Chances of Getting Pregnant by Age
Your age plays a role in your fertility. Women are born with a fixed number of eggs and the total number of eggs declines with age. The term “ovarian reserve” refers to your egg supply.
Women in their 20s have peak fertility. Their fertility starts a slow decline around age 32, with a more rapid decline around age 37.
- A healthy woman in her 20s has a 25% chance of conceiving naturally each month.
- A healthy woman in her 30s has a 20% chance of conceiving naturally each month.
- A healthy woman in her 40s has a 5% chance of conceiving naturally each month.
Natural Ways to Increase Your Fertility
Not everyone needs or wants medical intervention to get pregnant. There are natural things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant each month.
- Timed intercourse during your fertile window. If you’re tracking your cycle each month, you’ll know approximately when you’re ovulating. Have sex every 1-2 days during your fertile window, which is about 5-6 days before you ovulate. (For example, if you have a 28 day cycle, with day 1 being the first day of your period, you can estimate your fertile window to be days 9-14 of your cycle.)
- Avoid using lubrication. Most over-the-counter lubricants inhibit sperm. If you need lubrication during intercourse, use a lubricant specifically made for couples who are trying to conceive, like Pre-Seed. You can also use canola oil or mineral oil.
- Healthy weight. If you are underweight or overweight, you may not ovulate or have a regular menstrual cycle. If you are overweight with frequently missed periods, decreasing your weight by as little as 5% can increase your chances of having regular periods and conceiving.
- Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day. Cut alcohol completely out when you are actively trying to get pregnant.
- Reduce caffeine. At typical levels of caffeine intake, there does not appear to be an association between caffeine consumption and inability to conceive. Some studies suggest that going overboard may not be helpful, however, so try to limit to no more than two 8oz cups of coffee per day.
When You Should See a Doctor About Getting Pregnant
About 80% of couples conceive in the first 6 months of trying. That number increases to 85% after 12 months. If you have regular menstrual cycles and have been trying to conceive for a year, then it’s a good idea to talk to your Obstetrician about it. We will evaluate to see if there are other issues that make it harder for you and your partner to conceive.
If you’re over 35 years old, have this conversation with your doctor sooner—after you’ve been trying to conceive for 6 months. If you are in your 40s and want to have a baby, it’s better to speak with your Obstetrician right away because often fertility treatments can be started right away.
No matter your age, if you know you have irregular periods (consistent cycles less than 25 days or greater than 35 days apart), get evaluated sooner. If you have other health problems, make a preconception visit to make sure these conditions are optimized prior to conceiving.