How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant?
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If you're asking this question, chances are you're not numbered among those for whom the answer is 'just one time'. While it is theoretically simple (and fun) to become pregnant, it isn't always so easy as pouring a glass of wine, toasting your partner, and hoping for the best. For a woman who is trying to conceive, the length of time between deciding to have a baby and getting the good news that she's pregnant can seem like an eternity.
Assuming everything is working as it should, a couple of months of trying is often sufficient. However, even healthy couples with no obvious problems can find themselves staring in disappointment at yet another lone, pink line on the pregnancy test. There are several factors in play when trying to guess how long it will be before that first bout of morning sickness takes hold.
Becoming pregnant can be affected by age
Fertility follows a curve. From the time a woman reaches puberty (when she first becomes fertile), the chance of becoming pregnant with natural intercourse increases each year until she reaches her mid-twenties. After that, the curve begins to bend downward and successful pregnancy becomes less likely with each passing year. The older a woman is, the smaller the chance of becoming and staying pregnant. Past the age of 35, a woman is considered to be of "advanced age" for childbearing. An older woman should certainly not lose hope of becoming a mother (as many a shocked 45 year-old can attest), but she can expect it to take a few more months to conceive than it would have taken when she was 25, especially if she has never been pregnant before.
Reproductive health affects how long it takes to become pregnant
Endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and many other medical conditions can affect a woman's ability to become pregnant. It can take longer to become pregnant after ceasing to use oral contraceptives (because your body may take some time to adjust) than if you had been using other forms of contraception or were abstinent before deciding to try to have a baby. The best way to determine that these things won't hinder your plans is to keep your yearly exam appointments with your doctor or other caregiver.
A woman and her partner's overall well-being affects reproductive health
Excessive caffeine intake, for instance, is known to both lower the chances of conception and raise the risk of early miscarriage. Lifestyle choices have profound effects on reproductive health. Getting enough sleep, taking prenatal supplements, reducing stress, and limiting substances like alcohol and caffeine can reduce the number of months you have to wait.
Unfortunately, there's no way to know how long it will take any given woman to conceive. Some women defy all odds and become pregnant even while trying to prevent it, while others who seem to be perfectly healthy and doing everything "right" find themselves in need of medical assistance. If you've been trying for more than four to six months, a fertility specialist may be able to help. Often, getting pregnant is just a matter of luck. Sometimes everything is just the way it should be, but sperm and egg don't get together when they ought to due to blind chance. The only cure for this is to try, and try again.