How To Get Pregnant?

For the best chance of getting pregnant, you need to bring your egg and your partner's sperm together as often as possible. 8 out of 10 couples who have a woman under the age of 40 will become pregnant within a year of having regular unprotected sex. 9 out of 10 couples will become pregnant within two years. Regular, unprotected sex means having sex every 2 to 3 days without using contraception.

You don't need to have sex only around ovulation, although it is useful to know when you are ovulating. Having vaginal sex every 2 to 3 days will give you the best chance of getting pregnant. Sperm can live for 2 to 3 days and this means you will always have fresh sperm in your system when you ovulate (release an egg).

Remember that it's important for you and your partner to try to make sex enjoyable by focusing on each other and your relationship, rather than worrying about pregnancy. This will help you limit stress.

How Does Pregnancy Start?

Your cycle starts on the first day of your period and continues up to the first day of your next period.

This is what happens during the cycle and the start of a pregnancy.

  • Eggs mature in your ovaries once a month.
  • The lining of your womb starts to get thicker to prepare for fertilised eggs.
  • Once the egg is mature it is released from one of the ovaries – this is called ovulation.
  • During ovulation your cervical mucus (this is the substance in your cervix, between the vagina and the womb) becomes thinner and clearer to help any sperm to swim to the egg.
  • If you have sex, millions of sperm will swim up the cervix into the uterus and the fallopian tubes to meet a mature egg.
  • If sperm is present at the point of ovulation, or during the next 24 hours, the egg may be fertilised (only one sperm has to join with the egg for this to happen).
  • If the egg is fertilised, it starts to move towards the womb and divide into more cells.

Once it reaches the womb the fertilised egg has to attach the lining of the womb, this is called implantation and is the start of pregnancy. Many fertilised eggs don’t implant and are passed out of the body.

If the egg has not been fertilised, the egg is re-absorbed by the body, the hormone levels drop, and the womb lining is shed – the beginning of your next period.

Best Time To Have Sex To Get Pregnant

To increase your chances of conceiving, make aim to have regular sex (every 2 to 3 days) throughout your cycle so you know that good quality sperm will be waiting when the egg is released. Most people need an active sex life to conceive.

If you know when you ovulate each month, you can give yourself the best chance of getting pregnant by having sex in the days before ovulation. Continue having sex during ovulation. After this your fertile time for that cycle will end.

Best Position To Have Sex In To Get Pregnant

The position in which you have sex does not make any difference to conception as long as the man ejaculates the sperm into the vagina. Once this happens the sperm can swim through the cervix into the womb and flow to the fallopian tubes to meet an egg if it is there.

Many people also say that if a woman raises her legs upwards after sex, it helps sperm to reach the womb. There is no evidence to say that this is true or not. The path from the vagina to the womb isn't a straight line, so you don't have to worry about all the sperm coming back out when you stand up.

When Does Ovulation Happen?

Ovulation usually happens about 10 to 16 days before the start of your next period, so it helps to know your cycle length before you start trying to get pregnant.

You may have not known when you ovulate within your cycle, and if you have been using a hormone contraceptive such as the Pills, you won’t have had a natural menstrual cycle for a while, because the Pill prevents ovulation (egg release) from happening.u

As a first step, mark on your diary the dates you bleed during a period. You can then count how many days from the first day of your period to the next to find out the duration of your cycle.

The following signs that can also help you to know when you ovulate:

Cervical Mucus Changes

The cervix secretes mucus throughout the menstrual cycle, starting with a sticky white color that gradually becomes thinner and clearer. Before and during ovulation the mucus builds up and becomes very thin, slippery and stretchy. Women often compare it to a raw egg white. This thinner mucus is designed to help the sperm swim easily through it.

The last day you notice that wet discharge is sometimes referred to as the 'peak day' and for most women it is very close to the time of ovulation.


You can also find out about your menstrual cycle by noticing your temperature when you wake up every morning. Your temperature rises by about 0.2 degrees Celsius when ovulation occurs. As it only shows you when you've ovulated, and doesn't tell you when your fertile time begins, it isn't very helpful for most women.

Using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK)

Ovulation predictor kits are available from chemists shops and are fairly easy to use. They work by detecting a hormone in your urine that rises when ovulation is about to occur.

The simplest urine kit test for luteinizing hormone (LH), which rises 24-36 hours before ovulation. This will help identify the best two days for conception, although a woman may be fertile for a day or so before and after this time.

To help figure out when you should start testing, it's best to become familiar with your normal menstrual cycle. An ovulation predictor kit can help you identify the timing of ovulation if your cycle is irregular but expect to use more test strips.

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