Updated on 30 March 2023
Pregnancy is a beautiful transitional journey that leads you to a new life as a mother. You birth a little version of yourself who fills your life with happiness. Arguably, pregnancy is one of the most rewarding and anticipated events of a woman’s life. Needless to say, it is a different experience for everyone and takes time to achieve.
Let’s understand how long after sex does pregnancy occur. We shall begin from the start: sex. Although unprotected sex is where the process starts, it may not always lead to pregnancy. There are several checkpoints that your body has to go through to finally enter the stage of pregnancy. After sex, the sperm must fuse with the egg (the ovum) to produce a fertilised egg; this takes an entire series of events cascading into one another.
After sex, under normal circumstances, the sperm cells can fuse with an egg as soon as 30 minutes after entering the vagina aperture. An egg (ovum) is released into the fallopian tube every month by an alternate ovary, which typically happens on the 14th day of your last period. Once released, your egg remains viable to fuse with the sperm for the next 12 to 24 hours.
Sperm cells are mobile and have the ability to swim toward the fallopian tube with a forward projection of 25 micrometres per second. Upon sex, the sperm cells travel toward the ovum to fuse and undergo the process of fertilisation in the fallopian tube (where the ovum remains for 12-24 hours). Typically, sperm cells can remain alive in your body for approximately 5 days after sex.
The initiation of pregnancy is usually characterised by implantation when the fertilised egg gets implanted in the uterus. This implantation usually occurs at the time you would have got your period had you not become pregnant. This fertilised egg grows and develops into an embryo and finally a foetus. During this entire process, hormones play a vital role; any hormonal imbalance may affect the course of pregnancy.
Given that your menstrual cycles are regular and you know when you are to ovulate, you have a fertile window of about 7 days in which you can get pregnant after sex. This means that if you have sex 5 days before expected ovulation, leading up to two days after it (day 9 to 16 since the first day of your last period), you can conceive (sperm-egg fusion) in as early as 30 minutes after sex!
So, if you seem to have missed your period for more than a week, you can take a pregnancy test to confirm if you’re pregnant.
This means that if you are planning to get pregnant, you should track your menstrual cycles and ovulation and work around accordingly.
The endocrine system plays a significant role in pregnancy that might be indicated by diverse signs and symptoms. In case you’re pregnant, you may experience:
If you're in your fertile years while being sexually active and you have regular periods, a delay in your menstruation cycle of more than a week or longer might indicate pregnancy. However, if you have been having an irregularity in your menstrual cycle physiologically, please consult your doctor.
The endocrine system fluctuates massively in the early months of pregnancy which might result in discomfort and ache in your breasts. The discomfort might arise due to sudden changes in your body and its response to hormonal changes; this discomfort should subside after a few weeks.
Morning sickness usually settles in one to two months into the pregnancy and can affect the expecting mother at any time of day or night. While it is difficult to understand the reason for nausea during pregnancy, hormones are most likely to blame.
Fatigue is a very common early symptom of pregnancy. It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of tiredness in the first trimester of pregnancy since the body is just getting adapted to the changing environment.
You may notice that you've been urinating more frequently than normal. During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body rises. Since an embryo’s renal system is premature, the excretion is carried out through your kidneys, processing excess fluid that collects in your bladder.
While the enlisted symptoms might indicate pregnancy, a pregnancy test kit might indicate the presence or absence of the same with almost 99 per cent accuracy. A pregnant woman releases the Human Gonadotropin hormone (HCG), which is detected by home pregnancy test kits and is one of the most reliable methods to know for sure if you're pregnant. You may get a home pregnancy test kit at a pharmacy near you.
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In the course of your pregnancy, your may consult your practitioner if you should take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400mcg of folic acid when you make an appointment. These vitamins are essential for the healthy development of your baby’s neural tube during early pregnancy. The brain and spine will emerge from the neural tube.
An appointment with your healthcare practitioner prior to planning a pregnancy is a fantastic way to understand the journey toward pregnancy, as it’s one of the most special ones. If you take medicine for a chronic disease or have additional medical issues like diabetes, hypertension, or lupus, scheduling a preconception consultation is vital.
Your physician will review any existing medical issues as well as your overall health prior to pregnancy at this session. This visit is designed to put you in the best possible position to start a new pregnancy.
1. Allen J. Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D., Clarice R. Weinberg, Ph.D.and Donna D. Baird, Ph.D. (1995). Timing of Sexual Intercourse in Relation to Ovulation — Effects on the Probability of Conception, Survival of the Pregnancy, and Sex of the Baby. nejm.org
2. Konishi S, Saotome TT, Shimizu K, Oba MS, O'Connor KA. (2020). Coital Frequency and the Probability of Pregnancy in Couples Trying to Conceive Their First Child: A Prospective Cohort Study in Japan. NCBI
3. Johnson, Sarah PhD; Marriott, Lorrae MSc; Zinaman, Michael MD. (2018). Increased Likelihood of Pregnancy from Sex on the Two Days Before Ovulation. journals.lww.com
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