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The journey to parenthood isn't always a straight line. Here's what to know if you're having trouble getting pregnant.
Is it hard to get pregnant? Unfortunately, the answer can be yes. Whether you’re having trouble finding your fertile window or think your partner might have fertility problems, it’s normal to have trouble getting pregnant — in fact, the NHS estimates that around one in seven couples has trouble conceiving.
But just because it can be hard to get pregnant doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are five reasons why it can be difficult to get pregnant and how to navigate them.
>>RELATED: How to Deal When Everyone Else Is Pregnant
While getting pregnant might seem as easy as having sex at the right time — which isn’t necessarily easy to begin with! — getting pregnant on the first try isn’t the norm. In fact, less than 40% of couples get pregnant within the first month of trying, according to a 2003 study of couples using natural family planning methods to get pregnant.
Instead, it generally takes more couples at least three months, if not more, to get pregnant. In the same study, nearly 70% of couples got pregnant within three months, while 80% got pregnant within six months, and 90% of couples within a year.
>>MORE: How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant?
If you’re wondering “is it hard to get pregnant?” and you’ve been trying for a month or two, you might need to keep trying for a few more months. Professionals define infertility as not getting pregnant after not just trying — but carefully timing — intercourse for over a year without pregnancy.
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a few months, here are five reasons it might be difficult for you to get pregnant.
Just like menstruation, ovulation can be inconsistent. When trying to conceive naturally, it’s crucial to time intercourse with ovulation correctly — but when ovulation is inconsistent, it can be hard to tell exactly when it's the right time.
Inconsistent ovulation is the single most common cause of infertility in women. Anything from excessive exercise to poor diet or hormonal imbalances can cause irregular ovulation.
Some women may ovulate every month or completely without a schedule. Many women find themselves ovulating every month for a few months and then not again for four or five months, making it even more difficult to successfully conceive.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, endometriosis affects more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44 and is especially common among women in their 30s and 40s, making it harder to get pregnant.
Endometriosis is a disorder of the reproductive system where cells from the uterine wall start growing where they’re not supposed to. Cells growing outside the uterine cavity can block the egg from being released and meeting the sperm. It is not impossible to conceive if you have endometriosis, but you should talk to your doctor for recommended treatments.
>>MORE: Tips for Successfully Navigating Endometriosis
So much is on women when it comes to fertility that we often forget that men also can contribute to this challenge. Anything from a low sperm count to a reduced or blocked flow of your partner's swimmers is known as male factor infertility, which makes up 30-40% of infertility problems.
According to Resolve, a recent study showed that only 41% of Ob/Gyn physicians even considered a urological evaluation of the male partner and only 24% would routinely refer men to the urologist before ordering a semen analysis.
If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, it’s crucial to consider all infertility factors — which means you both should get evaluated.
Many modern women choose career and financial independence before child rearing — rightly so! Unfortunately, biology is not very forgiving when it comes to making these difficult decisions. As a woman ages, her egg count decreases in quantity and quality. This can make conceiving harder from her mid-30s onwards. This is proving to be a major contributor to why infertility is becoming more common.
>>MORE: What to Know If You're Trying to Conceive After 35
Of course, conceiving in your mid-30s and beyond is still possible. Make sure you’re putting your health first, tracking your fertility, and talking to a doctor for personalized guidance.
To get pregnant, you need to know when you're ovulating. Yet it can be challenging to get the timing right when many ovulation kits are not accurate enough to clearly indicate the right time to conceive.
Most ovulation kits can range from $10 - $200 and are used to measure your luteinizing hormone (LH), which surges prior to ovulation. While it can be accurate in measuring the hormone, many women can have a surge in LH without releasing an egg — so how can you confirm you’ve actually ovulated?
That’s where the Oova Fertility Hormone Kit comes in. Oova measures multiple hormones, including progesterone, which gives you confirmation that you’ve ovulated.
If the question “is it hard to get pregnant?” is keeping you and your partner up at night, you’re not alone. Even if it can be difficult to get pregnant, don’t be discouraged. With the right information, awareness, and action, you can take control of your reproductive journey and be well on your way to successful conception.
Jill Blakeway, a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist, clinical herbalist, and founder of the Yinova Center shares how taking a holistic health approach to fertility can help you gain control of your reproductive health.
Cramping unfortunately doesn’t end even if your period does. Here’s how to get relief.
Sometimes you may experience cycles where you bleed but don’t ovulate. This can make it tough to know whether or not you’re ovulating regularly. Here’s how to tell if you didn’t ovulate, even when you get a period.