Pregnancy happens just like that for some. For others, it is a great challenge.
Especially for those who desperately want a baby, conception gets really really hard. If you are someone who is trying for months and dying to see that “+” or a double line on a pregnancy test, this post is for you.
The thing is, while everyone else easily seem to get pregnant, it seems only challenging for you, isn’t?
It’s kinda frustrating. When you are trying to conceive, everyone you see around seem to be pregnant. It seems to be quite an easy thing for everyone else, except you.
Have you been there?
Well, in this post I am going to share 11 possible reasons that could be why your conception is getting delayed (or seem impossible).
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My aim here is to help you identify any possible reasons and fix them if you can. Or you can at least have an idea on what’s going on and why it is taking so long.
Disclaimer: This post is not a medical report or a journal. I am no Doctor either. Use this information as a guide and consult your Doctor if you think you have any of these issues that may delay your conception.
#1 Ovulation issues
It is common sense to figure out that you need an egg to make a baby. For that, you have to ovulate.
Ovulation occurs once (rarely more than once) during a menstrual cycle.
And if you have a 28 day cycle, it is said that you ovulate on day 14. This is purely a myth.
Your ovulation date can be any date during your cycle, and your periods usually follows after about 14 days. It is 14 days (approximately) between your ovulation and your periods, not necessarily between your first day of the cycle and ovulation.
So how can you pin point ovulation?
Ovulation will be accompanied by additional symptoms or signs –
Some women experience ovulation pain mid-cycle. The pain occurs on any one side of the abdomen depending upon which ovary is ovulating. But not all women experience this pain. If you do, I’d say you are somewhat lucky because you get to know your ovulation date.
Another symptom is the occurrence of egg white cervical mucus (EWCM), most probably accompanied by an increased sex drive.
Charting your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is the most accurate way to pin point your ovulation. However, you would have crossed your fertile window when you find this out.
But you can be sure that you have ovulated when you see a definite thermal shift in your BBT. The shift is usually a rise of 0.4 to 1.0 degree, and the rise happens after the day you have ovulated.
Here’s an example:
So when you see a temperature shift in your BBT chart, and if the shift sustains at those higher temperatures for at least 3 days, you can confirm that you have ovulated on the day BEFORE the temperature rise.
I use Fertility Friend for charting my BBT. It helps me have a clear view about my cycle, whether I try to conceive or avoid pregnancy or simply do none of them ?
So if you don’t see a clear temperature shift, obviously you have not ovulated on that cycle and you cannot get pregnant. Here are a couple of examples of Anovulatory cycles.
If many of your cycles go this way, you should consult a doctor and see what treatment should you take to encourage ovulation.
PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome is shortly referred to as PCOS. And this could be a curse unless you understand it fully and change your lifestyle accordingly.
Well, I am not going to go into all the details of PCOS and dealing with it, but here’s the gist.
PCOS is nothing but having ovaries that have many small cysts on them. You can have one or both ovaries to be cystic.
And what causes PCOS? Many things! The main reason is the hormonal imbalance. But many things cause that hormonal imbalance.
Insulin resistance is a great challenge for people with PCOS; this in-turn leads to over-eating and weight gain.
If you have PCOS,
- you might have irregular periods,
- you might not ovulate at all,
- you might have acne,
- and you might have facial hair,
- or all of the above.
There are medications to treat PCOS and the treatments differ from person to person depending upon the level of PCOS.
Also, you should make the necessary lifestyle changes to put things back on track.
Healthy eating, and working out to maintain an ideal weight are two of the most common things you should start doing.
#3 Your weight
Just in relation to what I talked about PCOS, maintaining a healthy weight is so important when you are trying to conceive.
Being over-weight and under-weight are both factors that will affect your conception rate.
You should take measures accordingly to maintain a healthy weight.
Weight gain is related to PCOS which in turn makes you infertile. Being under-weight means you don’t have enough nutrition to initiate a pregnancy. And your body knows this very well.
You could also be anaemic if you are under-weight and this certainly isn’t a pregnancy-friendly state.
Well, well. “Stay calm and it will happen” is what you hear from the experts. But it is easier said than done.
It is much harder to cope with conception-related stress. When you are desperate to have a baby and when everyone else is getting pregnant just like that, it could stress you.
When you are trying month after month and year after year with no luck, this could stress you.
And while trying to get pregnant, even the bedroom pleasure can become a chore.
More importantly, the two week wait, popularly called as TWW (the time between your ovulation and the day when you get a positive pregnancy test, or your period) can be killing.
Most women have renamed it as TWT (two week torture) and you will understand that if you have been trying to conceive for a while!
So what should you do? Anything to take your focus off baby making will help you to avoid stress. But I tell you. It is easier said than done.
