- Overview: Having regular, unprotected sex is the best method for getting pregnant, which occurs when a man’s sperm is able to reach and fertilize a woman’s mature egg that is released during ovulation.
- How long does it take to get pregnant? This is largely due to a couple’s age and to other health, genetic and physical factors
- How to get pregnant fast: The best way is by knowing when ovulation occurs and having sex every one to two days during the fertility window around ovulation.
How to get pregnant naturally
Natural conception is the reproductive process where a man’s sperm enters a woman’s vagina, travels through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tube and fertilizes a mature egg that has traveled there after ovulation. Many things have to happen for this chain of events to occur and lead to pregnancy.
The woman has to ovulate, which is the release of usually one mature egg that typically happens two weeks before menstruating. And healthy sperm must arrive to fertilize that egg before it passes on to the uterus.
Having fairly frequent, unprotected sex is the best method for getting pregnant. While timing is important (see below), studies have shown that more frequent intercourse overall increases the odds of achieving pregnancy.
Ovulation and the best timing to get pregnant
- A woman’s “fertile window” occurs five days prior to ovulation and the day of it. That’s because an egg is only fertile up to 24 hours after release, but a man’s sperm can remain viable within a woman’s body up to five days.
- Intercourse prior to ovulation is more likely to result in pregnancy than intercourse after ovulation. Try to anticipate when ovulation will occur and have intercourse before ovulation happens (there are apps to help with that but be aware their efficacy is often questionable).
- Intercourse every one to two days during the “fertile window” is ideal – and research has shown little difference in pregnancy rates for couples having sex every other day compared with every day.
In order to properly time intercourse, one has to know when ovulation occurs – and its subtle signs, such as a change in the woman’s cervical mucus. This is particularly valuable for women with irregular periods.
If trying to conceive, stop using all forms of contraception. Some types of contraception may stay in a woman’s system after discontinuing and delay fertility. Fertility should return after one full cycle.
There is a myth that birth control can cause infertility. This is not the case.
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How long does it take to get pregnant?
While we all hear stories of couples getting pregnant quickly, it is often a challenge for most. This is normal.
Most couples will get pregnant within a year if having sex every two to three days. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports that the chance of a young couple getting pregnant in the first three months ranges from 20% to 37%.
However, age makes a difference. If a woman is under age 40, there is an 80% chance the couple will get pregnant within one year and 90% within two years.
But we don’t recommend couples wait two years to get a fertility evaluation. After one year of trying, it’s good to get an evaluation, in case there is an underlying issue.
FINO works with patients to determine the best course of treatment together, making a whole-body decision based on finances, emotion, biology and even spirituality.
Other tips on how to get pregnant fast
Fertility is affected by lifestyle, and being as healthy as possible can improve fertility odds. But it’s important to note there are other factors for both men and women.
- Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Reduce stress, which can interfere with ovulation and the desire to have sex.
- Exercise moderately.
- Drink large amounts of caffeine or alcohol.
- Medicate unless it’s approved by your physician.
- Use certain lubricants (KY Jelly, KY TouchTM, Astroglide, olive oil or saliva) as these can decrease sperm movement.
When to see a fertility specialist
Around 1 in 7 couples have difficulty achieving or keeping a pregnancy to term. This is defined as “infertility” for couples who have been trying more than one year if the female partner is under the age of 35, or six months if 35 or older.
It is important to understand that most couples with infertility will eventually conceive and have children either on their own or with medical assistance. But having a proper fertility evaluation puts couples experiencing difficulties on a clear path to success, faster.