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The length of time it takes to get pregnant is different for each couple. Your health, lifestyle and age all need to be considered when you start trying for a baby.
It's worth remembering that if you have regular intercourse without protection:
25% will conceive in the first month
60% within six months
75% within nine months
80% within a year
90% within 18 months
So if you are under 35 and have had sex every two to three days without protection for a year and haven't fallen pregnant, it's probably time to seek medical help. If you are over 35, you should ideally seek medical advice after six months of trying.
However, timing sex around ovulation will improve your chances of getting pregnant. Ovulation Calendar will help you work out your most fertile times.
What does 'my most fertile period' mean?When a man ejaculates he releases about 300 million sperm but only a few hundred will actually reach the egg. After ovulation (which is usually about 12 to 14 days before your next period) an egg can only be fertilized if it is penetrated by a sperm one to two days before ovulation and 24 hours afterwards. This is because sperm cells can live for 2-3 days but an egg only lives for 24 hours unless it is fertilized.
ConceptionFertilization happens when a sperm meets and penetrates an egg. The fertilized egg then divides repeatedly before implanting itself into the lining of the uterus. The pregnancy is now established and the placenta will start to form.
If you know exactly when you ovulate you stand a much greater chance of conceiving. The time in which you have intercourse has a huge bearing on getting pregnant or not, because your fertile window is made up of only a few days each month when pregnancy is possible. Sperm can survive for a maximum of five days inside a woman and your ovum or egg survives for one day. This means that your fertile period is six days long - from five days before you ovulate and one day after. Pregnancy is possible on any one of these six days but your chances will increase if you have intercourse on the three days immediately leading up to and including your ovulation day. So this means you have a practical fertile window of just three days.
Most women ovulate 12-14 days before the end of their period, so it is easier to work out when you are most fertile if you keep a track of your cycle for a few months and make a note of how long your cycle lasts and the first day of each period. If you have a regular cycle that averages 28 days you can count back from the end of each cycle and predict ovulation at somewhere between 12-14 days.
Do I have a 'normal' ovulation cycle?Most guides to getting pregnant are based on the 28 day cycle average because this is how long most women's cycles last for. If your cycle lasts between 23 and 35 days it is considered 'normal', especially if it has no more then a weeks variation from month to month. The problem exists if you have a very irregular cycle, because it is hard to predict when you are most fertile. If this is the case you may need to use an ovulation predictor kit, although these may not be suitable for all women. Talk to your GP if your cycle is irregular and you need help working out when you ovulate.
Simply input your details into our Ovulation Calendar and it will work out your fertile days over the coming months.
If you are over 35, it is recommended that you seek medical advice after six months of trying. If you have experienced two or more miscarriages or have irregular or painful periods, make an appointment with your GP or a fertility expert. The same goes if your partner experiences a decreased sex drive, ejaculation problems or impotence.
Other common fertility problems can include: Ovulation problems, Endometriosis, Pelvic Adhesions, Uterine Fibroids or Polyps. Surprisingly perhaps, the environment can also have an impact.
It is perfectly normal for couples to take up to a year to conceive so don't worry too much if you are a few months in and nothing seems to be happening.
Your weightIt goes without saying that the healthier you are, the more likely you are to conceive. One of the common reasons for infertility in the UK is your weight. Being overweight may cause insulin levels to rise in your body, which may cause your ovaries to over produce male hormones such as testosterone, which can cause ovulation problems. Studies from the British Medical Journal found that women with an 'apple' shape had more difficulty conceiving than those with a 'pear shape'. If you are too thin, your body can also stop ovulating, so it is important to maintain a healthy weight. It is important to start eating a healthy, varied diet at least three months before you try to conceive so your body (and your partner's) is in good shape.
When your breasts start growing, from about the fifth month of pregnancy or even before, you'll need a bigger bra, though you may be able to make do for a while by using simple extenders to increase the chest size of your existing bras.