There is a lot of education in school about how to not get pregnant, but there are no school courses teaching how to get pregnant. Here is a 10 step plan to help you get pregnant now and have the baby of your dreams!
1. Schedule A Preconception Visit
Preconception health is the health of women and men during their reproductive years, and there are many issues that can best be resolved before pregnancy. Preconception care is a growing field to improve a woman's and man's health before pregnancy. Preconception or periconception care can have a significant impact on your health and your baby's health.
2. Get Educated
It takes a sperm and an egg might seem obvious but it was a mystery until 1784. That’s when Catholic priest, biologist, and physiologist Lazzaro Spallanzani put two and two together. He performed in vitro fertilization (IVF) on frogs and artificial insemination on a dog to prove the point. Before that, nobody truly knew where babies came from. Here are some key things to remember:
- There’s a 25% chance this month.
With every menstrual cycle, a woman has a 25% chance of becoming pregnant if she’s having unprotected sex. That’s one chance out of four. It may take a few months to actually get there but, meanwhile, enjoy practicing.
- 14 may not be your magic number.
You may have heard that ovulation and the best chance for pregnancy occurs on day 14 after the first day of your last period. Your own menstrual cycle length will vary wildly over the course of your life so don’t get stuck on the number 14. Plus, your fertile days end on the day of ovulation, and the very best days for having sex are the 4-5 days before and the day of ovulation.
- Sex before ovulation makes pregnancy more likely.
Once an egg leaves the ovary, it must be fertilized within 12 to 24 hours or it’s too late. Since it’s almost impossible to know the exact time of ovulation, fertilization might be more likely if there’s plenty of little swimmers already there, waiting for the magic moment. Sperm lives several days in the female body so stock up in advance.
- The healthier you both are, the healthier the pregnancy.
The more that’s learned about making babies, the more it becomes obvious mother and father in optimum health make the healthiest babies faster. Get both your bodies in good shape before trying to conceive a healthy family. You both need a diet rich in folic acid and folate (leafy greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) so the baby’s brain and nervous system get off to the best start just days after conception, but other nutrients are important, too. Drink lots of water and eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, and vitamins. And don’t forget the zinc!
3. Take Daily Folic Acid
A daily amount of 0.4 mg folic acid is recommended to decrease the risk of fetal neural tube defects, miscarriages, and other malformations.
- Folic acid is a B vitamin. When taken before and early in pregnancy it helps prevent birth defects of nervous tissue, the brain and spinal cord. Some studies show it can also prevent miscarriage, stroke, autism, and certain cancers.
- Folic acid is available as a supplement, in most multivitamins, in some foods. Every fertile woman should take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before pregnancy and during early pregnancy, and 4000 micrograms if you have already had a pregnancy affected by a birth defect of the brain or spinal cord or if you had a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
4. Be At Your Optimal Weight
Both extremes of weights affect your fertility, and maintaining an optimal weight improves your fertility. The best way to find out whether you weigh too much or not is to calculate your body mass index, the BMI. Losing some pounds is cheaper than expensive fertility treatments, so why not try it?
Let Babymed teach you how to lose weight before pregnancy in 12 steps.
5.The BIG O: Ovulation
Your fertile days are the 4-5 days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. Calculate the exact fertile days. Are you ovulating normally? Learn more about your Ovulation Symptoms and Signs. Finding out when you ovulate is the key; do this in the following ways:
- Chart your basal body temperature (BBT)
- Chart your fertility signs like symptoms and cervical mucus
- Use Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs)
6. The BIG S: Sperm Count
Increase his fertility too. It takes 2 to get pregnant. His sperm has to be healthy, so make sure you know how to improve his sperm count. Male fertility problems affect 50% of couples who can't get pregnant, so first make sure he has enough by doing a Sperm Count. Make sure he has a healthy diet, exercises, is at his optimal weight, doesn't smoke or drink, and takes a daily vitamin and herbal fertility supplement, like FertilAid, to boost his sperm count.
7. It's All About Sex
Yes, it is about sex. Many couples don’t seem to realize that how you make love is crucial when it comes to getting pregnant. That means you should make love regularly throughout the menstrual cycle, and make love once a day every day during your fertile 5-6 days preferably with a missionary position. Avoid positions where the woman is on top. Gravity will allow sperm to leak out with these positions. Also try placing a pillow under your hips to help tilt your pelvis and keep the sperm in longer. Don't get up right after sex. Try to relax and allow the sperm to stay in the vagina as long as possible.
