Why can’t I get pregnant?

If you're struggling to get pregnant, here are 10 reasons you may be having trouble.

It might seem that getting pregnant is straightforward process, but having a baby depends on everything being just right, including your lifestyle.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of 10 reasons that could explain why you’re not seeing those signs of pregnancy yet.

Have a look through and see if any apply to you and your partner, we’ve then got tips, advice and support to help you if they do. While people can naturally assume that they’re infertile after long periods of trying unsucessfully, this may not always be the case.

Why can’t I get pregnant: 10 areas to look at

1. You’re not having enough sex!


It seems like a straightforward one but the more you have sex the more chance there is that you’ll conceive. Guidance from the NHS outlines that having sex every two to three days over the course of a month gives couple’s the best chance of conceiving. Sex waxes and wanes over the course of a relationship, but having a frank discussion with your partner about the end goal could set things in motion.

2. You’re having sex at the wrong times


Having problems knowing when you’re ovulating? Either you’re struggling to work it out properly or just don’t know where to start.

It’s absolutely crucial when trying for a baby that you have sex when the egg, and your whole body, is ready to be fertilised and the only way you’ll know this for sure is to know what happens during ovulation and what your cycle is.

Our Ovulation date calculator helps you work out when you’re most fertile.

3. You or your partner smoke

We know it’s a tough habit to kick but smoking can lower a man’s sperm count and can impact your fertility so it may make getting pregnant more of an uphill battle.

Your GP or even local pharmacy can advise you about the various NHS Stop Smoking programmes.

4. You or your partner drink alcohol regularly


If either of you have more than four units a week it can lower your chances of falling pregnant by a third.

In a similar way to smoking, it can affect your partner’s sperm count. You may want to try cutting down gradually or take part in intiatives such as Dry January to give you a kickstart.

5. Your diet isn’t balanced enough


To work at its best, your body needs a balanced diet.

This doesn’t mean cutting out junk food altogether or following a strict eating regime, it just means that eating everything in moderation.

And if you want to get pregnant you’ll need to ensure you’re getting all the essential vitamins and minerals you need.

There are even certain foods which actually boost your fertility like fish and wholegrains.

6. You or your partner are either underweight or overweight


Women who are classified as overweight or obese have a much lower chance of getting pregnant. This is because of the stress extra weight can put on your whole body.

Being underweight can also be a problem too. A healthy weight range for women is a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 18.5 and 24.9.

If you’re worried speak to your doctor who will be advise you on the appropriate steps you can take.

Your GP can also advise if you have any underlying conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which may be contributing to both your weight gain and fertility issues.

7. You or your partner drink a lot of caffeine


Whether it’s through tea, coffee or fizzy drinks too much caffeine can lower a man’s sperm count and affect your fertility too.

Ideally you should try to limit your caffeine intake to just one cup of tea or coffee a day.

8. You or your partner don’t get enough exercise


Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, and can also reduce stress – two things which could be impacting your ability to get pregant.

Increasingly your daily activity gradually with the help of a fitness tracker or joining a group class could set you up on the right path.

9. You’re overworrying about getting pregnant


This may be easier said than done but try not to obsess about getting pregnant – stress can be a contributing factor in irregular periods and can affect the hormones that tell your ovaries to release the egg.

It can also put a lot of pressure on your relationship – which could be a passion killer when it comes to your sex life.

Fertility expert, Zita West says: ‘Sex can steadily become mechanical for so many couples; it is so hard for it not to. Many men suffer from ‘performance anxiety’ around sex if it seems their partners are only interested in having sex around the time of ovulation.

‘If a couple can keep their lines of sexual communication open and enjoy this aspect of their relationship for its own sake, the process will be less stressful all round.’

10. You and your partner aren’t getting enough zinc and folic acid


This goes hand-in-hand with eating a healthy, balanced diet but even with a balanced diet a lot of people still don’t get enough zinc or folic acid.

And when you’re trying for a baby both are essential minerals your body needs.

Having optimum levels of zinc in your body makes sure that the sperm produced by your partner is good quality and it also reduces the risk of miscarriage.

Folic acid helps your body prepare for pregnancy by increasing the amount of healthy red blood cells and it also reduces the risk of having a baby with certain birth defects.