Q: If Im Trying To Conceive When Is The Best Time To Have Sex To Maximize My Chances Of Becoming Pregnant
A: Pregnancy occurs after ovulation, when the egg is released into the body and then fertilized by sperm. What a lot of people dont realize, though, is that once youve ovulated, you have just about a 12 hour period of time to conceive.
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Thats because the lifespan of an egg, once it has ovulated, is only about 24 hours which means that if that egg is not fertilized within the first 12 hours after ovulation, conception is likely not going to happen.
Because of this small post-ovulation window, its important to have sex in advance of ovulation, if you can. Sperm can survive inside your cervix for about 72 hours, so having intercourse in the three day-span before you ovulate will give you higher chances of getting pregnant. That way, by the time the egg is released, theres already sperm inside the cervical reservoirs waiting to fertilize it.
One of the most surefire ways to know when youre going to ovulate is to use over-the-counter ovulation strips, which help you identify when youre about to ovulate and thus, when you should be having sex in order to maximize the likelihood of conception.
Reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist Laura Detti, MD
How Soon Can You Try And Get Pregnant After A Miscarriage
If youve experienced a miscarriage, you may also wonder about the best time to start trying again. Dr. Reed said when youll be able to start can vary.
There are some studies that show no concerns for mom or the next pregnancy if your pregnancy is less than six months after a miscarriage, she said. In fact, many women will try for pregnancy immediately after a miscarriage without any concerns.
However, if you have a health condition that may have played a role in a miscarriage, you should get that condition better under control before trying again.
Talking to your doctor before trying for your next pregnancy is important, Dr. Reed said. Your doctor can make sure that your chronic health conditions are well managed, address any complications you had in your last pregnancy and make a plan to reduce your risks in your next pregnancy.
Make Sure Youre Using A Fertility
The kind of lubricant you use during sex can actually make conception more difficult, so much so that the Food and Drug Administration now categorizes certain lubricants as fertility friendly.
This is because the ingredients in many lubricants, such as petroleum, silicone, parabens and glycerin, can harm sperm function. A lubricants pH can also have an effect.
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Why Cant I Get Pregnant
When youre ready to start a family and youre not getting pregnant, it can be frustrating and overwhelming. Especially if youve tried the conventional methods to maximize your chances: having frequent intercourse during your fertile window, tracking your temperature every morning and using tools like ovulation tracker apps and predictor kits.
You may start to wonder is this a medical problem or do I simply need to be more patient? Youre not alone. One in 8 couples struggles to conceive. Chantel Cross, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist with the Johns Hopkins Fertility Center at the Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center Green Spring Station in Lutherville, Maryland, explains what factors might be affecting your ability to get pregnant and when you might consider infertility treatment.
Having Sex During Your Fertile Time
If you’re happy to spend time tracking and detecting ovulation, then you can be sure to have sex during your most fertile time.
If sperm counts are normal or healthy, then it’s best to have sex every day that you:
- Have fertile cervical mucus
- Have a positive ovulation detecting test
- Have a positive saliva ferning test
If you chart your basal body temperature, you can know the approximate day you ovulated each monthbut only after the fact. In this case, you should have sex for the three days before you expect to ovulate and possibly on the day you expect to ovulate, too.
However, you should still have sex throughout your cycle, just to keep the sperm quality in tip-top shape. You should also aim to provide time to enjoy sex without a baby-making mission attached.
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Start Taking A Prenatal Supplement
Start taking the prenatal vitamin now and dont stop it until you are menopausal, Williams said. All women of child-bearing age should be on a prenatal vitamin regardless of birth control use, since no method is 100 percent effective. They should be on 400 mcg of folic acid supplementation every day. Prenatal vitamins provide folic acid and iron as well as the recommended vitamins and minerals that a woman needs.
Talk with your physician prior to starting other supplements, he said.
