Once you make the decision to try to have a baby, it’s hard not to wonder how long it will take to get pregnant. This is particularly true if time starts to pass and nothing has happened.

Pregnancy may happen quickly. One study found that over 50% of respondents were pregnant after three cycles. If you have sex every day, your likelihood of conceiving each cycle is thirty-seven percent. If you have sex just once per week, your likelihood of conceiving each cycle is fifteen percent. The current recommendation is to have sex every 2-3 days. 

It can also be completely normal to take a long time to become pregnant. Even if you are not pregnant after twelve cycles, the probability of naturally conceiving is still high; half of couples who do not conceive after one year will conceive in the next year, without treatment. When the female partner is less than forty years old, the chances of being pregnant after two years of trying is ninety percent or better, depending on age. 

After stopping the birth control pill, there is a lower rate of conception, on average, for the first three cycles. Having a BMI over 30 can increase the time it takes to get pregnant. 

If you have experienced infertility, it can be more tricky to make predictions. One prediction tool is available online. It requires both male and female partners to have had some testing done. You can access that prediction tool here

You can get more insight into what is happening in any given cycle by using basal body temperature charting. Keeping track of your early morning temperatures can tell you if you ovulated, and can even tell you if you are pregnant sooner than a urine dipstick test can. I believe that tracking BBT can help couples conceive more quickly, but studies so far have not confirmed my belief, potentially due to variations in how well the technique is taught. 

Dr. Andrea Hilborn is a naturopathic doctor in Kingston, Ontario

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