One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to fertility is ‘What are my chances of getting pregnant?’
On average the odds that a woman will get pregnant in a typical monthly cycle are 15-25% but there are many variables that can affect these statistics and there is plenty you can do to help them increase.
The most important step to increase your chances of getting pregnant is to really get to know your ovulation cycle. Counting from the first day of your period, your cycle is broken up into four phases and keeping track of these phases is vital.
The first three to seven days are your period and the chances are getting pregnant on these days are almost nil, so it’s good to use this time to have a break from the rigours of baby-making.
Will ovulation improve my chances of getting pregnant?
Ovulation occurs between days 12-14 and because eggs only survive for around 12-24 hours it is vital that you have sex within this period. Fortunately, you can use ovulation tests to chart your basal temperature, once that test shows positive have sex within 2-36 hours for your best baby-making odds.
If you are recently coming off of birth control pills you may wonder how long it takes for their effects to wear off. It’s actually possible to become pregnant immediately after stopping the pill, as soon as the pill’s hormones are out of your system, although in many cases it will take a few months before ovulation begins normally again.
Factors affecting the chances of getting pregnant?
Another big factor in fertility odds is a woman’s age. After you reach 30, your chances of conceiving in any given month diminish and they fall further as you get older, dropping steeply in your 40s.
However, there are still many ways in which you can increase your odds of pregnancy.
The most obvious is to simply make sure you are as healthy as possible: being both under and overweight can affect a women’s fertility and smoking and alcohol can affect both egg and sperm quality so should be avoided.
In general, a fertile couple has a good chance of getting pregnant within a year, as out of 100 couples trying to conceive naturally:
- 20 will conceive within one month
- 70 will conceive within six months
- 85 will conceive within one year
- 90 will conceive within 18 months
- 95 will conceive within two years
Whilst is it normal for some couples to take up to two years to conceive it is worthwhile seeking medical advice to check neither of you is suffering from fertility problems.
In general, though, a more relaxed approach is recommended by fertility experts. Having unprotected sex every few days means that there will always be a supply of sperm in the right place whenever you ovulate. Simply taking it easy and enjoying your love life may be the best way to boost your chances.