6 Tips for Getting Pregnant

Couple holding hands while kissing
Jamie Grill / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Thinking of starting a family? Or adding to the one you have? You know what to do to get pregnant, of course: Make sure you and your significant other have sex each month when you're most fertile. But if you want to up your odds of conceiving, here are six things you can do that may help you get pregnant sooner rather than later

Have Sex Even When You Aren't Ovulating

You're most fertile the day you ovulate, when one of your ovaries releases an egg into a Fallopian tube where it becomes fair game for a sperm, as well as for two days after. If you aren't sure when that is in your case, you can pinpoint your ovulation period by using ovulation predictor kits, charting your body basal temperature, and checking cervical mucus changes. You can also get an estimate using a simple ovulation calculator.

Obviously, you should have intercourse during this period, but having sex throughout the month can help to increase your odds of getting pregnant as well. For one thing, having sex after ovulation may improve your chances of getting pregnant on the theory that semen may play a role in embryo development and implantation.

Research has found also that frequent sex makes for healthier sperm. Having intercourse throughout the month may improve the odds of conception because it keeps sperm strong.  

Regular sex also can help reduce stress for men. This can be important because research shows that having timed sex—in other words, being expected to perform during ovulation—can be difficult for some men. If this becomes an issue in your relationship, try changing the focus from timing sex to get pregnant to having sex throughout the month, often enough to hit on the key times.

At a minimum, have sex every other day during the fertile period (the week to 10 days after ovulation). It takes one to two days for sperm to regenerate, and you don't want it to be older than four to five days.

Have Fun and Don't Rush

Some research has found that lengthier foreplay and increased sexual arousal may increase the quantity of sperm in men. For women, foreplay often means more cervical fluids. Cervical fluids are essential in helping sperm swim and survive the vaginal environment.

Longer foreplay also may increase the chances of female orgasm, another possible boost to conception. If you only have time for a quickie, by all means, don't skip having sex—especially if it's a fertile time of the month. But whenever possible, take your time. Even if your lovemaking doesn't yield a pregnancy, it will likely enhance your relationship and help to ease any anxiety you may be having around trying to conceive. 

Lay Off the Lube 

Personal lubrication products can be great for making sex more comfortable and pleasurable, but there has been research to suggest that some of them are harmful to sperm. During ovulation, a woman's body usually provides extra lubrication, so try to do without products. 

If you really need extra lubrication during sex and you're trying to conceive, reach for a "fertility friendly" lube that's designed to not be harmful to sperm. 

Do Not Douche

Vaginal douches are squirt bottles or bags with an attached tube used to "rinse" the vagina by squirting fluid up and into the vaginal canal. They are usually a mixture of water and vinegar and frequently contain perfumes meant to cover up natural (and healthy) vaginal scents.

According to one study, women who used vaginal douches were 30% less likely to conceive in any given month when compared to women who did not douche. And regardless of the potential impact on conception, douching has other health-related drawbacks, including a higher risk of vaginal infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy.

Most vaginal odor is healthy, but if yours is particularly pungent it could be a sign of infection. Rather than trying to mask the smell by douching (or using scented tampons or other feminine hygiene products), see your doctor.

Take Care of Yourself

The various systems of the body (circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and so on) do not work independently of each other. The health and well-being of any of these systems can have a direct impact on reproductive health. 

Besides getting regular physical exams, living a healthy lifestyle is vital to fertility. Drinking lots of caffeine could be an issue. Even dental hygiene can play a part: Gum disease is associated with decreased male fertility.

If you engage in any of these unhealthy habits, breaking them can make a difference in how quickly and easily you and your partner conceive: 

Don't Put Off Getting Help

How soon you'll conceive is dependent on a number of factors, most of them out of your control. If you don't get pregnant in the first month, take heart: Less than 40% of couples do.

On the other hand, 81% of couples conceive after 6 months. If you've been trying for 6 months and you're over 35—or you've been trying for a year and you're under 35—then you should see your doctor.

Don't delay. Some types of infertility worsen with time. Delaying treatment may significantly lower your potential for pregnancy success. Age is also a factor, and this is why women over age 35 should only try for 6 months before seeking help.

And don't fear that you won't be able to get treatment if you need it, especially if you're concerned about affordability. Not all fertility treatments are expensive. It's possible what you need to get pregnant will turn out to be well within reach. 

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Welliver C, Benson AD, Frederick L, et al. Analysis of semen parameters during 2 weeks of daily ejaculation: a first in humans studyTransl Androl Urol. 2016;5(5):749–755. doi:10.21037/tau.2016.08.20

  2. Bak CW, Lyu SW, Seok HH, et al. Erectile dysfunction and extramarital sex induced by timed intercourse: A prospective study of 439 men. J Androl. 2013;33(6). doi:10.2164/jandrol.112.016667

  3. Mesen TB, Steiner AZ. Effect of vaginal lubricants on natural fertilityCurr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2014;26(3):186–192. doi:10.1097/GCO.0000000000000066

  4. Cottrell BH. An updated review of evidence to discourage douchingMCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2010;35(2):102–109. doi:10.1097/NMC.0b013e3181cae9da

  5. Kellesarian SV, Yunker M, Malmstrom H, Almas K, Romanos GE, Javed F. Male infertility and dental health status: A systematic review. Am J Mens Health. 2018;12(6):1976-1984. doi:10.1177/1557988316655529

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.