Pregnancy planning FAQs
Why is it taking time to fall pregnant?
You may be in perfectly good health and have a healthy sex life, but still struggle to fall pregnant. Several reasons may be affecting your ability to fall pregnant. It can be perfectly normal, but may be a little upsetting if you were particularly hopeful about falling pregnant quickly.
Factors that may contribute to pregnancy taking a little longer to achieve than expected can include:
- Ovulation: It can happen that ovulation may not occur every single month. If you have been taking oral contraceptives and recently stopped, your cycle can become irregular for a short time. This means that ovulation may be delayed. Contraceptive injections can also delay or cause irregular cycles for up to a year after stopping this birth control method. If your cycle is a concern, see your doctor to discuss whether or not it is something to really worry about.
- Implantation: Sometimes fertilisation of an egg simply doesn’t take place. Sometimes it does, but the egg doesn’t implant securely in the lining of the uterus, and is lost during a woman’s next period.
- Age: When people talk about pregnancy and age, the ‘biological clock’ tends to come up. It is often a source of great stress for many women once they reach their 30s. It is true that the chances of falling pregnant decrease with age and the quantity and quality of eggs begin to deteriorate. The same is true for men when it comes to their sperm (sperm production). Sperm production also loses quality and /or quantity through ill health or injury. Excessive heat, and tight-fitting underwear can also be problematic for men when it comes to their sperm. The benchmark age that has most women feeling uneasy is 35. It is true that it can take longer or become more difficult to fall pregnant around this age, but it’s not an impossibility at all. Many over the age of 35 have healthy pregnancies and babies.
Should I worry if I don’t fall pregnant after a year?
If you and your partner have been trying to conceive and feel that it is taking an unusually long time (more than a year if you’re under the age of 35 and 6 months if you’re over it), there may be a problem. See your doctor as soon as possible to determine what might be causing your inability to conceive.
Not every problem requires a fertility specialist. Your doctor will be able to advise on your sex life. He or she could possibly suggest that you have sex without using a contraception method 2-3 times a week, for at least a year before considering any specialist tests.
If there are any known medical or fertility problems, or you are over 35 and struggling, your doctor may refer you and your partner to a specialist within 6 months. If this happens, there is still hope on the horizon. Many couples can still conceive with a little help and guidance from a fertility specialist.
Can you get pregnant while on the pill?
Oral contraceptive pills as a birth control method are considered 99% effective in preventing a pregnancy. It is, thus, still possible for a woman to fall pregnant while taking an oral contraceptive. It is estimated at between 2% and 8% of women taking the pill who fall pregnant each year.