Average Time to Conceive with PCOS
We are conditioned to think Conception should happen right away
We have all grown up with certain expectations about fertility that can make us, and especially women with PCOS, feel very discouraged about our fertility and our ability to become pregnant.
Our view of conception has been totally screwed up by the constant barrage of pregnancy prevention we’ve been taught since middle school. Of course, this information is so important for high school aged kids. But it also means we’ve grown up thinking we can get pregnant at any time during our cycle, that we’re constantly fertile, and that we need to be on continual hormone replacement in order to prevent pregnancy.
And so naturally, we’re on pins and needles thinking we need to wait until we’re 100% ready because it’s going to happen instantly. Because why else would we have been taught to be so vigilant about prevention unless it was super easy to get pregnant? Unfortunately, many of us learn the very hard way that this is not always the case.
We’re not taught how to Preserve Fertility during prevention
The other issue is that we’re not taught how to preserve our fertility during that time of prevention.
There’s no discussion about diet, lifestyle, exercise, that will help us preserve our fertility for later.
There’s no discussion about what nutrients your body needs to ovulate, to support a healthy pregnancy, to grow not just a healthy baby, but an outstanding baby.
We aren’t taught that our menstrual cycles are our fifth vital sign - and that dysfunction in your cycles during youth can grow into fertility problems later on.
We spend more time planning our wedding than preparing for conception
Think about how much thought and planning you put into deciding what career you wanted to pursue. Think about how long you planned your wedding. Most of us will spend an entire year planning our wedding, but then we decide to create a brand new human, and we’re eating junk food and pizza and soda, and we’re totally confused when we come off birth control and our cycles are all out whack.
And that’s not our fault, we’ve been conditioned to expect it to be easy to get pregnant. We’ve been conditioned to think it will happen instantly. You don’t see these long fertility journeys in movies. You don’t hear about miscarriages on TV.
If it doesn’t happen quickly, it does not mean it won't ever happen.
Unexplained infertility does not mean permanent infertility. If it’s taking a year, two years, 5 years, keep that knowledge in your heart that all you need is one really great egg, one really healthy sperm, and one cycle where everything is timed correctly. And all of those things are within your control.
We try to look at our past to tell us what might happen next, but you can’t predict your future based on our past and that’s such good news.
What the Statistics Say
Here are the raw stats.
For a couple with no health issues there’s an 85% chance they’ll conceive within 12 cycles.
That’s a good baseline. And what this really means is that it does not happen instantly, even for women with perfect hormones.
What I’m hoping this message does is relieve some stress for you. When you’re trying to conceive it feels like it has to happen now or everything is ruined. It feels life and death. But staying in that mentality only makes this journey more painful. You can shift your mindset to say, this is taking a while and that’s normal. This is ok. I’m ok. We’re going to be ok.
Measure Cycles not Months
So you might have noticed that I said there’s an 85% chance of conceiving within 12 cycles, not 12 months. Many women with PCOS have rather long cycles. Now it is still possible to get pregnant during one of those long cycles as long as you do ovulate at some point and happen to have timed intercourse correctly. So for a woman with PCOS 12 cycles could easily be 2 years. That would be a 60 day cycle which isn’t uncommon with PCOS.
The time to conceive also depends on what actions you’re taking to improve your fertility. So someone who does nothing, they’re eating a standard american diet, not exercising, not working on whatever symptoms of ill health they have, their chances are not improving month after month.
Especially if you have PCOS, you can be confident in the knowledge that conception takes time, and you can use this time to improve your overall health and learn about your cycles so that you have the best chance possible for conceiving a healthy baby and having a calm, healthy pregnancy.
This is what I recommend to set yourself up for faster conception
Know that you are whole
Know that it is ok and normal for conception to take a while. It does not mean you’re broken, it does not mean it won’t ever happen. It means you’re experiencing a part of the human condition that simply hasn’t been talked about and so we weren’t prepared for it.
Get a Functional Health Check Up
Work with someone to do a thorough analysis of your health from a function perspective. Function means what it sounds like, we’re looking at how your body is currently functioning. So your doctor looks at your symptoms and blood tests, diagnoses you with PCOS, and offers you ways to manage the symptoms. They have medications that can force your body to ovulate.
A functional practitioner looks at your symptoms and all of your tests and asks why aren’t you ovulating on your own? And how can we support your body so that it will do what it’s designed to do? Your body is designed to ovulate regularly and become pregnant.
So when I work with clients I’m looking at what’s happening with your blood sugar, is high cortisol stealing nutrients needed for progesterone, is there a overgrowth of bacteria in your gut stealing your nutrients, do you have intestinal permeability that has set your immune system into overdrive causing an autoimmune issue? We’re looking at deeper at what has caused your PCOS in the first place and how do we get your body back on track so that it can heal itself.
Learn to Recognize your Fertile Signs
The third thing I’d recommend is learn how to monitor your fertility signs. I think that many issues of infertility are likely due to simply not timing intercourse correctly. The trick is that the sperm needs to already be in your uterus before you ovulate. They need to be waiting in the lobby. But sperm can only survive up to 5 days with ideal conditions, so timing is really important.
One of the tools I give my fertility clients is a video course they can learn from on their own time that teaches them how to track their basal body temperature, cervical fluid, and use luteinizing hormone test strips to chart out the changes in their cycle that will help them know when they’re about to ovulate so that they can time intercourse correctly and confirm that they did indeed ovulate. That last part is important since women with PCOS sometimes can almost ovulate a few times during their cycle before it’s successful so you want to know if those early attempts didn’t work and you can keep trying and not miss out on an opportunity.
Get Started on your personal PCOS fertility program
When you’re doing all three of these things your chances get better month after month. So if you want to take a function approach to your fertility and actually improve your health instead of managing symptoms, you can book a free call with me to get started.