What This Means For You
If you have trouble processing the impact COVID-19 is having on your pregnancy plans, you might consider talking to a therapist or counselormany of whom are offering telemedicine services. You can also contact your doctor or midwife for support and answer any questions you may have about this constantly evolving situation.
The point is that your feelings are normal and completely validand that help is out there to help you process them and feel better.
The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.
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When To Have Sex Before During And After Ovulation
Generally speaking, you should aim to have sex with your partner at least once every other day during your 6-day fertile window. More specifically, your chances of conceiving will be at their highest on the following days:
- 2 days before ovulation
- The day of ovulation
- 1 day after ovulation
Having sex on each of these days may not be realistic for some couples and thats okay! Your chances of conceiving will still be very high even if you only have sex every other day during this time. This is backed by research that suggests daily sex during the fertile window results in a 25% chance of conception, while sex every other day results in a 22% chance of conception.
Follow My Babys Growth
Fertility slowly starts to decline at around age 32, and this decline accelerates after age 35. Women are born with around one million eggs. Over time, the number of eggs drops. By about age 37, youll have around 25,000 eggs left. Chances of getting pregnant spontaneously for people aged 35-39 years are about half that of people aged 19-26 years. In addition, the risk for genetic abnormalities and miscarriage also begins to increase after age 35.
Once women reach their 40s, they experience a rapid decline in their ability to conceive naturally. Although most people who are in their 40s can have a healthy pregnancy, the risks tend to increase considerably during this time. Some of these risks include:
- Premature birth
Scan Your Medicine Cabinet
If youre regularly taking any drugs regularly, be sure to check with your doctor that those medications are safe for preconception and pregnancy. He or she may suggest switching to another thats better for expecting women.
Also get your practitioners okay to continue any vitamins or herbal supplements youre popping. Too much vitamin A, for example, can be dangerous during pregnancy.
Causes Of Male Infertility
Male infertility is a factor for about 8 percent of couples who are trying to conceive.
Causes of male infertility include:
- enlarged veins on the testicles, called varicocele
- abnormally shaped sperm
- injury to the testes that reduces sperm production
- heavy drinking, smoking, or drug use
- chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer
- problems with the glands that produce the hormones needed to make sperm
- more rarely, genetic disorders such as Klinefelter syndrome
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Best Time To Have Sex To Conceive
Because sperm lasts several days in the human body, and a womans egg only lasts a maximum of 24 hours, the best time to get pregnant is a few days before ovulation occurs. Couples should start having sex five days before ovulation until the day after ovulation, and should try to have sex every other day.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Trying For A While
A couple who has been trying for a while to get pregnant without success or who has known fertility issues will have other factors to consider as they make their decision.
If you have been trying for more than 12 months, or six months if over 35, you should seek an evaluation from a fertility specialist, says Dr. Hariton. A fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist can help you weigh your options given the current circumstances.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends that pregnant people and those contemplating pregnancy receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, they affirm CDC guidance that everyone in healthcare settings wears masks. Finally, they support the presence of partners at reproductive health appointments, as long as they mask and are not exhibiting symptoms of illness.
Nonetheless, many clinics are offering telemedicine evaluations, and I encourage women who are in this situation to seek those out and get the process started, Dr. Hariton advises. If you are already under the care of a fertility specialist, reach out to your physician to see how their policies have changed in the setting of COVID-19.
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What Can Happen If I Dont Wait Long Enough Between Pregnancies
If you dont wait for your body to recover before getting pregnant, you can increase your risk for all types of complications during your next pregnancy, including:
Premature/pre-term birth: This means your baby is born too soon, less than 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies are more likely to have health problems and have a stay in the NICU than babies born after 37 weeks.
Low birthweight: This is when your baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
Uterine rupture: Women who have a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean delivery are at greater risk if they are not completely healed.
