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The first thing I recommend is getting a preconception visit with your doctor; that way, they can ensure that you're healthy, that you don't have any issues that need to be identified in advance before getting pregnant.
Second, I think it's important to maximize your health. Make sure you get lots of sleep, stay active, and make healthy food choices.
Third, get to know your menstrual cycle. You can follow your menstrual cycle either using a phone app or you can use your calendar. If you're having regular cycles, that's very reassuring that you're ovulating. Most women ovulate about 2 weeks before their period, which is about day 10 to day 19. Other ways to follow your menstrual cycles and to detect ovulation is to follow your cervical mucus, do basal body temperatures first thing in the morning, or use an ovulation-predictor kit.
A lot of women get very frustrated if they don't get pregnant in the first month, but be reassured that 80 percent of women get pregnant in the first 6 months.
Are there ways I can get pregnant fast?
Yes! There are a few steps you can take to speed things along. But even before jump-starting your baby-making efforts, it's a good idea to prepare a little by:
- Scheduling a preconception checkup with a doctor or midwife
- Kicking any unhealthy habits (like drinking, smoking, or using drugs)
- Getting yourself to a healthy weight
- Starting to take at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily about a month before you start trying to conceive. (This nutrient can dramatically reduce the risk of certain birth defects.)
Once your body is ready, try these tips to boost your chances of getting pregnant fast:
Figure out when you ovulate. The key to getting pregnant quickly is figuring out when you'll ovulate, or release an egg from your ovary.
You ovulate only once each menstrual cycle. If you can tell when you'll ovulate, you have a better chance of getting pregnant that cycle.
You can use a few different methods to determine when you ovulate. Here are the top three ways to predict ovulation:
- If your cycle is regular (the same number of days each time), try our ovulation calculator to tell when you're most fertile each month.
- Use an ovulation predictor kit to test your hormone levels in the middle of your cycle – it will indicate when you're about to ovulate.
- Track ovulation symptoms, such as changes in your basal body temperature and cervical mucus, to see when you can get pregnant.
If you have irregular periods, pinpointing ovulation could be difficult. Ask your provider for advice.
Have sex at the right time. Once you know your time frame for ovulation, plan to have sex during your most fertile period, which is the two to three days before ovulation through the day you ovulate.
If you're not sure when you'll be most fertile, aim to have sex every other day during the middle two weeks of your cycle. That way, you're likely to have healthy sperm in your fallopian tubes whenever your body releases an egg.
Another tip: If you and your partner are trying to time sex to ovulation, make sure you haven't gone through too long of a dry spell beforehand. Your partner should ejaculate at least once in the days just before you're most fertile to make sure there's plenty of healthy sperm in his semen.
Take our quiz to test your knowledge about timing sex for conception!
Give sperm a boost. Strong, healthy sperm have the best chance of fertilizing an egg. Your male partner can do several things to try to improve his fertility:
- Avoid tobacco and recreational drugs.
- Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than two a day.
- Get to a healthy weight if overweight.
- Get enough of certain key nutrients – like zinc, folic acid, and vitamin C – that help produce strong and plentiful sperm.
- Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and manage stress.
The sooner your partner makes these changes, the better: Sperm take a while to mature, so any improvements now will yield better sperm in about three months.
What are the best sex positions for getting pregnant?
There's no evidence that any particular sexual position is more likely to lead to conception. You may have heard that some positions, such as the missionary position (man on top), are more promising than others because sperm is deposited closest to the cervix, but no scientific studies back this up.
There's also no truth to the notion that you shouldn't have sex more often than every other day when you're trying to conceive. If your partner's sperm is normal, it will replenish from day to day, so there's no need to wait. The main thing is to have sex close to the day you ovulate.
Note: Many vaginal lubricants (store-bought products as well as homemade versions, like olive oil) can slow down sperm. If you want to use one, ask your provider to recommend one that won't affect fertility.
Does having an orgasm boost my chances of getting pregnant?
Some people believe that a woman who comes after her partner ejaculates is more likely to get pregnant, but there's no evidence to support this claim.
Having an orgasm isn't necessary for conception, but it is possible that the uterine contractions from an orgasm propel sperm toward the fallopian tubes.
Should I stay lying down after having sex to help my chances of conceiving?
There's no evidence that this makes a difference either. As ovulation approaches, you may notice sticky vaginal discharge (cervical mucus). This type of mucus 'traps' sperm, so even if some semen seeps out, most of the sperm stay alive in your body. And with millions of sperm in every ejaculation, plenty of them should be making their way toward the egg, even if you get up right away.
Can't we just have sex and see what happens?
Of course! But for best results, try having sex every other day during the middle two weeks of your cycle. For example, if your cycle lasts four weeks (from the start of one period to the next) have sex often during the second and third week.
How long does it take to get pregnant?
No one can say exactly how long it will take you to get pregnant, but most couples who are trying get pregnant within three months.
It could take longer if you're older, have lifestyle habits that can affect fertility (like smoking), or have a condition that impairs fertility.
Of all couples trying to conceive:
- 30 percent get pregnant within the first cycle (about one month).
- 60 percent get pregnant within three cycles (about three months).
- 80 percent get pregnant within six cycles (about six months).
- 85 percent get pregnant within 12 cycles (about one year).
- 92 percent get pregnant within 48 cycles (about four years).
How does age affect pregnancy rates?
The older you get, the longer it may take you to get pregnant – mainly because egg quality declines with age. (You were born with all the eggs you'll ever have.) That means fewer of them are able to join with a sperm and grow into a healthy baby. Interestingly, male fertility rates don't start to go down until around age 50.
You have your best chances of conceiving naturally during your 20s, and your fertility begins to decline as you age. A healthy 30-year-old has about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month, but by the time you're 40, you have only about a 5 percent chance. By age 45, very few women get pregnant naturally.
How long should we try before getting help?
If you're younger than 35 and haven't gotten pregnant after trying for a year, it's time to see a fertility specialist.
If you're 35 or older, talk to a specialist after you've tried for six months with no luck.
Of course, if you know there's a reason you or your partner could have a fertility problem, you may want to see a specialist even before you start trying.