How Soon Can We Try And Get Pregnant After Having A Baby
For the health of mom and the baby, research recommends waiting at least 18 to 24 months but less than five years between pregnancies. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises waiting for at least six months or more but cautions against the risks of pregnancy before 18 months after your baby is born.
Recent research has shown that the risks that were originally thought to accompany short intervals between pregnancies, preterm delivery, low birth weight and admissions to the NICU, may not be because of the short interval, but may be due to other things, Dr. Reed said. That being said, its advisable to try to avoid pregnancy within six months of a live birth.
What Are Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant
If youre wondering what your odds are of getting pregnant, your chances are pretty good when youre younger. In fact, an average healthy couple in their 20s and early 30s has about a 25 to 30 percent chance of getting pregnant during any one menstrual cycle, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .
Though that number may seem low, over the span of a year it means your chances of conceiving are about 75 to 85 percent. Just keep in mind that those odds drop with age, which may be a factor if youre finding that its difficult for you to get pregnant.
Identify Your Fertile Window And Start Tracking Ovulation
Your fertile window usually occurs mid-cycle and is when you have the highest chance of getting pregnant. During this window, ovulation when an egg is released from an ovary occurs. Once this happens, conception is possible.
Tracking your cycle helps set you up for success by narrowing down your fertile window. But the next step to further improve your chances of getting pregnant is identifying when youre ovulating. Since conception cant happen until an egg is released, knowing your ovulation window helps you better time sex.
From monitoring your cervical mucus and basal body temperature, to ovulation predictor kits, there are several methods to help figure out your most fertile days.
Want to know more? Check out our guide to fertility and ovulation.
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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 people have sex on day 11, 12, and 13, thinking this will give them the best chance at conception. But many people 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. So, your most fertile day is not necessarily say 14.
Age Is A Major Factor For Women
Youve probably heard the phrase your biological clock is ticking. This phrase refers to your fertile window. Women cant conceive after their menstrual cycles stop, usually sometime in your 40s or 50s. Men produce sperm throughout their lives, but women are born with a set number of eggs that decreases as you age.
At birth you have about two million eggs but naturally lose hundreds of thousands of them by the time you reach puberty, says Cross. Your body continues to lose eggs no matter what you do. And the rate at which women lose eggs accelerates around the age of 37.
The quality of eggs stored in the ovaries also declines over time. The eggs youre born with are naturally paused in the process of dividing their DNA, Cross explains. They complete that process, or ripen, when you ovulate them 20 to 40 years later. The longer eggs are stuck in the mid-division stage, the more likely that process will go wrong creating eggs with the wrong number of chromosomes. That results in not becoming pregnant, experiencing miscarriages or having babies with genetic syndromes due to chromosomal abnormalities.
The bottom line: The quality and number of eggs a woman has decreases throughout her lifetime and egg loss accelerates around the age of 37, which makes it more difficult to become pregnant.
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What Is Your Family Health History And Why Is It Important Before You Get Pregnant
Your family health history is a record of any health conditions and treatments that you, your partner and everyone in your families have had. Its a good idea to start putting your family history together before you get pregnant so you can share it with your provider at your checkup. Use the March of Dimes Family Health History Form to gather information.
Your family health history can help your provider:
- Identify health conditions that run in your or your partners family or ethnic group. An ethnic group is a group of people, often from the same country, who share language or culture. Certain genetic conditions, such as sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease, are more common in people from certain ethnic groups. For example, people who are Ashkenazi Jews are more likely than others to have Tay-Sachs and other genetic conditions.
- Find the cause of a condition you had in a past pregnancy. Your provider may use tests like blood tests or ultrasound to help find the cause of the condition. Getting treatment can lower the chances of you having the same complication in your next pregnancy.
- Treat health conditions before pregnancy. Some chronic health conditions can lead to pregnancy problems and, sometimes, birth defects. Getting treatment before pregnancy for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus and PKU can improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Getting Pregnant When Youre 35 And Up
- When youre older, youre more likely to be financially secure.
- Older moms tend to be more established in their careers, so you may find it easier to return to work .
- Your relationship with your partner may be more stable, which benefits you and baby.
