Medically reviewed by Dr Kristy June Dinampo.
There are two kinds of people who typically ask about how easy it is to fall pregnant.
- Those who are really, really up for getting pregnant as soon as possible.
- Those who’ve maybe had an “accident” or two and really DON’T want to be pregnant.
Let’s start with the addressing the concerns of the second set of people first …
How Easy is it To Get Pregnant When You Don’t Want to Be?
You’ve had an accident or you’ve been careless. The condom split, you forgot your pill or you drank too much and didn’t really care at the time, and now that the heat of passion has subsided, you wonder if that one time could get you pregnant.
The answer is, of course, yes. You could get pregnant that easily.
It only takes one egg and one sperm to get it on and since that’s their sole mission you can bet they take it very seriously.
This is why if you don’t want to get pregnant you should always be extra careful, because the fact is that nobody knows how fertile you are until you actually fall pregnant. No one can predict your ovulation cycle to the exact letter.
Two Options for Emergency Contraception
If it’s still within 72 hrs of the accident then you have two options for emergency contraception.
1. Plan B (also called the morning after pill) is a hormone based pill which changes the lining of your uterus. It must be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If the fertilized egg has implanted then Plan B will not be effective in preventing pregnancy.
2. There’s also the option of having a copper IUD fitted – that needs to take place within 5 days of unprotected sex and is 99.9% effective.
So if you’ve had unprotected sex and want to use one of these emergency contraceptive options, call your doctor or get down to the pharmacy asap. Time is not on your side right now – you need to act fast.
If it’s been longer than 5 days, then you’re going to have to wait it out for your period to show up. Fingers crossed it does but if not get yourself a pregnancy test as soon as possible. The sooner you know what’s going on the better.
How Easy is it To Get Pregnant When You’re Trying to Conceive?
So you’ve come off your birth control and you’ve started trying to get pregnant. Will it happen easily with just one episode of unprotected sex?
Well, in some cases yes, but in most cases, no.
And for many couples conception doesn’t come easily at all.
We learn about the birds and the bees at school, and we’re told to always use protection because it only takes one time. Yes, it does, but the fact remains than when you’re trying to get pregnant, there are a whole host of other issues that come into play, and it falls at the feet of chance as to whether it happens fast, slowly, easily, or you have a harder time than other women.
The most important thing to remember is that if you are trying to get pregnant, don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t happen for you the first few times – perseverance is key.
Statistics show that around 85% of couples who are actively trying on a regular basis will become pregnant within the first year, so you’ve got 12 months before you need to start thinking about a trip to the doctor. The average time is around 6 months, so keep trying…every day if you have the stamina for it 😉
So, we’ve explained that there is no magic answer in terms of how easy it is to get pregnant, because we’re all individual beings, but what sort of things can affect how easy or otherwise you find it?
Factors That Affect Conception
You’ve been dealing with periods since your teenage years, so you don’t need us to tell you that the female body is a strange and sometimes unpredictable beast. There are a few common things which can slow down conception, and sometimes make it harder for it to happen. In many cases, these can be righted with lifestyle changes or medication, so usually there’s no major cause for concern.
• Drug use
• Stress levels
• Any medical issues
• The birth control you were using and when you came off it
• Your partner
• Any gynaecological issues, now and in the past
The ticking clock is something which causes stress for many women, because we’re constantly told that if we don’t have a family before we’re 35, its going to get harder and harder. Don’t worry, because the fact remains that it is entirely possible to conceive after the age of 35, and many people are choosing to delay starting a family until after this time for lifestyle reasons.
Despite that, the older you get, the less chance there is of conceiving easily, and the higher the chance that you might need a little help. Yes, Janet Jackson was knocking on 50 when she conceived, but if you leave it very late, you might be playing Russian Roulette a little.
The best advice is to wait for around 6 months and if nothing is happening and you are over 35, just go for a check up with your doctor, to see if everything is functioning correctly in terms of hormone levels. If it is, just keep trying, it will happen eventually.
Smoking Drinking, and Use of Recreational Drugs
Basically, don’t do any of the above, especially the last one. Aside from affecting your overall health and well being, smoking, drugs, and excessive drinking can affect hormones, which can in turn affect ovulation. Without adequate ovulation, there is no baby. In order to carry a baby healthily through pregnancy, you also need to be as healthy beforehand as possible, so quit smoking, keep your alcohol intake low, and if you do any drugs, ditch them.
Stress can affect the body in a myriad of weird ways, and none of them are wonderful. Stress can affect and even stop ovulation, which is why stressful situations can cause problems when someone is trying to get pregnant. Be as relaxed as possible, tackle any situation which is causing stress in your life, and if the fact you’re not conceiving is the source of your stress, try your best to be as Zen about it as possible.
Any Medical Issues & Medications
There are a huge number of medical issues which could make it harder for you to conceive, and it’s impossible to list them all here. If you are taking any medications, check whether they have any contraceptive effects, e.g. if you’re taking the contraceptive pill for PCOS, it makes total sense that you’re not getting pregnant. In this case, you need to speak to your doctor about alternatives.
In the case of other medical issues, a chat with your doctor about whether the condition could make it harder to conceive, and what you can do to counteract that issue, is all it will take to arm you with the necessary knowledge.
We should also mention that some medications are not safe to take during pregnancy, so if you’re on a particular medication, do check with your doctor before you plan to conceive in terms of safety.
Birth Control Issues
If you have recently come off the pill or other form of contraception, it’s possible that your body’s cycle is a little haywire, and may be for around six months, before order is restored. In this case, patience is key. It could be that you conceive the first month you’re off the pill or implant, but it could also be that it takes a few months instead. Both situations are normal.
It takes two to tango and in this case that is certainly true. Sometimes pregnancy can be difficult and it isn’t about the female, it can be about an issue with the sperm count of the partner. If you know that your partner has a low sperm count then you should seek out help, but other than that, it’s really about keeping trying until the year mark, when you can see your doctor for fertility investigations. This is likely to the time when such an issue is identified. Lifestyle changes can sometimes be all it takes to right the problem, e.g. stopping drinking and smoking, and a big no no to drug use.
Present or Past Gynaecological Issues
Were you diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the past? If so, this could be a reason why conception is a little harder than otherwise. In this case, you need to have a chat with your doctor. Also, do you have any current gynaecological issues, such as fibroids, cysts, or endometriosis? Again, these can cause delayed conception, and your doctor will be able to help you out.
Should We Buy an Ovulation Kit?
Now we’ve explored the reasons why conception can be a little harder than normal, and we’ve established the fact that getting pregnant can be easy, hard, or somewhere in the middle, depending on you, your partner, and your situation, we need to talk abut ovulation kits.
When a couple are actively trying to conceive, there is a huge temptation to time sex in order to match the optimum time. The thing is, how do you know when the optimum time is? There a huge range of ovulation kits on the market, and they promise to tell you when you’re ovulating so that you can get the sperm moving in the right direction at the right time, but do they work?
Many fertility specialists advise against using ovulation kits, because they can cause stress, which in itself lowers the chances of conception. It’s up to you whether you opt to use these kits, but at the end of the day, perhaps just active trying is the best course of action? Let nature take its course!
We hope that getting pregnant is as easy as you want and need it to be.
Let us know in the comments how easy you found getting pregnant.