Enjoy the intimacy without being too calculative (about the fertile window, etc.; more on that later).
Once you’ve done what is done, you can do nothing about what happens internally. So just let go and take a deep breath.
Remember the more you think about it, the more adverse effects it can bring. Keep yourself busy by indulging in new projects – work or home.
#5 Unhealthy food habits
It is highly important that you eat healthy when you are trying to conceive. Your body needs all the right nutrition.
If you are someone who grabs a pack of chips and finishes it off in 10 minutes before TV, your baby-making chances are very slim.
Junk apart – you should be very careful with eating healthy. Eating healthy ensures that your body is ideal for supporting a new life.
#6 Not timing the baby dance
Timing is important here. I just said that you shouldn’t be too calculative about timing your baby making dance. But timing is important to some extent.
Sperm can live inside a woman’s body for upto 5 days. However, the lifetime of an egg is 12-24 hours. So this gives about just 6 days of fertile window in any cycle.
The chances that you could get pregnant in a cycle are pretty high 4 days before ovulation, the day you ovulate and the day after. That makes a total of just 6 days in a cycle!
Even if everything is perfectly timed, still, your chance of getting pregnant in a cycle is just 20%. *sigh* – I know!
Timing your baby dance every other day during this fertile window maximises your chance of conception.
#7 Your age
Even though your age doesn’t play much a major role as you might think, it still plays a role. If you compare how easy it is for you to conceive at 25 and how challenging it gets to conceive at 35, you will know what I mean.
But I am not saying that you cannot conceive at 35 plus. You certainly can. But just remember that your chances at 25 are much higher than your chances at 35 plus.
It just takes a little longer, and if combined with other complications and factors, conception could even become challenging at 35 plus.
So it is better not to delay conception purposefully.
Endometrium is the lining inside the uterus and its thickness should be optimum for conception to occur.
Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue is present outside the uterus causing pain.
The endometrial tissue can grow outside the uterus on to your bowel, ovaries, and pelvic region. It is not clearly known why this occurs.
But women in their age of 25-40 and women who don’t have children yet have higher chances to get this.
The main complication of endometriosis is issues with fertility. Sadly, if your infertility is caused by endometriosis, taking fertility treatments might not help much.
Women have successfully conceived after having their endometrial tissue surgically removed. IVF is also a great option.
#9 Irregular periods
Irregular periods is not necessarily related to fertility. But mostly, fertility issues lead to irregular periods. For instance, if you have PCOS you are most likely to have irregular periods.
Also if you have hormonal issues, irregular periods can occur. Naturally these will in turn affect your fertility indirectly, if not directly.
Also with irregular periods, it becomes highly challenging for you to pin point your fertile window. Even though you can know whether you have ovulated or not by tracking your BBT, when you see a shift in your BBT and confirm ovulation, your fertile window is already gone.
Being overweight or underweight can also affect the frequency of your periods. It is important to change your lifestyle accordingly and put your hormones in balance to regularise your periods.
#10 Luteal phase defect (LPD)
Luteal phase is the time between your ovulation and the start of your next cycle. During this phase the production of hormone Progesterone is high and it is the reason for elevated temperatures.
During the follicular phase (the time between the first day of your cycle and ovulation) the hormone oestrogen dominates. In the luteal phase, progesterone dominates, which is why BBTs are lower during the follicular phase and then they are higher in the luteal phase.
For pregnancy to be sustained, the luteal phase should be sufficiently longer. On an average it is about 14 days.
But if your progesterone levels are low, your next cycle could start much earlier than this. Progesterone levels should maintain at the post ovulation level for more than at least 16 days to sustain pregnancy successfully.
If you think you have LPD, you should consult your doctor immediately since you might actually be successful at conceiving but unable to hold the pregnancy (and you won’t even know that you are miscarrying quite often).
Usually taking progesterone supplements post ovulation should help with LPD.
#11 It could be your man!
Finally, if you are not able to get pregnant, you should also see whether your man is sexually healthy enough. For men, there are so many things that could affect their fertility.
If the sperm count is less than normal or if the sperms have low motility, conceiving will be challenging.
So you should make sure that you also get your man checked and treat him for any underlying fertility issues.
Watch out for the signs
This is what I’ve got to say finally. If you are trying to conceive for a while and if it is not happening, there could be some medical issues.
Some require light medications and treatments. Some could be serious issues. So you have to watch out for signs and consult your doctor accordingly.
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For couples who are sexually active, on an average it takes about 6 months to a year to get pregnant. So be patient.
At the same time, do not delay too much! If you think you have any fertility issues or hormonal issues discussed above, consult your doctor ASAP!