How to Get Pregnant Fast: Tips for Trying to Conceive
Once you’ve made the big decision to start a family, it’s hard to wait. Luckily, you can (and should!) begin planning right away. That’s because—as it turns out—there’s more to getting pregnant fast than just having sex at the right time. It’s also about creating the perfect environment so that when sperm meets egg, a healthy embryo grows into a healthy baby. Moreover, while conceiving quickly may be the goal, it’s never a guarantee. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help kick the process into gear. So if you’re wondering how to get pregnant fast, read on for expert-vetted dos and don’ts. From tracking ovulation to changing your diet, we’re sharing expert tips on getting pregnant to help you on the exciting journey to parenthood.
In this article:
Step 1: Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Step 2: Stop taking birth control
Step 3: Track your ovulation
Step 4: Have well-timed sex
How long does it take to get pregnant?
If you’re wondering how to increase your chances of getting pregnant fast, self-care can go a long way. It’s no secret that your body goes through some major changes and challenges during pregnancy and delivery, so be sure to start your pregnancy journey in tip-top shape by taking important steps toward living a healthy lifestyle. Here, we’ve outlined some simple health tips to get pregnant (fingers crossed!).
See your doctor
The first (and perhaps most important) tip to get pregnant? Schedule a preconception check-up. Your ob-gyn can talk to you about your overall health and suggest any necessary lifestyle changes to help you get pregnant fast. Be sure to discuss any pre-existing conditions that might affect your pregnancy and medications you’re currently taking. You can also explore your family history to decide if genetic screening is advisable.
Visit your dentist
Going to the dentist may not be high on your list of priorities when you’re trying to get pregnant, but it’s important to pay this medical professional a visit too. According to studies and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gum disease during pregnancy has been linked to a lower birth weight and premature birth. Not only that, pregnancy is notoriously tough on teeth and gums. Your dentist can make sure your oral hygiene is in good standing before you get pregnant.
Get some exercise
Another important tip for getting pregnant? Be sure to establish healthy exercise habits to prepare your body for pregnancy. Even squeezing in a short daily walk is enough to get your heart rate up and contribute to good health. What’s more, prenatal workouts have been found to promote a healthier pregnancy, shorter labor and easier delivery. Just be careful not to overdo it; some studies have suggested that extreme exercise may disrupt ovulation.
Aim for a healthy weight
According to the Mayo Clinic, attaining a healthy weight before conception can help set you up for success, both improving the odds of getting pregnant fast and reducing your risk of certain complications. Obesity is associated with irregular ovulation and adverse outcomes for assisted reproduction methods such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), so it may take longer to conceive if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. For any questions or concerns, speak to your provider—they’ll work with you to come up with a plan on how to conceive.
Eat a healthy diet
When trying to get pregnant, it’s important to eat a nutritious, balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Gaskin explains that healthy foods help increase progesterone levels (a key hormone in maintaining pregnancy), support ovulation and encourage early implantation—three critical factors in conceiving.
Start taking prenatal vitamins
It’s never too early to start taking prenatal vitamins, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant. Among other important nutrients, they contain folic acid, which numerous studies and the CDC have found to be critically important for the development of baby’s brain and spine. Plus, folic acid helps promote ovulation, encourages fertilization and supports early embryo survival, says Audrey Gaskins, ScD, an instructor of nutrition and dietetics at Harvard Medical School. Your ob-gyn can prescribe a prenatal vitamin or offer recommendations for some good over-the-counter options. Foods like strawberries, spinach, beans and orange juice are also naturally high in folate.
Watch your caffeine consumption
You don’t have to cut out caffeine completely, but stick to one to two 8-ounce cups a day while trying to conceive. The research is limited and the results are mixed, but some studies suggest that excessive caffeine intake may lead to fertility issues.
Cut back on alcohol
While an occasional glass of wine isn’t going to affect your fertility, you might consider avoiding alcohol altogether while you’re trying to conceive. No amount of alcohol is considered safe to drink while pregnant, and since you won’t know the exact moment you conceive, doctors suggest skipping it altogether. Your partner may want to limit their drinking as well. Research has found that heavy alcohol consumption can affect a man’s sperm count and quality.
Smoking can impact your chances of getting pregnant fast. It’s linked to a greater risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies. “Smokers have significantly lower levels of estrogen, which could lower the probability of ovulation in a given menstrual cycle and potentially affect pregnancy maintenance,” Gaskins says. It’s a habit male partners should also kick to the curb—smoking can lower the quality and quantity of their sperm.
