10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Pregnant

10 reasons
When you are trying to conceive and aren’t having success month after month, it is hard not to wonder if there could be something wrong. In some cases, there could be medical reasons why you’re not getting pregnant but there are other reasons to consider, as well, which might factor into those negative tests each month.

1. Poor Intercourse Timing

This is probably the most common reason couples are not conceiving in any given cycle. To achieve pregnancy, you must time intercourse during your fertile window, which is the 5 days leading up to ovulation and ovulation day itself.

Healthy sperm can survive for 5 to 7 days in the right conditions, so you want to have them awaiting the arrival of the egg. Aim for an “every other day” approach, especially during your fertile phase for best success. (Gurevich, When is the Best Time to Get Pregnant, 2017)

2. Too Much Sex/Too Little Sex

Sometimes it really is a case of quality over quantity. This is especially true if there are male factors to consider in your situation. If the male partner has low sperm count or motility, then you will want to avoid having intercourse every day. This could lower your chances of conceiving.

However, if you are only having sex once or twice a week, you will need to schedule in some more love-making to up your chances of catching that egg. If there are no male factors to consider, having sex every day, especially in the fertile phase, is perfectly fine and can be very enjoyable too! (Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, M.D., 2017)

3. Caffeine Consumption

It would just take a quick Google search and you could find many studies and research papers done on the effects of caffeine and alcohol on the body and even how it can decrease the odds of conceiving. You should aim to consume no more than 200mg of caffeine per day or equivalent to one or two cups of coffee.

Caffeine can affect ovulation and can also affect sperm motility, so reducing intake should be done by both partners. (Randy Morris, MD, 2016)

4. Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption can also affect the ability to conceive in both male and female partners. One drink occasionally is thought to be just fine, however, the more frequent and higher quantity of drinks one consumes the higher their chances of affecting their fertility. Alcohol consumption can stop ovulation, which means it is impossible to get pregnant.

The lining of the uterus may also be affected, not offering a proper place for the egg to implant. In males, excessive alcohol can affect the quality of their sperm and sperm count overall, making conception a challenge. (JustMommies Staff, 2017)

5. Excessive or Strenuous Exercise

While daily exercise is great for your body and overall health, excessive amounts or very strenuous exercise is not. It has been found that over 5 hours per week of exercise can cease ovulation, which means you will not get pregnant. (Mayo Clinic, 2016) You may still have “periods”, or breakthrough bleeding but still not ovulate—called an anovulatory cycle.

Excessive or strenuous exercise or activity not only affects women but men as well. In males who engage in heavy exercise regimes or strenuous activities, studies have found a decrease in sperm count, lower mobility, and overall sperm health. (Pulling Down the Moon, 2010)

6. Excessive Heat Exposure

Sperm cannot be exposed to high temperatures or they begin to die off. This can affect your chances of getting pregnant each cycle. High fevers, using laptops, cell phones, hot tubs and saunas, cycling, tight-fitting clothing and more can all contribute to poor motility and low sperm count. Luckily, these are things that can be easily controlled or changed to help improve the situation.

7. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

It is believed that between 5 to 10% of women in their childbearing years suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). (Bender, 2016)Some women may not even realize this is an issue for them. If you have cycles that are hard to track and seem to be all over the map, have a growing belly but no reason to explain, hair growing where it shouldn’t be then looking into the signs of PCOS as a possibility might be a good idea.

It is a hormonal imbalance and there are often cysts found growing on the ovaries, (Bender, 2016) greatly affecting your chances of becoming pregnant.

8. Underweight or Overweight

Unfortunately, weight does matter when it comes to fertility—especially for women. If a woman is carrying extra weight, thus more fat cells, the cells produce estriol which is a weak form of estrogen. This puts too much estrogen in the body and her cycle could cease altogether in some cases, making achieving pregnancy very difficult or impossible.

If a woman is underweight she doesn’t have enough fat cells. The ones she does have produce an anti-estrogen hormone called 2-hydroxyestrone. (Gurevich, Why Your Weight Matters When You Are Trying to Conceive, 2017 ) The production of this hormone shuts down the reproductive system, preventing pregnancy from occurring.

9. Smoking

While it seems obvious that most people know smoking is not good for your health, not many people realize it can actually affect your chances of getting pregnant. Smoking affects the maturation process for both egg and sperm, therefore both partners should aim to quit. Smoking can also affect the DNA found in the egg and sperm which could have long-term effects on the baby. (Fertility Coalition, 2017)

10. Stress

It may seem cliché to mention stress as a reason you aren’t getting pregnant, but it is a harsh reality. Yes, it is true that most people experience stress in today’s world, however, excessive worrying and stress takes a toll on your body, with your reproductive system being no exception. Stress can release hormones in the brain, which can have an effect on the release of an egg each month. The cycle can get mixed up in the process. (Korneliussen, 2012)

Male reproductive health is also affected by high levels of stress. Erectile dysfunction is often related to high levels of stress or anxiety, which can take its toll on making babies. Sperm counts and motility are affected by physical and emotional stress in males as well. (ICBS, Inc., 2007)

Unfortunately, stress is vicious cycle when it comes to infertility. You could be experiencing difficulty in conceiving due to stress, only to have this cause more stress. It is important to find a way to reduce levels of stress in your life.


  • Bender, R. G. (2016, February 5). 7 Subtle Signs You Could Have PCOS. Retrieved from Self
  • Fertility Coalition. (2017). Smoking and Fertility. Retrieved from Your Fertility
  • Gurevich, R. (2017, July 31). Why Your Weight Matters When You Are Trying to Conceive. Retrieved from Verywell.com
  • Gurevich, R. (2017, July 27). When is the Best Time to Get Pregnant. Retrieved from Verywell.com
  • ICBS, Inc. (2007). Stress and Infertility. Retrieved from Holistic Online.com
  • JustMommies Staff. (2017). Alcohol and Fertility. Retrieved from JustMommies.com
  • Korneliussen, I. (2012, December 17). How Stress Affects Conception. Retrieved from ScienceNordic
  • Mayo Clinic. (2016, November 2). Getting Pregnant–Maximizing Fertility: What to Avoid. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic
  • Pulling Down the Moon. (2010). Male Fertility: Keeping The Boys Fit and Fertile. Retrieved from Attain Fertility Plan for Success
  • Randy Morris, MD. (2016). Caffeine and Fertility. Retrieved from Ivf1
  • Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, M.D. (2017, July 12). Getting Started on Getting Pregnant. Retrieved from WebMD

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