- Waiting gives you more time to travel and hit other goals on your to-do list, so theres no feeling of missing out.
- It can be more difficult to get pregnant.
- If you have trouble conceiving, you may need in vitro fertilization or other fertility treatments, which can be expensive.
- Pregnancy at an older age increases the risk for ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, preterm birth, stillbirth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and birth defects.
- Older women are more likely to need a C-section.
- You might not have as much energy as younger parents, making keeping up with a baby or active child more challenging.
- Health issues like diabetes and hypertension are more likely as youre older. These can affect your chances of getting pregnant.
Women who are older than 35 and have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for six months should see a specialist. Women who are over 40 and trying to conceive should see a specialist immediately.
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How Is Infertility Defined
Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of unprotected sex for women under 35 and six months for women 35 and older.
The vast majority of people will become pregnant within the first 12 months of trying to conceive with regular unprotected intercourse, says Cross. After six months to a year of trying depending on a womans age we recommend that a couple comes in for an infertility evaluation. At that point, its more likely that theres a problem preventing pregnancy.
On Which Days Of Your Cycle Can You Get Pregnant
There are just six days during your cycle when your chances of getting pregnant are the highest the five days that lead up to ovulation and the 24 hours after ovulation. Sperm can live in your body for up to five days, while the egg lives for no more than 24 hours.
The key to determining the best time to try to get pregnant is to know when you ovulate. The precise timing of ovulation is hard to define, as it can happen at different times in each cycle.
Ovulation is when your body releases a mature egg from the ovary. This egg then travels down your uterine tube to be fertilized. The egg is more likely to be fertilized if the sperm is in your uterine tube already. Once fertilized and attached to the uterus, it will create an embryo, which will grow into a baby.
Your most fertile time consists of the five days leading to ovulation and one day after it. Having sexual intercourse during this window gives you the best chance of conceiving.
Planning Sex Can Help You Increase Your Chances Of Becoming Pregnant
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about womens health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.
Meredith Shur, MD, FACOG, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as a certified medical examiner.
Verywell / Jessica Olah
If you want to get pregnant faster, it’s important to know when you should have sex, how frequently to have sex, and whether there are factors that can increase or decrease your chances of becoming pregnant each month.
You’re most likely to conceive just before or during ovulation, but you can get pregnant at any time during your menstrual cycle, even if you are having your period. This is one of the reasons that birth control methods like the “rhythm method” are not reliable in preventing pregnancy.
Helpful facts to know include that while unprotected sex doesn’t lead to pregnancy every time, you can become pregnant if you have sex just one time if the timing is right. In general, fertility declines with age, and teenagers are far more likely to become pregnant with only one or a few sexual encounters than older people are.
Don’t Forget The Dentist
It may seem totally unrelated to fertility, but getting your teeth and gums checked out before pregnancy is another wise move, says Dr. Greene. More research links oral health to a healthy pregnancy women with unchecked gum disease are more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth, and preeclampsia. “In fact, brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly can cut your miscarriage risk by up to 70%,” he says. Having your teeth examined now gives you time to get gingivitis under control and get x-rays if you need them. If your oral health is less than stellar, your dentist may recommend you come in for cleanings every few months.
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Stay In Bed Right After Intercourse
You have probably heard this one — lie in bed with your feet in the air after having sex to increase your chances of getting pregnant. The verdict? Not true.
“It’s good advice to lay in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse, but you don’t need your feet in the air,” Goldfarb says. “Your pelvis does not move when you put your legs in the air.” Don’t go the bathroom during this time either, he says. “If you wait 10 to 15 minutes, the sperm that is going to get into the cervix will be in the cervix.”
Are There Any Side Effects Of Taking Prenatals While Not Pregnant
Generally speaking, the vitamins and nutrients included in prenatals wont cause detrimental side effects if they did, pregnant women wouldnt be encouraged to take them!
That said, prenatal vitamins do contain levels of nutrients specific to pregnant women, meaning they arent always the best choice for nonpregnant people on a long-term basis.
Your iron needs, for example, increase from 18 milligrams to 27 milligrams during pregnancy. While the short-term side effects of too much iron include mild GI upsets like constipation and nausea, over time that excess of nutrients could become more problematic.