It’s Possible To Get Pregnant At Any Time Of The Month
To get pregnant, you need to have sex on the days leading up to and around when you ovulate. The day prior to ovulation, and the day of ovulation itself, being your . Once the egg has gone you cannot get pregnant until after your next has started. Methods that tell you after you have ovulated are of no help if you are
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How Can You Track Ovulation
Many people follow the textbook “rule” that ovulation occurs 14 days after the first day of their periodbut the reality is that cycle lengths vary, and ovulation doesn’t always occur at the same time each month, says Machelle Seibel, M.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Some people can detect ovulation symptoms. “If you’re in tune with your body, you may notice that you have an increased clear egg-white-like vaginal discharge a few days before ovulation,” says Yvonne Bohn, M.D., OB-GYN and co-author of The Mommy Docs Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. But many miss this, and some mistakenly think their normal discharge is a sign of ovulation.
Instead of guessing, Dr. Seibel says that using an ovulation predictor kit can give a more accurate answer. The kit looks similar to a pregnancy test but instead of looking for the pregnancy hormone hCG, it is searching for a surge in luteinizing hormone , which precedes ovulation .
Charting your basal body temperature can also help identify ovulation for the best days to get pregnant.
Pregnancy Increases The Need For Nutrients
During pregnancy, macronutrient intake needs grow significantly. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Youll want to be including protein in every meal and snack to meet your needs.
The requirement for micronutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, increases even more than the need for macronutrients.
While some people are able to meet this growing demand through a well-planned, nutrient-dense eating plan, it can be a challenge for others.
You may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for various reasons, including:
- Nutrientdeficiencies: Some people may need a supplement after a blood test reveals a deficiency in a vitamin or mineral. Correcting deficiencies is critical, as a shortage of nutrients like folate has been linked to birth defects.
- Hyperemesisgravidarum: This pregnancy complication is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting. It can lead to weight loss and nutrient deficiencies.
- Dietaryrestrictions: Women who follow specific diets, including vegans and those with food intolerances and allergies, may need to supplement with vitamins and minerals to prevent micronutrient deficiencies
- Smoking: Although its critical for mothers to avoid cigarettes during pregnancy, those who continue to smoke have an
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How Much Vitamin D Do I Need When Im Trying To Conceive
Pregnant women dont need to take more vitamin D than other people. The recommended daily dosage for a supplement is 10 micrograms .
Even if youre taking vitamin D supplements, you should still try to get outside in the sun and eat foods that contain vitamin D. Just make sure that when youre spending time in the sun you protect your skin to prevent burning.
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What Time Of Day Should You Have Ttc Sex
If you’re wondering what time of day to have sex to conceive, the morning may be your best bet. Or, specifically, after your partner gets a good night’s rest, says Melissa M. Goist, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Medical Center.
When sleeping, their body regenerates the sperm lost during the day. Although the average sperm cell has a pretty short shelf life, even stalwart swimmers can hit their expiration date early if they get too warm from hot tubs or exercises like bike riding, Dr. Goist says.
According to one study in Zurich, the best time to have sex to conceive a baby is before 7:30 a.m. during the months of March, April, and May. That may sound odd, but it turns out that sperm may be at its healthiest during the spring months. Not only that, but sperm appears to have it’s own internal 24-hour clock that helps it determine the best time to travel to an egg.
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Schedule Your Appointment Today
Taking prenatal vitamins and following a healthy diet can lead to a healthy pregnancy and support your babys growth. There are various prenatals to choose from, but Dr. Ellman will be happy to find a prenatal vitamin that works best for your body.
Dr. Ellman is a high-risk OB/GYN doctor who established his medical practice in South Florida over 25 years ago. Book your appointment today.
Folic Acid Helps Prevent Some Birth Defects. .
Shmerling, R. H. & Shmerling, A. . Fertility and diet: Is there a connection? Wilson, D., et al. . Pre-conception Folic Acid and Multivitamin Supplementation for the Primary and Secondary Prevention of Neural Tube Defects and Other Folic Acid-Sensitive Congenital Anomalies .
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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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.