The egg can only be fertilized during the 12-24 after ovulation but sperm has to be there already and it can live in the lower portion of a woman's reproductive tract up to five days. Making love after ovulation is unlikely to get you pregnant.
8. Exercise Regularly
Exercising is healthy and gets your body ready for the strains of pregnancy and labor and delivery. Exercise is an important and vital part of any pregnancy. Proper exercise can help throughout your pregnancy, reducing your pregnancy symptoms and increasing your energy. However, if not done safely and properly, exercise can sometimes cause pregnancy complications. It is important to avoid certain types of exercise and to be aware of all of the dangers that could come along with excess exercising. By keeping these things in mind, exercise can be an integral and fun part of your pregnancy.
9. Eat A Healthy Diet
Many doctors now believe diet can improve your fertility, especially if you have certain ovulation issues. Eating a healthy diet can reduce birth defects. Some believe that the right diet can made a difference because the majority of women experiencing ovulatory dysfunction were also suffering from undiagnosed or sub clinical PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), a condition related to insulin resistance that also affects ovulation.
Eat more monounsaturated fats (like olive oil) and less trans fats (like the kind found in many baked goods or fast foods). Increase intake of vegetable protein (like soy), while reducing animal protein (like red meat). Eat more high fiber, low-glycemic foods — like whole grains, vegetables, and some fruits, while reducing the intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars. Consume moderate amounts of high-fat dairy products — like ice cream, whole milk, and cheese. Learn all about the "Food NoNos."
10. Refrain From Drugs, Cigarettes, And Alcohol
Smoking, drinking, and taking drugs have a negative impact not only on your fertility. They also increase miscarriages and pregnancy complications like premature deliveries. Don't drink more than 2 cups of coffee a day. Review with your doctor all medications you take including over-the-counter and prescription medications. Most medications are safe, but there are some which can affect your pregnancy. Do not stop any medications that you need unless you discuss it with your doctor first.
11. Health Insurance
Check your health insurance coverage, review your options for leave at work and make a pregnancy and baby budget.
12. Reduce Stress
It’s rarely healthy to live with a lot of stress and some studies have reported that reducing stress may improve fertility. What can you do to reduce stress?
- Get regular massages
- Have more sex
- Take long weekends off
- Listen to music
- Do yoga
- Read and write journals
- Pamper yourself
- Spend more time with your family and friend
- Hold hands with your partner
Factors Affecting Fertility
Ovulation: With irregular or no ovulation (anovulation), you cannot get pregnant. In adition, you need to have good quality eggs.
Mother's age: The older you get the lower your chances getting pregnant. Old and bad quality eggs make getting pregnant more difficult. The older the woman is, the longer it takes to get pregnant.
Sperm count: The less sperm he has, the longer it may take to get pregnant. With an abnormal count (that is, below 20 million/cc) your chances getting pregnant are quite low. Here are some tips on how to improve his sperm count.
Patency of your fallopian tubes: They must be open and working well for you to get pregnant.
Timing of sex: You must make love regularly every weeks 2-3 times and especially during the 4-5 fertile days and the day of ovulation.
Your Chances Getting Pregnant
Your chances of getting pregnant each month depend on many factors such as your age, your weight, and how long you have been trying to get pregnant.
From a statistical perspective, it takes, on the average, four months to get pregnant. Take our interactive Pregnancy Chance Calculator to determine your chances getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. Then calculate with the Online Pregnancy Test (OPT) your odds of being pregnant right now.
Approximately 40% of couples who are starting out TTC will conceive during the first three months of trying, and about 70% of couples TTC will conceive during the first six months. Up to 85% of couples will conceive within the first year of TTC. Your ability to conceive in any given cycle falls after age 30.
There are other fertility signs that you should pay attention to as well. Many women notice lower abdominal pain around the time they ovulate. If you monitor this from month to month you can use these pains as an indication that you are ovulating.
Another way to chart your ovulation is by checking your temperature every morning prior to getting out of bed. When your temperature starts to go up you will know that your body is ovulating and your chances of conception are good.
Why is Ovulation So Important?
Ovulation is the time when the mature egg is released from the ovary. During the following 12 to 24 hours the egg is alive and ready to be fertilized. But sperms have to be there already to fertilize the egg. If no sperms are there then fertilization cannot happen. If the egg is not fertilized during this time the egg will die and be absorbed by the endometrial lining of the uterus only to be flushed out of the body during the next menstrual cycle.
Learning about the female body and when the optimal times are for egg fertilization will help to increase fertility and chance of conceiving a baby. Ovulation is the key to egg fertilization.
