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Getting Pregnant

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

increasing the chances of getting pregnant

Essential Takeaways

  • You have a fertile window of about 6 days each month when you can conceive a pregnancy.
  • There are many different methods that you can use to figure out when that fertile window is in order to optimize your chances for pregnancy.
  • You should prepare your body for pregnancy beforehand with some simple lifestyle changes.

 

When you decide that you are ready to conceive, chances are you’re spending a lot more time thinking about how to increase your chance of getting pregnant, especially if it didn’t happen the first month or two. The good news is that we have the answers to all of your conception questions! Read on for more information about your fertile window, getting ready for a pregnancy and the ins and outs of conception sex. 

When am I most fertile?

Each month, women have around 6 days that are the best time for them to conceive. These are the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. What can be tricky is to figure out exactly when those 6 days will be ahead of time, especially if you aren’t familiar with your cycle. 

Keeping track of your periods and any related symptoms can help you figure out useful patterns that will make conception easier. For example, if your cycles are around 28 days long, ovulation will most likely take place around day 14 of your cycle (ovulation occurs about two weeks before your next anticipated period). You can then clear your schedule in the days leading up to your anticipated ovulation date.

There are many different ways that you can figure out when you are in your fertile window:

  • Ovulation tests: These are similar to home pregnancy sticks, but instead of the pregnancy hormone, they detect another hormone known as luteinizing hormone, or LH. LH is produced right before ovulation occurs. When you get a positive result, you’ll know it’s time to try!
  • Basal body temperature: This method involves taking your temperature every morning before you get out of bed using a very sensitive thermometer. In the days after ovulation, you may notice a slight, yet sustained  rise in your morning temperature, which can confirm that you’ve ovulated.
    • Insider tip: The problem with this method is that it does not tell you ahead of time when your fertile window is; rather you are just confirming that it has already occurred.

What is the best type of baby-making sex?

While you may know the mechanics of how to make a baby, you probably have some questions that you might not have thought about before. 

Can we use lube?

Some lubricants can actually affect sperm motility and health. But the good news is that there are fertility-friendly lubricants that don’t have this effect! Check out Pre-Seed, which is a vaginal lubricant that is specifically designed for couples trying to conceive. A 2007 study found that Pre-Seed didn’t have any effect on the sperm quality or motility, making it a better choice when trying to conceive.

One thing to keep in mind is that Pre-Seed and other fertility-friendly lubricants don’t actually increase your chances of conceiving above baseline. Rather, these lubricants simply don’t harm sperm. If you usually use lubricants, you should switch to a fertility-friendly version while trying to conceive. If you don’t usually use lubricants, there’s no reason to start now. 

Does the sexual position matter?

Nope! Feel free to use whichever position you prefer when trying to conceive. Even better, try switching it up to keep baby-making sex fun and interesting.

How often should we have sex during her fertility window?

In general, the recommendation is every other day during her fertile window. Assuming the male partner has a normal sperm count, having sex every day will work too. Anything more than that could start to impact his sperm, even if all testing results are normal or high. Check out this nifty flowchart to figure out what frequency will work best for you. 

Should the woman lie down afterwards?

There’s no need if you don’t want to! Sperm are ejaculated close to the cervix and travel into the uterus in a very short amount of time. They do this no matter which position a woman is in: lying down, standing up, or even upside down. However, one 2009 study found that lying down after intrauterine insemination (a procedure where sperm are injected directly into the uterus through a small catheter) might be helpful. The bottom line is that lying down for 10-15 minutes after having sex certainly won’t hurt you chances for conception, but isn’t essential.

Does the female orgasm play a role?

Having an orgasm is not a requirement and pregnancy certainly does occur without it. However, there is some thought that the rhythmic waves produced during an orgasm may help to propel the sperm towards the egg. Feel free to prioritize your orgasm during your next cycle and see if it helps!

How do I get ready for a pregnancy?

There is growing evidence that your lifestyle (and that of your partner!) will affect the health of your pregnancy, delivery, and baby. Not only that, but taking a few months to prepare your body can even make it easier to get pregnant when you’re ready. 

Don’t worry though – this doesn’t mean that you have to swear off chocolate, and spend hours in the gym every day. Instead, add lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and full fat dairy products to your diet. Don’t forget to start taking a prenatal vitamin or multivitamin with at least 400mcg of folic acid each day as well.

If you don’t exercise regularly, just try to find a little time each day to move more. Believe it or not, exercising too much can actually make it more difficult to conceive.  

Another consideration? Your weight. Being underweight or overweight can decrease your chances of pregnancy. 

Now is also the time to quit smoking and using illegal drugs and start cutting back on drinking alcohol, especially if you are a heavy drinker. You may also want to speak with your healthcare provider about any medications that you take or medical conditions that could affect a pregnancy. 

Don’t forget your partner! Getting him on board with your lifestyle changes and having him start a multi-vitamin a few months before starting to try for a baby can help improve the health of his sperm.

Does stress really matter?

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you’ve probably had at least one person tell you to “just relax and it will happen.” You’ve probably also heard that high stress levels can also make it more difficult to get pregnant. Well the good news is that this isn’t completely true!

Yes, extreme physical or psychological stress can make it more difficult to conceive. But the day-to-day stress that we all experience is not likely to cause a problem. If you find yourself getting stressed out or anxious about why it’s not working, remember that it’s okay to really want to have a baby. It’s also important to remember that not conceiving right away doesn’t make you less of a woman, broken, or pregnancy obsessed. All it means is that you may need a little help to start your family. 

That said, finding ways to manage and reduce stress is always a good thing. Need a few suggestions? Try taking a yoga class, getting a massage, planning some self-care, or grabbing a gorgeous new journal to record your feelings.

When should we get help?

While it’s important to give it a few months, there may come a time when you should consult with your obstetrician or a fertility expert. In general, women who are under 35 years of age can give it a solid year of trying before reaching out. Women who are older than 35 shouldn’t wait as long and should consider seeing their doctor after 6 months of trying to get pregnant without success.  

That said, there may be situations where it is appropriate to see a doctor before the guidelines recommend. For example, a woman who knows that she has a medical condition affecting her fertility (like PCOS or premature ovarian failure), or a man who knows that he has an issue with his sperm may not want to wait the recommended amount of time. In addition, same sex couples will need to consult with a fertility specialist as soon as they are ready to get started!

 


View sources

Chronological aspects of ultrasonic, hormonal, and other indirect indices of ovulation

Daily fecundability: first results from a new data base.

Mucus observations in the fertile window: a better predictor of conception than timing of intercourse

Wearable Sensors Reveal Menses-Driven Changes in Physiology and Enable Prediction of the Fertile Window: Observational Study

Effect of vaginal lubricants on sperm motility and chromatin integrity: a prospective comparative study

Immobilisation versus immediate mobilisation after intrauterine insemination: randomised controlled trial

Why is preconception health and care important?

Nicole Galan, RN

Nicole Galan, RN, is the author of "The Everything Fertility Book." She lives in sunny San Diego with her husband, three sons, and their dog, a puggle named Roxy. She graduated from nursing school at Pace University and worked for 10 years as an infertility nurse who specialized in third party reproduction. Nicole recently left full time practice in order to focus on raising her kiddos and attending graduate school for a Master’s degree in Nursing Education.

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