Here are ways to make it more likely that you'll conceive soon after you start trying. Taking folic acid at least one month before you start trying to conceive will reduce the risk of certain birth defects. These are sure ways:
1: See your Doctor and go for a genetic test: You're more likely to have a successful pregnancy if your body is up for the task. To find out whether you're in baby-making shape – and to learn what changes may help – schedule a preconception checkup with a doctor or midwife. You may not be able to get an appointment right away or resolve any health issues immediately, but taking these steps as soon as possible will help you conceive faster in the long run.
Depending on your ethnic background and family history, our practitioner may encourage you to consider genetic screening to see if you or your partner are carriers for serious inherited illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and others. This may be the single most important thing you can do to help ensure a healthy baby, and all it requires is a saliva or blood sample from each of you.
2: Figure out when you ovulate: Conception is based on an intricate series of events. Every month, hormones from your pituitary gland stimulate your ovaries to release an egg (ovulate). Once the egg is released, it travels to one of the fallopian tubes. If you want to conceive, the days leading up to ovulation are the time. But how can you when you'll ovulate? For many women, it's like hitting a moving target — especially since various factors can affect the exact timing of ovulation, including stress and excessive exercise.
To gauge when you're ovulating, you might: Keep an eye on the calendar. For several months, use a calendar to mark the day your period begins — the first day of each menstrual cycle. Ovulation often happens around day 14 of a menstrual cycle, although the exact timing might vary among women or even from month to month.
Looking for patterns can help you plan. Watch for changes in cervical mucus. Just before ovulation, you might notice an increase in clear, slippery vaginal secretions — if you look for it. These secretions typically resemble raw egg whites. After ovulation, when the odds of becoming pregnant are slim, the discharge will become cloudy and thick or disappear entirely.
Track your basal body temperature. Ovulation can cause a slight increase in basal body temperature — your temperature when you're fully at rest.
To monitor your basal body temperature, use a thermometer specifically designed to measure basal body temperature. Take your temperature every morning before you get out of bed and plot the readings on graph paper or in a spreadsheet. Eventually, a pattern might emerge. You'll be most fertile during the two to three days before your temperature rises.
The increase will be subtle, typically less than 1 F (.5 C). Try an ovulation predictor kit. Over-the-counter ovulation kits test your urine for the surge in hormones that takes place before ovulation. Ovulation kits can identify the most likely time of ovulation or even provide a signal before ovulation actually happens.
3: Know the right time to have sex: Once you know when your egg will be released from your ovary, you can plan to have sex during your most fertile days: from three days before ovulation through the day of ovulation. Starting a little sooner can't hurt; some women have gotten pregnant from sex that happened six days before they ovulated. Do have sex regularly. If you consistently have sex two or three times a week, you're almost certain to hit a fertile period at some point. For healthy couples who want to conceive, there's no such thing as too much sex. For many couples, this might be all it takes. Do have sex once a day near the time of ovulation. Daily intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation might increase the odds of conception. Although your partner's sperm concentration is likely to drop slightly each time you have sex, the reduction isn't usually an issue for healthy men.
Do make healthy lifestyle choices. Maintain a healthy weight, include moderate physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet, limit caffeine and manage stress. The same good habits will serve you and your baby well during pregnancy. Do consider preconception planning. Your health care provider can assess your overall health and help you identify lifestyle changes that might improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Preconception planning is especially helpful if you or your partner has any health issues. Do take your vitamins. Folic acid plays an essential role in a baby's development. A daily prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement beginning a few months before conception significantly reduces the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
The biggest secret to getting pregnant faster is knowing when you ovulate (release an egg from your ovary). Think of the egg as a bull's-eye and the sperm as arrows. One of the arrows has to hit the bull's-eye in order for you to get pregnant.
Since you ovulate once each menstrual cycle, there are only a few days out of each cycle when sex can actually lead to pregnancy. Knowing when you ovulate means that you and your partner can identify the bull's-eye and then aim for it, instead of just shooting a bunch of arrows and hoping the target happens to be there.
You can figure out when you ovulate using a few different methods. If you notice that you have irregular periods over the course of several months, pinpointing ovulation could be difficult. Ask your doctor for advice. You have a range of days for baby-making sex because sperm can survive for three to six days in your body. Your egg survives for only about a day. That means if you have sex on Monday, sperm can survive in your fallopian tubes, waiting for an egg to float by, until around Thursday – or maybe even as late as Sunday.
If you're not sure when your fertile period will be, here's an easy rule of thumb: Hit the sheets every other day. Having sex this often means you'll have healthy sperm waiting in your fallopian tubes every day, ready to spring into action whenever your egg gets released.
(If you want to have sex more often than every other day, that's fine. It won't help you conceive faster, but it won't hurt , either.)
Another tip: If you and your partner are waiting to have sex until your most fertile time, make sure you haven't gone through too long of a dry spell beforehand. Your partner should ejaculate at least once in the days before your most fertile period. If he doesn't, there could be a buildup of dead sperm in his semen when it's go time, and dead sperm can't get you pregnant.
4: Things to avoid:
Sperm have their best shot at fertilizing an egg when they're healthy, strong, and plentiful. Several things can help your partner get his sperm supply in fighting shape:
To improve your odds of conceiving, also keep important "don'ts" in mind: Don't smoke. Smoking ages your ovaries and depletes your eggs prematurely. If you smoke, ask your health care provider to help you quit before conception. Don't drink alcohol. Research suggests that drinking alcohol appears to decrease fertility and can harm a developing baby. Generally, it's best to avoid alcohol if you're hoping to conceive.
Don't take medication without your health care provider's OK. Certain medications — even those available without a prescription — can make it difficult to conceive. Others might not be safe once you're pregnant. Don't depend on vaginal lubricants. Various over-the-counter vaginal lubricants can decrease fertility. Saliva can have the same effect. If you need a lubricant, consider mineral oil or canola oil — or ask your doctor for other suggestions.
Don't overdo strenuous exercise. Although moderate physical activity can help promote fertility, going overboard might have the opposite effect. Some research suggests that five or more hours a week of vigorous aerobic activity can actually impair the fertility of a woman who isn't overweight.
When to consult a doctor With frequent unprotected sex, most healthy couples conceive within one year. Others need a bit of help. If you're in your early 30s or younger and you and your partner are in good health, try it on your own for one year before consulting a doctor. Consider seeking help sooner if you're age 35 or older, or you or your partner has known or suspected fertility issues. Infertility affects both men and women — and treatment is available. Depending on the source of the problem, your gynecologist, your partner's urologist or your family doctor might be able to help. In some cases, a fertility specialist offers the best hope.
You may have heard that some positions, such as your partner on top (missionary position), are better than others for conception. In fact, there's no evidence to back these theories up. Experts just haven't done the research yet.
What experts have done, though, is use scanning to reveal what's going on inside when you're doing the deed. Some brave couples volunteered to be scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while having sex. The research looked at two positions: the missionary position and doggy style. (Doggy style being when you're on all fours, and your partner enters you from behind).
Common sense tells us that these positions allow deep penetration and are likely to place sperm right next to your cervix (the opening of your uterus). The MRI scans confirm that the tip of the penis reaches the recesses between the cervix and walls of the vagina in both these sexual positions. The missionary position ensures the penis reaches the recess at the front of the cervix. The rear entry position reaches the recess at back of the cervix. It's amazing what some experts spend their time doing, isn't it! It may be that other positions, such as standing up, or the woman on top, may be just as good for getting the sperm right next to the cervix. We just don't know yet.