Should I Worry if I Don't Get Pregnant Right Away?

By Ann Douglas

"If I don't get pregnant right away that means there's a problem."

After spending years trying to avoid pregnancy, you might think that getting pregnant is a simple matter of losing the birth control, having lots of sex, and waiting for the pregnancy test to come back positive at the end of that first cycle of trying.

For 25 percent of couples that is all there is to getting pregnant.

And then there are the rest of us.

"If everything is working right, both partners are healthy, and they're having sex every other day during the most fertile time, the best odds of conceiving in any given cycle are roughly 25 percent," explains Brad Imler, PhD, President of the American Pregnancy Association. If you flip that stat on its head, you'll see that conceiving right away is anything but the norm: 75 percent of couples don't conceive during that first cycle of trying.

It helps to think of conception as a numbers game. While your odds don't improve with each month of trying, the more months you try, the more chances you have to hit your lucky month.

The statistics bear this out. On average, a couple in their 20s trying to get pregnant (having regular unprotected sex), will conceive in about 5 months. Their odds of being pregnant within a year are 86 percent. (The odds of being pregnant within a year  for couples aged 35 and 40 are 52 percent and 40 percent respectively.)

Ann Douglas is the author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and numerous other books about pregnancy and parenting.