Reduce outside stress
Want to know how to get pregnant fast? The key might actually be to slow down. While the research is mixed, many studies have found a link between stress and infertility. Of course, this can be a vicious cycle—if you’re having trouble conceiving, you may find yourself becoming increasingly tense. Hard as it may be, find calming activities that keep you grounded and bring you joy. This could include gentle yoga, meditation or even talk therapy. Taking care of your mental health is an important form of self-care when trying to conceive. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Avoid heat for increased sperm counts
If you’re wondering how to get pregnant with a male partner, one tip is to ditch anything that generates heat. It’s not just an old wives’ tale: Hot water really can have a negative effect on a man’s sperm count, according to the University of California San Francisco and Cleveland Clinic. If you and your partner are looking for ways to get pregnant quickly, it may be time to cut back on long soaks in the hot tub and sauna. But that’s not the only thing that may be increasing heat and decreasing sperm count: A 2016 study found that laptops may also adversely affect a man’s fertility, as well as heat from wearing tight underwear and pants.
It may seem obvious, but if you want to get pregnant fast, you’ll need to quit your method of birth control. Depending on what form you’re using, fertility doesn’t necessarily return right away. With barrier methods, like condoms, upping your chance of getting pregnant is as easy as leaving them in your nightstand drawer. If you have a non-hormonal IUD removed, your body will immediately be ready for pregnancy. But for people who have been using hormonal forms of birth control (the pill or vaginal rings), it can sometimes take a few weeks for your body to regulate and ovulate.
“Especially when women have been on birth control for a very long time, cycles may not occur right away. They may be absent or very irregular for a month or so,” says Eric D. Levens, MD, medical director at Shady Grove Fertility Clinic. Typically with the pill, “after about six to eight weeks, you should start seeing your cycle. If after 8 to 10 weeks you’re still not getting a period, it’s wise to seek help from a doctor to figure out what’s going on.”
Determining how to get pregnant fast is secondary. First, you’ll need to figure out how your body works. Knowing when you’re going to ovulate—and, therefore, when you’re most fertile—is a key tip for getting pregnant. Nailing down the timing isn’t always easy, but luckily there are several ways to track your ovulation.
Learn when ovulation happens
When trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to understand the basics of how ovulation works and when it occurs. It’s a common misconception that ovulation always occurs on the 14th day after your period starts, but that only happens if your menstrual cycle is consistent and 28 days long. Everyone’s cycle is different. “The average cycle is anywhere from 24 to 35 days, and it doesn’t vary by more than three to four days on any given month,” Levens says. Depending on how long your cycle is, ovulation can actually happen between 11 to 21 days after the first day of your last period (or even earlier or later, if you have a particularly short or long cycle). But while the timing of ovulation depends on your unique cycle, you should get your period 12 to 14 days after ovulation.
Use an ovulation calculator
When you have an important goal, you track what you need to do in a calendar—so it makes sense when you’re planning one of the biggest projects of your life (hello, baby!) to do the same. An ovulation or fertility calculator can help you figure out how to get pregnant fast by determining the length of your cycle. Just record the first day of your period, which is the first day of your menstrual cycle, for several months. Over time you’ll begin to see patterns as to when your period typically starts and when you’re likely to ovulate. Your fertility is highest during the five days leading up to ovulation and 24 hours after. For quick, easy computation, plug the last day of your period and length of your cycle into The Bump ovulation calculator—it’ll do some fast math and highlight the days of the calendar on which you have the highest chance of getting pregnant.
Recognize ovulation symptoms
An app can crunch the numbers and give you likelihoods, but one of the simplest ways to get pregnant is to listen to your body and monitor it for signs and symptoms of ovulation. You may have just one or two, or you may have several of the following signs:
- Light spotting
- Clear, stretchy cervical mucus
- Increased libido
- Breast sensitivity and tenderness
- Heightened sense of taste, sight or smell
- Change in cervical firmness and position (it’ll feel softer, higher and more open)
- A sudden and sustained increase in your basal body temperature (more on this below)
Boost your odds with an ovulation kit
While recognizing ovulation symptoms helps you get more acquainted with your cycle, there’s a chance that, by the time you notice them, you might already be past your most fertile window. So if you’re looking for how to get pregnant fast, ovulation tests can help. These over-the-counter predictor kits track your ovulation by measuring the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), a hormone produced by your pituitary gland, in your urine. Your body is always creating LH, but it makes more of it 24 to 48 hours before you ovulate.
For the best results, take the test at the same time each day for several days and refrain from drinking or urinating two hours before testing. Typically, you place the test strip in a cup of your urine or directly in your urine stream, then watch for results on a digital monitor. A certain color or sign will appear to signal an LH surge. When this happens, it means you’ll be ovulating soon and should plan to have sex. Just keep in mind that these tests aren’t 100 percent accurate, since they usually only test for one indicator of ovulation, notes the American Pregnancy Association. Certain health conditions, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or Luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome, and some fertility medications can result in an inaccurate reading.
Chart your basal body temperature
Charting your basal body temperature (BBT) is another way to find out when you’re ovulating. While your non-ovulating, normal temperature is 96 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, your BBT changes throughout your cycle, and during ovulation it may be a half-degree higher. To track your BBT, take your temperature every morning before you get out of bed using a special BBT thermometer designed to measure temperature in tenths of degrees. Record your BBT on a chart for several months and look for a pattern to emerge. You can assume you’ve ovulated when you have a slightly higher BBT for three or more days. If you’re having trouble seeing a pattern or change in your BBT, you might want to try taking your BBT rectally or vaginally for more accurate results. Unfortunately, though, you don’t have much time to try to conceive by the time your BBT has risen, the Mayo Clinic notes. This method is more about getting to know your body and figuring out your overall pattern of fertility. When you figure out that monthly pattern, you can plan to have sex a few days before your anticipated BBT spike.
