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    How long does it take to get pregnant after sex? A timeline

    Updated 09 March 2023 |
    Published 06 June 2022
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Jenna Flanagan, Academic generalist obstetrician and gynecologist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts, US
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    You have sex, and then you get pregnant — or so your sex education classes would have you believe. But what happens in between?

    When you’re actively trying to get pregnant, it’s easy to get caught up with wanting to understand all the details about how it works. Sure, you might have attended sex ed classes at school like everyone else, but lots of us just learned how not to get pregnant — not so useful now!

    You could be facing the prospect of using your body in a whole new way, which is probably why you’re googling things like “How long does it take to get pregnant after sex?” Trying to conceive can bring a newfound curiosity about your reproductive system, and the more you know, the more power you have.

    Here at Flo, we’ve got all the answers you need. This expert guide includes details on how you get pregnant, plus a timeline of how long it takes after sex and when pregnancy symptoms might occur, so you can understand better what happens and when. 

    When can you get pregnant after sex?

    You might assume that after having unprotected sex, pregnancy happens immediately. But, as this timeline of conception will show, that’s not the case. There are lots of stages that need to take place for an embryo (which later becomes a fetus) to be created, meaning pregnancy doesn’t physically begin until some days after sexual intercourse. However, when dating a pregnancy (known as gestational age), the first day of your last menstrual period is considered the starting point. This means that, often, when people discover they’re pregnant after missing a period, they’ll technically be four weeks pregnant (or more).

    Everything you need to know about getting pregnant

    From when to have sex to early pregnancy signs

    In order to understand the ins and outs of how long it takes to conceive after sex, let’s go back to basics. There’s only a certain time (known as the fertile window) in your cycle during which you even have