Couple holding hands and laughing in bed
Scientifically Reviewed
Home/Cycle Matters / Plan Pregnancy

How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant?

If you’re having regular sex and not using any form of birth control, you’re likely to get pregnant within a year. However, there are many factors that can affect how long it takes to get pregnant. In this post, we’ll break down a few things that can affect getting pregnant and some options you can keep in mind that can give you a head start (and save you time) while trying to conceive.

When can I get pregnant?

First things first, to get pregnant you have to have sex during your fertile window, since you’re not actually fertile every day in your cycle. In fact, there are only six fertile days in any cycle. This includes ovulation day and the five days leading up to ovulation day, since sperm can survive in the female reproductive system for up to five days

To get pregnant, you need to have sex within this fertile window and a sperm has to successfully fertilize a female egg cell. This then leads to implantation, which is when the fertilized egg cell attaches to the uterus wall. We recommend taking a pregnancy test on the first day of your missed period if you think you might be pregnant.

When’s the best time to take a pregnancy test?

We recommend taking a pregnancy test on the first day of your missed period if you think you might be pregnant. If you’re using the Natural Cycles app, you will be prompted on the best day to take a pregnancy test.

What’s the best age to get pregnant?

We’re all different and there’s no right answer to this question. However, women are typically more fertile when they’re younger. Our fertility peaks in our twenties and then declines until menopause when our menstrual cycle stops.

Unlike sperm, which is in constant production, our egg cell count is actually limited, although impressively, we’re born with millions of eggs. However, we only actually ovulate a few hundred of these in our lifetimes! While our egg cells decline in numbers and quality as we age, our cycles tend to get shorter as we get older.

How long does it take to get pregnant after birth control?

Did you know the type of contraception you’re using can affect the time it takes to get pregnant when you stop taking it? Since hormonal birth control often works by suppressing ovulation, it’s no wonder that hormones can affect our menstrual cycle even after we’ve come off birth control altogether. On the other hand, women who choose a natural birth control method often learn more about their bodies and find they are more aware of their fertile days, helping them conceive faster when the time comes.

Our recently published scientific study analyzed nearly 3,000 women using Natural Cycles (a hormone-free option), alongside women who’d used hormonal methods to prevent pregnancy. We found that when it came to planning a pregnancy (and stopping birth control), women who’d used hormone-free birth control actually got pregnant 60% faster than those women using hormonal birth control. In fact, women who use Natural Cycles to plan a pregnancy on average get pregnant in three cycles or less. 

Irregular periods and getting pregnant 

We all experience irregularities in our cycles from time to time, changes in diet, lifestyle, and stress levels can affect the menstrual cycle. However, there are some conditions that cause frequent irregular cycles. While many women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis get pregnant naturally, the possible changes in fertile days can make it harder to time sex during the fertile window. 

If you have an irregular cycle, you might find it useful to keep track of your individual ovulation each cycle. Of course, if you have questions or concerns around cycle conditions it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional.

Using an app to get pregnant 

There are hundreds of fertility apps out there. However, It's worth knowing that many of these work on the assumption that your cycle is 28 days long and they will give you an estimated fertile window based upon this average. In reality, all our cycles are unique and are prone to changes. So here at Natural Cycles we set about debunking this outdated belief. We carried out a study that analyzed more than 26,000 cycles to prove the 28-day cycle is a myth.

We do know a thing or two about using an app to get pregnant though, our Physicist founder, Elina Berglund, created Natural Cycles because she wanted a non-hormonal birth control option that would one day also help her plan a pregnancy. And so Natural Cycles was born. Unlike other apps, Natural Cycles learns the pattern of your cycle and finds your unique fertile window.

To use Natural Cycles you have to have a basal thermometer, a thermometer that measures the body’s resting lowest temperature to two decimal places. You input temperature data into the app and Natural Cycles’ algorithm learns your cycle and can tell you when you’re most fertile so you can plan your pregnancy with precision.

So, how long does it take to get pregnant?

To sum up, there are many factors that can influence the time it takes to get pregnant. Some, such as our age and our reproductive health, we have limited control over. However, there are a few things we can do to get pregnant faster. Both transitioning from hormonal birth control and learning your unique fertile window are great ways to pave the way for planning a pregnancy.

Did you enjoy reading this article?

Discover Natural Cycles.

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house medical expert. With 10+ years of experience working in the field of fertility, he dedicates the majority of his time to conducting groundbreaking research within the field of women's health.

Featured Posts

Birth Control

A Birth Control App, not a Period Tracker

4 min read

Birth Control

12 Non-Hormonal Birth Control Methods and How They Work

13 min read

Birth Control

Switching Birth Control Methods: How Do I Change?

9 min read

Want to learn more about a hormone-free future?

Subscribe to our newsletter for access to our latest articles, exclusive promotions and more.

Keep reading...

Plan Pregnancy

What causes morning sickness?

Feeling nauseous during early pregnancy is very common, but have you ever wondered what causes morning sickness and why it affects some of us more than others? In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at pregnancy nausea, as well as some tips for relieving discomfort. Read on to find out more…

4 min read

Plan Pregnancy

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a term that describes a number of techniques that can be used to help people that are struggling to conceive. Having previously worked as an Embryologist in one of the UK's largest IVF clinics, today I'm honored to be sharing my knowledge about IVF with you. Read on to learn all about IVF from what it stands for to the process itself, success rates, and more….

9 min read

Plan Pregnancy

How to Get Pregnant Faster

Are you thinking "I need to get pregnant this month"? Or do you wonder how long it will take to get pregnant when you do start trying? We know that this can be an anxious time for some of us, and playing the waiting game isn’t fun. However, we know a thing or two about female health - we've even published research on how long it takes to get pregnant. So whether you want to get pregnant straight away or sometime in the future, we’re on hand to share knowledge about how to get pregnant faster.

6 min read