How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant After Sex?
Several factors have an impact on the speed of getting pregnant or conception. The health of sperm affects their ability to swim and penetrate the egg. A normal sperm has an oval shaped head and properly formed tail. Sperm are subject to damage and regular sex during the week of intended conception will result in more normal and healthy sperm being available during intercourse. Daily intercourse seems to result in the healthiest number of sperm.
A quarter billion sperm are released inside the vagina during ejaculation. On average, there will be less than 100 typically make it to the egg. Healthy sperm can reach the egg in as little as thirty minutes. Once inside the female’s body, sperm can live for several days.
Females don’t get pregnant immediately after having intercourse. It will take up to 6 days for the sperm and egg to join together and make a fertilized egg. Then it still takes 6-10 days for the fertilized egg to implant itself in the lining of the uterus completely. When the hormone (HCG or the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone) is released to help pregnancy during implantation, the pregnancy begins. It is by detecting HCG from pregnancy tests that you can know whether you are pregnant.
What is the Conception Process?
Before knowing the time of being pregnant, it’s better to understand the process of conception at first. Once a month a structure in the brain called the hypothalamus triggers another structure, the pituitary gland, to release a hormone. This follicle stimulation hormone prompts the follicles in the ovary to develop into mature eggs. One of these will grow to become the dominant egg. Within a few days, luteinizing hormone is released and stimulates the production of other hormones necessary for pregnancy.
The egg is released from the ovary and results in increased estrogen production. The egg must be fertilized in about 24 hours by a sperm. About 30% of sperm are abnormally formed and 40% of sperm are bad swimmers. Fortunately, the average ejaculate contains about a quarter billion sperm.
The sperm travel through the vagina, cervix, and uterus and enter the fallopian tube. One lucky sperm will penetrate the outer layer of the egg resulting in pregnancy.
What Affects the Success Rate of Conception?
Following factors can influence the success rate of conception:
- Genetic Makeup. The human body has a powerful system of monitoring itself and taking corrective action when necessary. Many pregnancies are lost before the female even realizes she is pregnant. This is the body’s way of eliminating non-viable pregnancies. Sometimes the genetic makeup of the egg or sperm results in biochemical problems and the egg stops developing further.
- Healthy Bodies. Being healthy in general is the best way to improve the success of conception. Dietary factors, medication use, drug and tobacco use all have an impact on overall health and the likelihood of conception.
- Proper Timing. Proper timing is one of the most important keys to becoming pregnant. A couple can have sex multiple times a day, but if the woman is not ovulating conception will not occur. Plan to have sex every day or at least every other day around the estimated time of ovulation.
- Sperm Quality. Factors that influence the health of sperm are also important. Motile sperm are needed to result in conception. Having sex on a regular basis has been shown to improve the overall quality of sperm. There is evidence that sitting in a hot tub every day can decrease the quality of sperm.
- Body Weight. Body weight has more of an impact than most realize. Obesity affects hormone production and as the body mass index (BMI) increased over 25 (obese), the time it took to conceive doubled. Being severely underweight also has a negative impact on the chance of getting pregnant. Women with a body mass index under 19 have four times more difficulty getting pregnant. Extremely thin women often have abnormal menstrual cycles or even go months without have a period making pregnancy and ovulation unlikely.
Despite popular myth, no sexual position is any more likely to result in pregnancy than another. The same is true for predicting or influencing the baby’s sex based on the sexual position or time of day.