Don't Make Sex A Chore
Enjoy sex. Sometimes when couples are trying to conceive, sex becomes a job or function of reproduction and is not as enjoyable. Plan a romantic evening or try something different to spice things up. How you are feeling sexually may factor into your chances of getting pregnant. Some researchers believe that having an orgasm during sex increases your chances of getting pregnant. For women, the spasmic movements of orgasm will help pull the sperm into the uterus and for men a better orgasm may increase the man's sperm count.
Every Day Versus Every Other Day
Previously, couples trying to conceive (TTC) were told to have sex once every other day during their fertile days. However, recent studies have shown that for the average couple trying to conceive, making love 2-3 times a week, every week, is the best way to ensure that intercourse is ocurring before and during ovulation. You may improve your chances further by by having sex once a day (as long as his sperm are OK) during the fertile 4-5 days prior to and including ovulation day. In those instances where the man does not have enough sperm (oligospermia), the recommendation of once every other day still holds true.
Sex During Fertile Days
- Sex every day: 37% Pregnancy
- Sex every other day: 33% Pregnancy
- Sex once a week: 15% Pregnancy
Source: "Timing of Sexual Intercourse in Relation to Ovulation -- Effects on the Probability of Conception, Survival of the Pregnancy, and Sex of the Baby" was published in The New England Journal of Medicine (December 7, 1995 -- Vol. 333, No. 23). Allen J. Wilcox, Clarice R. Weinberg, Donna D. Bair
See your doctor or an infertility specialist if you cannot get pregnant
If there is no pregnancy, couples should see their doctor after 1 year, or 6 months if she is 35 years or older.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has defined infertility as..." the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse". They suggest that …. “couples in whom the female partner is under the age of 35, and who have not conceived after one year of unprotected intercourse, should seek the help of a physician that specializes in the treatment of infertility”.
But ASRM also lists conditions where couples should see an infertility specialist even earlier:
A. Couples, in whom the female partner is over the age 35, should seek help after six months of being unable to conceive.
B. Couples who have known causes of infertility should seek help from a specialists even sooner.
The following 10 periconception tips will help you improve your pregnancy chances and your chances of having a healthy baby:
- See your doctor for a periconception visit and get your partner tested too.
- Learn everything there is to know about getting pregnant.
- Eat well and take your vitamin and folic acid supplement well before conception. Improve his health too!
- Review all medication you take with your doctor including those that are over-the-counter and those that are prescribed.
- Stop Smoking and drinking and go easy on the coffee.
- Be at your optimal weight and exercise.
- Relax, relax, relax.
- See your dentist for a checkup and cleaning.
- Check your health insurance coverage, review your options for leave at work and make a pregnancy and baby budget.
- See an infertility specialist (Reproductive Endocrinologist, RE) if…
Infertility - Major factors affecting your chance of getting pregnant
- Ovulation: With irregular or no ovulation (anovulation), you cannot get pregnant.
- Mother's age: The older you get the lower your chances getting pregnant. Old and bad quality eggs make getting pregnant more difficult. The older the woman is, the longer it takes to get pregnant.
- Sperm count: The less sperm he has, the longer it may take to get pregnant. With an abnormal count (that is, below 20 million/cc) your chances getting pregnant are quite low. Here are some tips on how to improve his sperm count.
- Patency of your fallopian tubes: They must be open and working well for you to get pregnant.
- Timing of sex: You must make love regularly every weeks 2-3 times and especially during the 4-5 fertile days and the day of ovulation.
If each of these four factors is OK, then your chance of becoming pregnant in each ovulatory cycle is about 25-30%. Your chances are lower or even zero when even one or more of these factors is abnormal. About 50% of couples get pregnant within four to five months of trying to conceive, about 75% of couples will conceive during the first eight months, and up to 85% of couples will conceive within the first year of TTC. The ability to conceive in any given cycle falls after age 30. Keep in mind that with irregular menstrual cycles it may take longer to conceive because it's harder to figure out when you're ovulating. If you haven't got pregnant after a year of trying (six months if you are over 35), you may want to talk with your doctor about your options.
What to do if you cannot get pregnant
If you have irregular menstrual cycles, it may take longer to conceive because it's harder to figure out when you're ovulating. If, after 6-9 months to a year of trying (less if you are older), you haven't got pregnant, talk with your doctor about your options. There are several ways to treat infertility, some simple, many fairly high-tech. Your doctor should be able to help you get started, and you may eventually want to consult a fertility specialist (Reproductive Endocrinologist).There is about a 15-25% chance of becoming pregnant in each ovulatory cycle.
