So you and your partner want to have a baby. Congratulations, you’re about to get frisky and fruitful! But let’s keep it real: Not everyone gets pregnant the first, second, or even [insert super high number] time. Up to 15 percent of couples have fertility issues.
While there’s no magic bullet for getting pregnant immediately, it’s possible to increase your chances by following these quick and dirty tips on the best positions and times for your next sex sesh.
Getting jiggy with your partner has health benefits at any point in your cycle, but the best time for conception sex is when you’re super fertile. To figure out your “fertile window,” start keeping track of your cycle.
Though everyone’s menstrual cycle is different, the average fertile window is about 6 days long. It includes the 5 days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation.
Having sex regularly during that week — especially on the day before and the day of ovulation — is your best bet for getting pregnant.
So what is ovulation, exactly? It’s when your ovary releases a mature egg into the pathway down your fallopian tube and toward your uterus. Since you want to make a baby, your goal is to arrange a meet-cute between your partner’s sperm and your egg.
The good news is that sperm can stay alive in your body for about 5 days, so you don’t need to plan sexcapades right down to the minute.
What’s important is to make sure there are live swimmers in your fallopian tubes during the fertile window so they can move in on your egg when it comes along. May the odds be ever in their favor.
The best way to keep track of ovulation times is to know your cycle. Use an app, keep a calendar, count the days — whatever works for you.
A cycle begins on the first day of your period and ends the day before your next period starts. Ovulation should happen in the middle, generally day 14 of a 28-day cycle.
Here are some other signs you might be ovulating:
- vaginal fluid that looks like raw egg white (slippery, stretchy, and clear)
- your basal body temperature (BBT) is running warm (BBT is your lowest resting temp)
- tender breasts
- a positive ovulation predictor test
- a sky-high libido
Can you have too much of a good thing when you’re trying to get pregnant? Maybe.
In a 2005 study of 6,008 men, researchers discovered that sperm quality is best (meaning your man’s swimmers are strong and fast) after just 1 day without sex.
Sperm quality diminishes dramatically after 11 days without an ejaculation.
A smaller 2005 study of 417 couples found that even though frequent sex can lower swimmers’ speed (no rest for the weary, gents), sperm quality and quantity maintain a healthy balance when sex occurs every 1 to 3 days.
When it comes to getting pregnant, the rule of thumb is to have sex regularly. That might be every day for some couples. Others prefer an every-other-day rhythm.
Making a baby should be fun, so have a heart-to-heart with your partner about how you can align your schedules to have sexy time on the reg.
The truth is, there isn’t one go-to position for conceiving a child. When your partner has an orgasm, he releases millions of sperm, and they’re all capable of crossing the finish line if your egg is in a receiving position.
Though it’s possible to get pregnant in pretty much any position, some configurations give sperm a head start.
Deep penetration — most often through missionary (man on top) or doggie-style (man behind) positions — puts the sperm closer to the cervix, which is the gateway to your uterus.
Gravity is not on your side in woman-on-top positions or standing sex. But no matter the position, it takes only 15 minutes for the little guys to get to your cervix once they’re released.
There are no post-sex positions proven to increase your chances, but there’s no harm in using gravity to your advantage. You could try putting a pillow under your lower back after sex. This elevates your pelvis to keep everything moving in the right direction.
Fertile sex can still be fun sex. If you’re one of the nearly two-thirds of women who use lubricant, fear not. You can keep things comfy by using a spermicide-free version.
Studies have shown that even water-based lubricants reduce sperm’s speed by 60 to 100 percent, but don’t worry: There’s no evidence that this slowdown affects the chances of getting pregnant.
The truth is, comfortable, stress-free sex is more likely to result in pregnancy simply because it’s more likely to happen in the first place. If you’re looking for a great conception-friendly lubricant, check out brands like First Response.
Having great, well-timed sex gives you the highest likelihood of making a baby.
Here are a few more ways to boost your fertility:
- Relax. Did you know stress hormones lower your chances of getting pregnant? So take a deep breath. Indulge in a spa day. Try some yoga. It’s good for the [future] baby!
- Watch your weight. Maintaining a moderate weight can help your fertility.
- Cut out bad habits. Smoking increases your odds of fertility issues. So does excess caffeine. Remember those energy drinks you smashed in college? They can also cause fertility problems.
- Eat more veggies. A 2008 study found that swapping out that beef jerky snack in favor of veggie-based protein (nuts, lentils, etc.) could support fertility.
- Have more orgasms. You know a man has to ejaculate to get his partner pregnant, but did you know a female orgasm can speed things up too? The internal movement of a female orgasm propels sperm closer to any available eggs.
Every woman’s body is different. Not everyone gets pregnant on the first try. If you’ve been trying for a while and still haven’t gotten pregnant, it might be time to talk to a medical professional.
It’s best to call your doctor or make an appointment with a fertility specialist in these situations:
- You’re younger than 35 and have been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant for more than a year.
- You’re 35 or older and have been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant for more than 6 months.
- You have irregular periods or no period at all.
- You’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis.
- You have PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).
- You’ve had a miscarriage.
- You’ve had hernia surgery.
- Your partner has a diagnosed testicular issue.
The best way to get pregnant is to have frequent sex without a condom or other barrier. But tracking your menstrual cycle so you can plan more sex during ovulation will increase your chances. Staying healthy and active indirectly boosts your fertility too.
Remember that it’s normal for it to take a few months to get pregnant, especially if you’re in your late 30s.
If you feel like you’ve been trying to get pregnant for too long, talk to your doctor. There are a variety of non-life-threatening conditions that can affect fertility.