Bottom line? If youre not pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you can hold off on prenatals until you really need them .
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Cut Back On Strenuous Workouts
Being physically active most days of the week can help a woman’s body prepare for the demands of pregnancy and labor , and has been associated with a reduced risk of fertility problems, scientists reported in the March 2020 issue of the journalHuman Reproduction . But getting too much exercise or doing frequent strenuous workouts could interfere with ovulation,Live Science reported .
Doctors see a lot of menstrual disturbances in women who exercise heavilymeaning to the level of training for a marathon, for instance, or exercise equivalent to the training undertaken by Olympic athletes and a lot of times these women need to cut back on their workouts if they want to become pregnant, Pavone told Live Science.
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Reach And Maintain A Healthy Weight
People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for many serious conditions, including complications during pregnancy, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers .1 People who are underweight are also at risk for serious health problems.2
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isnt about short-term dietary changes. Its about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.
If you are underweight, overweight, or obese, talk with your doctor about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant.
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When To Have Sex
“Timing sex as close to ovulation as possible is important,” Manglani says. Your best bet is to have sex often. Try doing it every day starting 5 days before ovulation. Keep going one day after ovulation.
Another option: Try the “sperm meets egg plan.” Have sex every other day starting on day eight of your cycle. Start an OPK on day 10. “Once you have a positive result on your OPK, have sex every day for three days,” Manglani says.
If you don’t get pregnant in 6 months, see a doctor. “Most regular OB/GYN offices can start a fertility workup,” Manglani says. Or reach out to a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist.
Establish A Regular Exercise Routine
An exercise program is an important part of keeping your mind and body healthy. The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
You might walk or cycle most days of the week, for example, and weight train on a few of those days. To increase flexibility, add stretching or yoga, and you’ll have a well-rounded fitness program. Once you’re pregnant, keep exercising unless you have certain pregnancy complications.
If exercising hasn’t been a priority for you lately, ease into an exercise routine. Start with something tame, like walking 10 to 20 minutes a day. Add more activity into your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car a few blocks away from work.
Are There Any Extra Benefits
Some celebs swear by prenatals as the secret to their glowing skin and luscious locks because they contain biotin, one of the all-important B vitamins.
And rumors of biotins hair, nail, and skin growth powers have circulated forever many people take biotin supplements for this exact reason.
Besides biotin, though, there are some extra benefits to prenatals. If you take one with DHA, for example, youll be getting a boost of omega-3 fatty acids that may help your babys brain and eyes develop.
You may also get thyroid-regulating iodine, which can aid in your babys nervous system development.
Finally, theres some research indicating that taking prenatal vitamins may increase your chances of pregnancy.
To be clear, prenatals are not a magic cure for infertility problems and getting pregnant isnt as simple as popping a pill. But many of the nutrients included in prenatal vitamins regulate the body systems responsible for making pregnancy possible.
So taking one when done in conjunction with exercising, eating a healthy diet, and eliminating risk factors like alcohol and drugs can make it easier to get pregnant more quickly.
There are dozens of options out there, but make sure you check for a few key things before buying a prenatal vitamin:
Other Questions About Getting Pregnant
Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding?
Yes, a woman can get pregnant while breastfeeding . It is possible to become pregnant as soon as three weeks after giving birth, even if the person is exclusively breastfeeding and has yet to begin menstruating again, according to the U.K.’s National Health Service .
Can you get pregnant on your period?
Yes, it is possible to get pregnant if a woman has sex during their period, according to the Cleveland Clinic . A woman is less likely to get pregnant during menstruation, but it is still possible. Women are most fertile around the time they ovulate, but predicting this window is not an exact science and this is particularly true for women who have irregular periods.
How to get pregnant fast
Many people want to know how to get pregnant as quickly as possible. There is no sure-fire way of ensuring a speedy conception however, by following the science and evidence, the above tips can help you find the most optimal times to have sex and get pregnant.
Are pregnancy tests accurate?
When used properly, pregnancy tests are claimed to be up to 99% effective, according to the Mayo Clinic . If your test reads positive, this is rarely an error however, false negatives are more common, according to the NHS.
A pregnancy test works by detecting the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone . Around 6 days after successful fertilisation, the body produces this hormone.
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