Every time I had sex while trying to conceive, I'd wonder, "Was that it? Would this be the time I finally got pregnant?" I always thought I'd just "know" when I was pregnant, whether through intuition or some kind of physical feeling when the deed actually worked. But can you feel yourself get pregnant? I mean, other than just feeling yourself having sex, because you're past that.
Here's the thing, fertilization is actually a really complex process. According to The University of New South Wales Embryology department, the time between sex and pregnancy is actually around seven to 10 days in total. First, you have sex (obviously). But here's the thing, sperm can live inside your body for up to five days before it connects with the egg. Once it does that, it goes into a process wherein it moves from the fallopian tube to the uterus. Then, your body starts producing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone, which causes the zygote to stick to the wall of the uterus and begin forming its placenta — this is implantation, and technically, you're not pregnant until this occurs — days after having sex or being inseminated.
Basically? You're probably not getting pregnant as soon as you have sex. In fact, it can take days before you're actually pregnant. So the chances of you "feeling" it happen are pretty slim.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), however, while you may feel symptoms early in your pregnancy, they often mirror premenstrual syndrome, and can be easily overlooked. However, those symptoms begin with implantation very early in the pregnancy and can range from sharp abdominal pains accompanied by spotting, to frequent urination, nausea, and mood swings.
That means that you could begin to feel pregnant as soon as 10 days after you ovulate, according to Livestrong. Can you feel yourself get pregnant before that? It's unlikely, according to the ACOG. However, that doesn't mean that women don't emotionally or intuitively feel themselves get pregnant. There are countless message boards filled with stories about how women simply "knew" they were pregnant. While this was not the case for me, it wasn't until I was about to go to an amusement park and decided to take a test that I realized I was pregnant with my son. I had no symptoms — until a week later when all hell broke loose.
A quick, unscientific survey of my friends who have been pregnant finds that about 50 percent of them said they could tell before taking a test that they were pregnant and that they could feel themselves getting pregnant. Many of my friends noted that they got better at predicting pregnancy with each subsequent pregnancy. Meaning, if they couldn't tell with number one, by baby number three, they had a pretty good idea.
If this is your first pregnancy, you probably won't be able to feel yourself getting pregnant, but, if it's number four, you might know the minute you finish having sex with your partner or shortly thereafter. You'll probably be practically psychic by number six. But all of that is just intuition. Physically, you probably won't feel much. (And if it's not your first pregnancy, you're probably too busy cleaning sticky children to notice.) I thought I might be pregnant the second time, but I still wasn't sure. Maybe you'll be better at pregnancy tarot reading than I was. Or, you could take a test.