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What you can and cannot control when TTC

If you’ve been trying to conceive (TTC) for a while now, you know firsthand how frustrating and discouraging it can be when your period arrives. As much as you wish and hope, that big fat positive on your pregnancy test is taking longer than you expected. It can be an emotional roller coaster and it’s important that you know the things you can and cannot control. Understanding where the line is will help you make small changes in the areas you can impact and come up with a plan to address the areas that are outside of your control. 

What you can control

Timing of intercourse or introducing sperm

Making a baby is all about timing and, thankfully, you have control over how often and when you have sex or introduce sperm. Checking your cervical fluid and tracking your basal body temperature can help you know when you are ovulating to maximize your chances of success. For couples TTC through intercourse, the highest rates of pregnancy happen for those who have sex every day or every other day during the fertile window, which is the day of ovulation plus the 5 days beforehand. 

Your health

Having a healthy body is important overall, and it’s no different for baby making. This goes for your partner too. Having healthy habits such as eating nutritious food and integrating movement into your day can help prime your body for when you finally do get that positive test. Cutting down on alcohol and caffeine, avoiding smoking, and taking a folic acid supplement can help in your efforts to get pregnant.

Your mindset

It’s common to feel sad or frustrated when you’ve been TTC for a while with no results. Even if it’s taking a little longer than expected, with practice you can aspects of how you think about the situation. Staying relaxed and having a positive attitude can help make the process a little easier. And if you just rolled your eyes, we hear you. There are some specific things you can do to improve your mindset like talking to a therapist and setting boundaries around work. Even spending time outside has been shown to increase happiness.

Things you can’t control

How long it will take

Although it would be nice to have a crystal ball and know exactly when conception will happen, unfortunately there’s just no way to know for sure. Studies show that most couples (about 84%) will get pregnant within their first year of trying. This is reassuring, but of course, every person is different. Some may get pregnant on their first try while others may take 6 months or more.

Your fertility

Having a condition that affects fertility is not your fault. About 12% of women ages 15- 44  have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. And even though it’s common, struggling to conceive can feel extremely isolating. It’s essential that you have a support system and/or a professional to speak with. 

When your friends get pregnant before you

When you’ve been TTC with no luck, hearing of a friend’s pregnancy can be bittersweet. Of course, you’re happy for your friend, but you may also feel a sense of sadness. Acknowledging your feelings, focusing on self-care, and remaining optimistically realistic can all be helpful in moving forward.

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team


Mayo Clinic Staff. “How to get pregnant.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. October 5, 2019.

“Trying to get pregnant.” National Health Service. NHS. December 2, 2020.

“How long does it usually take to get pregnant?” National Health Service. NHS. September 4, 2018.

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