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.
If you know exactly when you ovulate you stand a much greater chance of conceiving 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 egg survives for one day. This means that your fertile period is around 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.
Ovulation usually happens 10 to 16 days before the start of your next 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. 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.
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. Talk to your GP if your cycle is irregular and you need help working out when you ovulate.
If you are over 35, it is recommended that you seek medical advice after six months of trying to get pregnant. If you have experienced two or more miscarriages or have irregular or painful periods, make an appointment with your GP or a fertility expert.
Other common fertility problems which can affect how long it will take to get pregnant are: 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. It goes without saying though 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 so try to keep within a healthy weight range.
When Do I Ovulate?
You can buy special ovulation prediction kits, which test your temperature or hormone levels to find out when you are at your most fertile.
by Kathryn Crawford
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