When you’re trying to conceive with a male partner, you have an incentive to hit the sheets all the time. But like anything, too much of a good thing can backfire. Experts say the best way to get pregnant fast is to have sex once a day, every other day, during the fertile window right before and after ovulation. If you have sex too often, your partner’s sperm count may be reduced—and if you don’t have enough sex, the sperm may be old and unable to swim as fast. Suffice to say: Getting pregnant isn’t necessarily as simple as getting busy—and there are some considerations to keep top of mind when it’s finally time to make a baby.
Don’t use lube
If getting pregnant is the goal, you may want to lay off the lube. While it can make you feel more comfortable during sex, some lubricants can make sperm more likely to die before reaching the egg. Opt for a lubricant that’s “sperm-friendly,” or try ramping up the foreplay to enhance your own natural lubrication.
Don’t douche after sex
Douching after sex can sabotage your chances of getting pregnant. What’s more, studies have found it can also put you at risk for a pelvic infection—which is why most doctors advise against it, even if you’re not actively trying to get pregnant.
Skip oral sex
While there’s no definitive proof, some research has found that large amounts of saliva may inhibit sperm’s motility. So if you know you’re ovulating and you’re actively trying to get pregnant (and fast!), you may want to abstain from this particular activity—just in case.
Don’t worry about specific sex positions to get pregnant
Believe it or not, research hasn’t proven any particular positions to be better at helping people get pregnant fast—you can conceive in just about any sex position. “The position you have sex in will not prevent you from getting pregnant and will not cause infertility,” says Rachel Gurevich, fertility expert and coauthor of Birth Plans for Dummies. So it’s okay to experiment and find a sex position that works best for both you and your partner. “One of the things to keep in mind when selecting a position is choosing one where both partners are comfortable and able to enjoy the encounter, as well as orgasm,” says Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, a certified doula. If you want, you can try lying on your back after sex, bending your knees and tilting your pelvis backward at a 45-degree angle for 30 minutes, which may help hold in the semen.
Keep the fun (and intimacy) alive
One of our top tips for getting pregnant: Have fun with it. It’s easy to become so hyper-focused on the end goal that you forget to enjoy yourselves. Trying to get pregnant can sometimes make doing the deed feel like a chore or business transaction, so try not to overthink it. Instead, keep things spontaneous, pleasurable and fun. Moreover, make sure to stay connected outside of the bedroom by sharing your feelings and listening to your partner. Trying to conceive can be a roller-coaster ride, but it’s important to keep the experience positive for you both—and that starts with honesty, intimacy and open communication.
Most healthy couples who have frequent, unprotected sex become pregnant within a year, according to the Mayo Clinic. One study found that 38 percent conceived after one month, 68 percent after three months, 81 percent after six months and 92 percent after 12 months. Still, sometimes you might need some help.
If you’re in your early 30s or younger, and you and your partner are both healthy, it’s okay to actively try for a year without using birth control before speaking with your ob-gyn or a fertility specialist. After all, it’s important to keep in mind that even at the peak of fertility, the chances of getting pregnant in any given month is only about one in five, Levens says.
Since fertility decreases as you age, you may want to get help at the six-month mark if you’re over 35. The sooner you see a doctor, the more likely you are to get pregnant fast. “Some causes of infertility worsen over time,” Gurevich says. “And by waiting, you may be reducing the odds for success with fertility treatments.”
The key is to not blame yourself if you aren’t getting pregnant. Infertility is common—one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, according to a survey by the CDC. Having difficulty conceiving may be linked to a number of factors. If trying to get pregnant is taking a mental toll, reach out to a trusted friend, family member or a therapist. Also consider joining an in-person or online support group, so you can share your feelings with others going through the same experience.
You want to get pregnant fast, but it may take time and patience. Some couples have immediate success, others will have a long journey ahead. The most important thing you can do right now is take control of your physical and mental health, so you can feel empowered as you embark on this path. Be proactive now—and then take it one step at a time together.
About the experts
Audrey Gaskins, ScD, is a research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she specializes in male and female fertility. She also currently serves as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Gaskins received her doctorate of science from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Rachel Gurevich, is a fertility expert, doula and author, as well as a registered nurse with the Mayo Clinic. She earned her associate degree in nursing from Pima Medical Institute-East Valley in Arizona.
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH, LCCE, CLC, is an author, lamaze certified childbirth educator, certified doula and doula trainer with DONA International.
Eric D. Levens, MD, is an ob-gyn, reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist. He currently serves as the medical director of Shady Grove Fertility Clinic. He earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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