Why Can It Take So Long To Get Pregnant? 6 crucial factors that can change everything

Why Can It Take So Long To Get Pregnant? 6 crucial factors that can change everything

February 22, 2021

Sometimes all you hear about are couples trying out many different tips and tricks to avoid unexpected pregnancy, which makes you wonder: “It must be so easy getting pregnant, if avoiding it is so tricky.” But that is far from the truth. If your road to conceiving a baby has been a little rocky so far, you must know that there are so many factors that can have a huge impact on “How long will it take to achieve pregnancy?” and “When is the time to ask for help from a healthcare provider?”

 

 1. Get the timing right

  • Keep track of your period. Write it down in your calendar, notebook or a fertility smartphone app.
  • If your period is not regular (approx. 28 days between menstruation) or it is very painful, contact a healthcare professional if there is a need for further investigation.
  • Use an Ovulation Prediction Kit that detects the LH hormone in urine, these tests give prior notice to your fertile days, usually within 12-24 hours
  • Become aware of the signs your body gives you when you are ovulating. These could be breast tenderness, more, clear discharge, increased sexual desire
  • Have intercourse at least twice over the 3-4 fertile days during ovulation (approximately 12-16 days after the start of the period for a regular 28 day cycle).

If you are fertile, it means that you will be able to produce eggs, but you can only get pregnant if you have intercourse during the time when you are ovulating or 5 days before ovulation and 1 day after ovulation. This is because a man’s sperm can survive in the female birth canal for up to 5 days.

 

 2. Consider taking a prenatal vitamin supplement

Prenatal vitamins are not only allowed, but they are also strongly recommended. Making sure your body has what it needs to nourish you and the fetus is much easier if you get started before baby is in the picture.

What are the most important nutrients in the first trimester?

Folic Acid

Our bodies use Folic acid to make new cells. Think about the skin, hair, and nails. These – and other parts of the body – make new cells every day. During early development in pregnancy, folic acid helps to form the neural tube. This vitamin is very important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.

Iron

Iron is essential during pregnancy to support your baby's developing blood supply, as well as your own.

The mineral is so vital for a baby's growth, in fact, that your recommended daily intake nearly doubles when you are expecting. Having iron deficiency can increase your risk of developing anemia, and in severe cases may lead to low birthweight or premature birth.

Calcium

Your baby needs calcium to form bones and teeth. Calcium is also an important nutrient for your baby's heart, muscles, nerves, and hormones. According to WHO, in populations with a low-calcium dietary intake, calcium supplementation during pregnancy is necessary to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia.[1]

 

Primary during pregnancy, you should focus on an adequate calcium and iron intake though available iron- and calcium-rich foods. It is important to remember that prenatal vitamins are a supplement to a healthy diet for expectant moms. They are not a replacement for a healthy diet. Ask a medical professional or a pharmacist for their recommendations.

 

 3. Age factor

The age of a woman is a big factor on how long it will take to get pregnant

  • A man with a good sperm quality together with a woman younger than 25 years have a 24-34% chance of pregnancy for every ovulation she has. When they are 30-34 years, the chances are 12-17%. After 35 years there is a rapid decline in the chances of natural pregnancy. (Source: Rigshospitalets Fertility Clinic, Copenhagen Denmark)
  • If you are 35 years or over and have been trying to get pregnant for 6 months, you should get specialist advice

See your GP or Fertility Specialist if you are

  • Less than 25 years and trying to get pregnant for 12 months
  • Less than 35 years and trying for 9 months
  • 35 years or over and trying for 6 months

Studies have shown that women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. With years passing by the eggs age with her and their number and quality reduces over time.  That is why, the chance of having a baby also decrease over time, especially for women 35 years of age and more, then the fertility decline is a snowball effect—meaning with the age, not only does the fertility decline, but the rate at which it declines also increases. So, the downward slope of fertility and age gets steeper in our mid-30s.[2]

This information can be over-bearing for women who, for whatever reason, are not ready in their 20s or early 30s to start a family. Though, rushing pregnancy just because of the age is not the best option, because mental readiness for bearing a child is as important as physical preparedness. Studies published in 2012 have shown that mental and emotional well-being during pregnancy can have an impact on birth outcomes as well as mental states during the postpartum period.[3]

 

 4. Find out how many eggs you have

Have your Ovarian Reserve measured with a single blood test called an AMH (anti-mullerian hormone). It gives you some prediction of how fertile you are and what window of time you have left to get pregnant. AMH values can help you determine if you want to do something NOW for your fertility. Remember AMH tells you what your ovarian reserve is now. They cannot predict how quickly your ovarian reserve will decline in the future and they cannot predict if you will be able to get pregnant spontaneously on your own.

 

 5. Health History

Some women may have medical conditions that affect their fertility.  These in some cases may not be known about when planning a family.  Some of these conditions may be more general, for example thyroid disease and vitamin D deficiency whilst others may be more specific, for example, polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. Contact a healthcare provider is you have trouble getting pregnant.

 

 6. Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is considered a worldwide public health problem, in particular because in most countries, large parts of the general population do not meet the dietary vitamin D requirements. Studies suggest that low vitamin D blood levels are linked to lower sperm function and lower embryo implantation rate.

Many people do not even know what their blood level of vitamin D is, to begin with. In the meantime, you should not rush to the pharmacy and get vitamin D supplements, without contacting a professional first, because overdosing can lead to too much calcium building up in the body, that can weaken bones and damage the kidneys. Ask a healthcare provider to test your vitamin D level in order to optimize your chances of conceiving if there is deficiency.

 

 

[1] https://www.who.int/elena/titles/guidance_summaries/calcium_pregnancy/en/ Calcium supplementation during pregnancy to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia

[2] https://extendfertility.com/your-fertility-3/fertility-and-age/ Fertility and Age

[3] https://journals.lww.com/co-psychiatry/Abstract/2012/03000/Anxiety,_depression_and_stress_in_pregnancy__.13.aspx Dunkel Schetter C, Tanner L. Curr Opin Psychiatry.



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