How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant?
Medically reviewed by Rachel Liberto, RN on December 11, 2019
- Most couples become pregnant within 6 months of trying
- For couples that do not become pregnant within 6 months, about half are sub-fertile are infertile
- The number one thing you can do to decrease your time to pregnancy is track your cycle and make sure to have sex during your fertile window
When you first start trying to get pregnant, one of the first things you probably wonder is how long it might take. In the past, you took great care to avoid pregnancy. Now that you’re not using any contraception, you might think it will happen right away.
Or perhaps you’re anxious about how long it might take, and wondering what’s normal.
How long does it take the average couple to get pregnant?
Most couples become pregnant within 6 months of trying, according to a 2003 study published in Human Reproduction. The study followed 346 women who were trying to become pregnant.
- After 1 month: 38% conceived
- After 3 months: 68% conceived
- After 6 months: 81% conceived
- After 12 months: 92% conceived
The study found that among couples that did not conceive after 6 months, around half were likely sub-fertile or infertile. When removing sub-fertile and infertile couples from the analysis—in other words, when looking only at truly fertile couples—time to pregnancy was as follows:
- After 1 month: 42% conceived
- After 3 months: 75% conceived
- After 6 months: 88% conceived
- After 12 months: 98% conceived
If you are under the age of 35 and have not conceived after 12 months of trying, you should speak with your healthcare provider about fertility testing and treatment. If you’re 35 or older you should speak with your healthcare provider after 6 months of trying.
How quickly will I get pregnant?
Now you know the average time to conception. But how long will it take for you? Many factors can affect how long it takes to get pregnant, including:
- Health and lifestyle factors
- Family medical history
- How often you have sex
- Whether you’re having intercourse during the fertile window
The women in the 2003 Human Reproduction study were tracking their vaginal discharge (AKA cervical mucus) in order to determine when they were most fertile. For couples not tracking ovulation, it might take longer to get pregnant.
Tracking your cycle is the number one thing you can do to decrease the time it takes to get pregnant.
In a 1995 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, couples who timed intercourse around the fertile window had double the chances of conceiving compared to couples having untimed intercourse once per week.
For a personalized answer to how long it will take to get pregnant, try Ava’s fertility calculator.
What’s the average time to get pregnant by age?
Fertility declines with age for both men and women, though it declines significantly earlier for women. Several studies have looked at a woman’s chances of getting pregnant on each day of her fertile window. A 2002 study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that there was nearly a 50% drop in the chances of conceiving on the peak fertile day between women in their early 20s and women in their late 30s.
According to a 1982 study published in Family Planning Perspectives, a woman’s chances of conceiving by age are as follows:
- 20 – 24 years old: 86% chance of conceiving in 12 months
- 25 – 29 years old: 78% chance of conceiving in 12 months
- 30 – 34 years old: 63% chance of conceiving in 12 months
- 35 – 39 years old: 52% chance of conceiving in 12 months
While age is an important factor in fertility, it’s not the only factor. The study found a wide range of fertility levels in couples of the same ages. In the 2002 study from Human Reproduction, the authors found that chances of getting pregnant on the peak fertile day of the cycle ranged from 20% to 60% among women 27 – 29 years old.
What accounts for such a wide range of fertility among couples in the same age group? Epidemiological studies have identified factors including smoking, body weight, and sexually transmitted disease history, but much of the differences in fertility levels remains unaccounted for.
How long does it take to get pregnant after the pill?
In general, birth control use is not associated with infertility. Most women return to normal fertility within two months of stopping hormonal birth control. But exactly how long it takes to return to full fertility can depend on what method of birth control you were using:
- The Pill: If you were taking the standard “combined” birth control pill, which contains estrogen and progestin, fertility should return within one to three months in most cases. For the progestin-only “mini-pill”, it’s possible to get pregnant just days after you stop taking it. In most cases, cycles resume within two months of stopping the pill. If you experience post-pill amenorrhea for longer than two months, you should see your healthcare provider.
- IUD or implant: It’s possible to get pregnant as soon as your healthcare provider removes the device.
- Injectable birth control like Depo-Provera: It may take up to 18 months for fertility to return