How To Get Pregnant: Tips And Facts To Increase Fertility
We’ve spoken to the experts to come up with 10 tips for how to get pregnant quickly and safely.
You may have many questions about how to get pregnant, particularly if you have an underlying condition. Taking care of your body is a good first step to optimize your fertility. But what else can you do to improve your odds of having a baby?
The most important advice for a woman who wants to get pregnant is to get to know her body, specifically her menstrual cycle, said Dr. Mary Ellen Pavone, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, and medical director of the in-vitro fertilization program at Northwestern Medicine’s Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility division in Chicago.
“It’s important to know how far apart her cycles are so she can more accurately time intercourse to try to get pregnant,” Pavone said.
We’ve highlighted the top ten tips that may help increase your chances of becoming pregnant. As always with this type of information make sure to speak to a medical professional as this advice is broad and you may require specialist attention. You should still find this article and accompanying video on how to get pregnant useful.
If Youre Worried About Fertility
If youve been having regular, unprotected sex for a year and youre not pregnant yet, it doesnt mean you cant get pregnant but its a good idea to go and see your GP. Make an appointment sooner if:
- you have a known fertility issue, such endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome or premature ovarian insufficiency
- your partner has a known fertility issue, such as low sperm count
- you are concerned you or your partner may have a medical problem that may be stopping you getting pregnant
- you have irregular or no periods.
Your GP will talk to you about your lifestyle, general health and medical history. They can advise you about the things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant and how your partner can improve their fertility.
Record Menstrual Cycle Frequency
A woman who wants to have a baby should monitor whether the first days of her periods tend to occur the same number of days apart every month, which is considered regular. Conversely, her periods may be irregular, meaning her cycle lengths vary from month to month. By tracking this information on a calendar, a woman can better predict when she might be ovulating, according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine . This is the time every month when her ovaries will release an egg. There are also some apps that can help with the tracking, such as GlowOvulation period tracker .
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Early Changes To Breasts: Tingling Aching Growing
Breast changes can occur between weeks 4 and 6. Youre likely to develop tender and swollen breasts due to hormone changes. This will likely go away after a few weeks when your body has adjusted to the hormones.
Nipple and breast changes can also occur around week 11. Hormones continue to cause your breasts to grow. The areola the area around the nipple may change to a darker color and grow larger.
If youve had bouts with acne before your pregnancy, you may experience breakouts again.
What Are Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant Every Month
Generally, a woman whos trying to get pregnant has between a 15% and 25% chance of doing so each month. Despite those odds, most couples conceive within the first year of trying.
Whether you will conceive depends on several factors such as your overall health, age, your and your partners fertility, and having sex at the right time during your cycle.
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Using Ovulation Predictor Tests
Ovulation predictor testswork a lot like pregnancy tests, except they tell you when you’re likely about to ovulate. They come as test sticks or test strips that react with your urine. To use these, you can urinate into a cup and then dip the test strip into the collected urine. You will get your result based on color changes or digital reading.
At-home ovulation tests detect the luteinizing hormone in your urine. LH surges just before you ovulate, so when the test reads positive, this indicates that your body is attempting to trigger the egg release from the ovary and that it is probably your optimal time to become pregnant.
Can I Get Pregnant Just After My Period Has Finished
Yes, although it’s not very likely. If you have sex without using contraception, you can conceive at any time during your menstrual cycle, even during or just after your period.
You can also get pregnant if you have never had a period before, during your first period, or after the first time you have sex.
There’s no “safe” time of the month when you can have sex without contraception and not risk becoming pregnant.
But there are times in your menstrual cycle when you’re at your most fertile, and this is when you’re most likely to conceive.
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Kick The Smoking And Drinking Habits
Smoking can lead to fertility problems in both women and men. Chemicals found in cigarette smoke, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, speed up the loss rate of a woman’s eggs, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine .
Smoking ages a woman’s ovaries and depletes her supply of eggs prematurely, according to the Mayo Clinic. In a study published in 2020 in the journalReproductive Biology and Endocrinology , researchers looked at scientific findings around smoking, alcohol, addiction and fertility they found that smoking is linked to decreased fertility.
It’s also a good idea for women to stay away from secondhand smoke, which may affect their chances of becoming pregnant, according to a 2009 study published in BMJ Journals . Taking or attempting to conceive should also be avoided.