Did you have a negative pregnancy test but think you may be pregnant? Read HERE to find out your chances of being pregnant after a negative pregnancy test. Also check out our extensive list of of "Am I Pregnant?" FAQs and TOP 20 TTC FAQs in order to turn all of your important questions into answers.
- Get Pregnant: Have a Boy or Girl Quiz
- The Gender Prediction Quiz: Boy Or Girl?
- The Boy/Girl Interactive Fertility Calendar
- The Boy/Girl Chinese Sex Calendar
For Further Reading:
- Diet May Influence Baby's Gender
- Gender Selection of Baby by Timing and Diet
- Does coffee make a difference to have a boy or girl?
- Does cough syrup improve your chances for a boy or girl?
- What is the best position for a boy or girl?
- What is the right time to have a boy or girl?
- Does orgasm make a difference?
High Tech: Ways to Have a Boy or Girl
Improve Your Fertility NOW
- Make His Sperm Healthier First
- How can I improve my chances of getting pregnant?
- The 3 Periconception Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy
- Tests to do Before You Get Pregnant
- 7 Relaxation Tips When Trying to Conceive (TTC)
- FertilAid FAQs- To Help You Improve Your Fertility Health
- FertilAid - Order it HERE
Pregnancy Testing, hCG & Pregnancy Diagnosis
- When does the pregnancy test usually become positive?
- All hCG information on one page
- What are normal hCG levels in pregnancy?
- What is hCG and what do I need to know about it?
- Is it possible to have a false-positive pregnancy test?
- When is the earliest a pregnancy can be seen on ultrasound?
- Can you diagnose on the BBT when the fertilized egg implants? How about a pregnancy?
- My HPT is negative on 13 DPO. Could I still be pregnant?
- CD 26 and typical pregnancy signs. Could I be pregnant?
- I have a second line on the HPT but it's really faint. Could I be pregnant?
- Why are some HPTs positive earlier than others?
- What could the reasons be for cramps and cramping?
How Likely Is It?
- How long does it take to get pregnant?
- What are my chances having a baby?
- What are my odds getting pregnant each month?
- How does the amount of making love affect my chances getting pregnant?
- When does the fertilized egg implant?
- When does implantation bleeding happen?
- Does implantation bleeding always happen?
- Implantation signs and symptoms
Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms
- What is the earliest I can feel pregnancy signs and what are typical early pregnancy signs?
- What are my chances of being pregnant with these symptoms?
- I ovulated last week and now I feel nauseous and tired. Could these be the first signs of pregnancy?
- How can I tell from the cervical mucus (CM) if I am pregnant?
- What is the function of progesterone?
- I missed my period but my pregnancy test is negative. What could be going on?
- Could I be pregnant even though I have a regular period?
- I have long menstrual cycles, sometimes they last 40 days or more. What's going on?
Can I do this and is it safe?
- Can I sleep on my back during pregnancy?
- Can I eat fish?
- Can I color my hair?
- Can I drink coffee?
- Can I eat soft cheese?
- Can I have dental X-rays?
- Can I eat meat and raw meat during pregnancy?
Sex & Timing
- When am I most fertile, when is my fertile window?
- How often should we make love, every day or every other day?
- Once, twice or more during the fertile day?
- Likelihood of pregnancy when making love in relation to ovulation
Fertility Awareness and Charting
- Getting started with temperature charting
- Why chart your temperature?
- What is my first cycle day?
- What is a biphasic temperature curve?
- What does a triphasic curve mean?
- How can I find out whether and when I ovulate and whether I am ovulating normally?
- What does the "probability" mean in the expert evaluation?
- How do we find out the best day to have sex and improve our chances of conceiving?
- How do I take my basal body temperature?
- Could the temperature drop in my BBT chart mean that I am pregnant?
- Frequency of Sex During the Six Fertile Days and the Probability of Pregnancy
- Is too much sex a problem when we TTC?
- Cervical mucus: How long before ovulation does the CM become stretchy?
Sperm, Sperm analysis, and other questions
- How long can sperm survive?
- Sperm survival and life after ejaculation
- How do we do a spermanalysis, a sperm count?
- What are the normal values in a spermanalysis?
- What are those strange names given in my spermanalysis?
- What causes a miscarriage?
- Am I more fertile after a miscarriage?
- How long after my miscarriage does it take to get pregnant again?
- After a miscarriage when is it safe to get pregnant again?