Timing Matters – How to Increase Your Odds of Conception
June 9, 2015
Question: What’s the best time to have sex if you want to get pregnant?
If you’re like most women, you probably answered, “When you’re ovulating…” This is sort of true – however, having sex for the several days leading up to anticipated ovulation is even better. Here’s why:
Ovulation & Fertility – Open That Narrow Window as Wide As Possible
Ovulation is the point in your menstrual cycle when an egg is fully mature and is released into the fallopian tube. This magical moment occurs at different times for every woman. The average menstrual cycle lasts anywhere from 28 to 32 days. This span of time is counted from the first day of one menstrual cycle to the first day of the next. Typically, women ovulate anywhere between day 11 and 21 of their cycle.
In order to narrow that timing down, it’s always a good idea to track your menstrual cycle each and every time. In the old days, we told women to monitor their waking body temperature using a basal thermometer (which measures body temperature in small increments). An elevation in body temp can signal ovulation. However, these days, we say get online and download an ovulation and fertility tracking app, like Glow, which will begin predicting your most fertile windows based on the information you enter regarding your periods, temperature and cervical conditions.
Once you have a handle on your cycle, you can begin timing sexual intercourse accordingly.
Increase Chances of Conception By Having Sex BEFORE You Ovulate
Here’s the thing: sperm can live anywhere from two to five days inside your body after you have intercourse. Your mature and freshly released egg(s) only live for about 12 to 24 hours. Thus, the more sperm that are in place – ready to race to the egg – the better chances you have of getting pregnant.
If you want to conceive naturally, your best bet is to track your menstrual cycle for several months so you can get a better idea of which day you will ovulate. Then, time your sexual encounters such that they occur about five days before the egg will be released and then a few times until you’re sure you’ve already ovulated.
Typically, fertility specialists will recommend that the male half of the equation only ejaculate once, every other day, during this period to increase sperm count and motility. Frequent sex means less sperm available in the semen, so having intercourse every other day – rather than as many times as you possibly can – may increase your odds.
Other things that can increase your odds of conception include:
- Eat well. The healthier your body, the more willing it is to be pregnant – so eating a healthy, well-rounded diet is always a good idea. Increasing studies have also linked common pesticides and household chemicals with infertility so we recommend eating a diet that is as organic and pesticide/hormone-free as you can – and that you minimize packaged, canned and processed foods.
- Exercise regularly. Optimally, you should be exercising for about 30-minutes a day, at least three to four times per week. Do keep in mind that over-exercising can decrease fertility rates. If you are an athlete or observe a more rigorous exercise routine, take it back to a moderate level while you’re trying to conceive and throughout your pregnancy.
- Schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN. If you’re ready to get pregnant, it’s important to observe your annual exam schedule to make sure that your reproductive organs are healthy and to address any issues or symptoms that may indicate a fertility problem.
Contact Women’s Health Associates for more information on conception, pregnancy and to cultivate a relationship with a team of doctors and midwives who are eager to help you achieve optimal health and well-being.