It’s safest for a woman to avoid alcohol when she is hoping to become pregnant. A woman should also stop consuming alcohol if she stops using birth control because she wants to get pregnant. That said, a 2019 Danish study of 1,708 women over a five-year period did not find a link between regular alcohol consumption and binge drinking, and fertility, according to the study published in the journalHuman Reproduction .
However, a 2017 study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that in the United States, half of all pregnant women drink alcohol around the time they conceive or during early pregnancy, usually before they know they are expecting.
How Long Does It Take
Once a couple starts trying to conceive, they expect and want pregnancy to happen quickly. More than half of women expect to become pregnant within six months, with younger women tending to expect it to happen more quickly. However, in a study of over 1,400 women who had planned their most recent pregnancy, 30-44% found it took longer than expected.
A common, and easily remedied, factor is mistiming of intercourse. As many as half of all couples may be trying to conceive at the wrong time, because they dont know when their most fertile days are.
As the graph above shows, you are most likely to conceive if you time intercourse on the day of ovulation on the day before but you still have a chance of falling pregnant on the days leading up to ovulation.
If you have been trying to get pregnant for longer than a year, it is recommended that you seek medical opinion.
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Ive Already Had A Child But Am Struggling To Conceive Again
Professor Michael Thomas
A number of factors can impede your ability to get pregnant even after having had a child in the past. The most common issue is your current age. If you had a child in the past and you are now over the age of 35 years, your ability to get pregnant may be decreased. You may also have developed a problem with your ability to ovulate consistently or a polyp or fibroid in the uterine cavity that may impact an embryo’s ability to implant and thrive. Also, your male partner may have a sperm abnormality that has caused a decrease in his sperm count, motility or shape. If you are at all concerned consult your healthcare professional.
When To See A Doctor
Females who track their fertile window with the aim of getting pregnant should see their doctor for preconception planning.
As well as identifying barriers to conceiving, a doctor can advise on the use of folic acid or prenatal supplements to encourage a safe pregnancy.
Most couples who have frequent sex without contraception will conceive within 12 months.
Women under 35 years of age should see their doctor if they do not conceive after a year of trying. Those over 35 years of age should seek medical advice after 6 months of trying to conceive.
Anyone who has irregular cycles or does not appear to ovulate should also speak with their doctor. There may be an underlying medical cause that is preventing ovulation and conception.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about when pregnancy can occur.
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Is Day 14 Your Most Fertile Day
You may have heard that day 14 of your cycle is when you ovulate. As a result, many women have sex on day 11, 12, and 13, thinking this will give them the best chance at conception. But many women don’t ovulate on day 14. Normal ovulation can occur as early as day 10 and as late as day 20. If you have irregular cycles, ovulation can occur even later.
How Long To Try To Get Pregnant Before Seeing A Specialist
Talk with your doctor if youre under 35 and havent conceived after a year of actively trying, or if youre over 35 and havent conceived within six months.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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Using Ovulation Calculators And Kits
Ovulation calendars and kits can also help you predict ovulation.
Ovulation calendars are available on websites such as www.yourfertility.org.au, and use the date of your last period and the length of your cycle to predict when you are likely to be most fertile.
Home ovulation predictor kits are available from pharmacies. You use the kit a few days before your predicted ovulation day, to test for a rise in the level of a hormone called luteinising hormone in your urine. A positive result indicates you will ovulate within the next 24 to 36 hours.
A blood test, which your doctor can order, can also detect ovulation by measuring levels of the hormone progesterone.
For more information and support, call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436.
Avoid Toxic Substances And Environmental Contaminants
Avoid harmful chemicals, environmental contaminants, and other toxic substances such as synthetic chemicals, metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and cat or rodent feces around the home and in the workplace. These substances can hurt the reproductive systems of men and women. They can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Exposure to even small amounts during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, or puberty can lead to diseases. Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from toxic substances at work and at home.
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How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant After Going Off Birth Control
Wondering if your body needs time to adjust to being off the pill before youll be able to conceive? The answer isnt exactly clear-cut, but in most cases, hormonal birth control shouldnt throw too much of a wrench in your pregnancy plans.
