embryo ends up implanting?
According to this 2002 study, whether mamas-to-be were sleeping on their left, right, back, or front did have an impact on where their embryo was implanted.
Mamas who slept on their back tended to have implantations higher in their uterus.
What to do after sex to prevent pregnancy
Not everyone who has sex wants to get pregnant.
If you’re keen to do whatever you can to avoid pregnancy, there’s nothing that’s 100%, but using several types of birth control can be more effective, like using a condom while taking the birth control pill.
If you’re not using birth control and you don’t want to get pregnant, the next best step is the emergency contraception pill, also known as the “morning-after” pill, which you can get at most pharmacies.
Signs of pregnancy after sex
You probably won’t be able to tell if you’re pregnant immediately after sex, or even after a week or two.
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Pooping more than usual
- More discharge
- Increased body temperature
- Sensitive sense of smell
- Tender breasts
But as some of these can just be signs of a normal menstrual cycle, it’s hard to tell if you’re pregnant just by the early pregnancy symptoms.
So it’s better to wait two weeks after sex, then take a pregnancy test (first thing in the morning is the best time).
So, how long does it take to get pregnant after sex then?
Ultimately, the world of conception is a sticky one (um, no pun intended).
So many factors come into play in terms of how quickly it will happen for you.
Age, health, and the time of the month you have sex are just some of the considerations.
We know that trying to conceive can be stressful, so make sure you have a support system around you that will be there every step of the way.
And if you don’t already have a support system, find yours on Peanut.