Hormonal birth control methods like the pill, patch, ring or hormonal IUD all work by turning off hormone signals mainly by stopping ovulation . Once you stop using this form of contraception, those hormones turn back on and you go back to ovulating.
Most women start getting regular periods again a sign that youre likely ovulating regularly within a few weeks after stopping birth control. But for others it can take up to three months and thats completely normal.
Just like theres some variation in when your period will come back after stopping birth control, some women take a little longer than others to conceive. Some research shows that having taken oral contraceptives doesnt affect a womans ability to get pregnant in the short- or longer-term. But other research found that going off the pill is tied to a slight delay when compared with barrier methods.
Have Frequent Sex During Your Fertile Window
One of the most common questions among people trying to conceive is: How often should I have sex if Im trying to get pregnant?
The short answer is that it depends on your preferences as a couple, and whether there are any known fertility issues.
Overall, studies have shown that couples who have sex every day or every other day during the fertile window have the highest rates of pregnancy. Also, doctors often recommend sticking to just once a day during the fertile window.
If having sex every day or every other day isnt possible or enjoyable, set a goal to have sex throughout your cycle. This can get you and your partner into a regular sex routine, which can carry you into the fertile window.
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Can Age Affect My Ability To Get Pregnant
If you are then, perhaps try for just six months before getting help. And if youre 40 or over it is advisable to go and see your doctor as soon as you decide to try for a baby.
The reason the advice above varies by age, is that your age is a key factor in likelihood to get pregnant. A womans natural fertility will already start to decline in her late 20s due to the fact she has fewer eggs and the quality of the remaining eggs is likely to be lower than when she was younger.
After 35 years is at a critical level and the chances of achieving pregnancy are very much lower. This is true not only for natural conception but also for assisted conception.
According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, about 95% of women aged 35 who have regular unprotected sexual intercourse will get pregnant after three years of trying, but for women aged 38, only 75% will do so.
The graph above shows the effect of age on the declining chances of conception.
Professor William Ledger, Fertility Specialist
We know that enthusiasm for and enjoyment of sex can rapidly wane when attempts at conception fail, bringing pressure on the relationship. In addition, women nowadays tend to be older when they first try to conceive and so cannot afford to be as relaxed about time to conception as in earlier generations. This is particularly important when the couple plans two or three children.
Can Stress Affect Fertility
Stress probably has a minimal impact on a women’s ability to get pregnant. Studies have shown that elite athletes and women with low female hormone production activate their stress hormones, which can have an impact on their ability to release an egg. However, normal day to day stress may not have as much of an impact on your ability to conceive. Usually stressful situations are short term and don’t have an on-going effect on your fertility.
It had been suggested that using to time intercourse on the most fertile days could be stressful, but a by Professor William Ledger and Clearblue found that using these tests is no more stressful than trying to conceive without them. In fact, in this study 77% more women got pregnant in the group that were using the tests.
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Fertility And Your Menstrual Cycle
The most fertile time of your menstrual cycle occurs around ovulation, when your ovaries release a mature egg for fertilization. This window varies from woman to woman, depending on the length and regularity of her menstrual cycles. For those with a 28-day menstrual cycles, ovulation usually occurs between days 13 to 15.
Once an egg is released, it has 12 to 24 hours to be fertilized before it dissolves. Sperm, on the other hand, can stay alive in the body for 3 to 5 days, making a woman fertile for about 5 to 7 days.
How To Get A Woman Pregnant
This article was co-authored by Joshua U. Klein, MD, FACOG and by wikiHow staff writer, Amy Bobinger. Dr. Joshua U. Klein is a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Co-Founder of Extend Fertility. He specializes in IVF, egg freezing, infertility, fertility preservation, artificial insemination, and treating polycystic ovarian syndrome . Dr. Klein has been published in numerous peer-reviewed academic journals such as Science, Fertility and Sterility, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. He holds a BA in English from Yeshiva University and an MD from Harvard Medical School.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 17 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,676,442 times.
If you and your partner want to get pregnant, you might be wondering what you can do to help. While most methods of improving fertility tend to focus on tracking a cisgender woman’s cycle, as a cisgender man, you can take steps that may improve your sperm count. There’s no way to guarantee that you and your partner will conceive, but there are things you can do to increase the odds!
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