7 Steps for Getting Pregnant Faster

Do you want to conceive as soon as possible? Learn how to increase your chances of getting pregnant sooner with these seven expert-approved steps.

An illustration of a woman holding a pregnancy test.
Photo: Illustration: Emma Darvick.
01 of 07

Step 1: Stop Taking Birth Control

An illustration of a woman holding birth control.
Illustration: Emma Darvick.

If you're taking birth control pills, stop taking them a few months before you start trying to conceive, and switch to a non-hormonal form of contraception instead, suggests Christopher Williams, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia, and author of The Fastest Way to Get Pregnant Naturally.

The same advice goes for other forms of hormonal birth control, including vaginal rings, patches, intrauterine devices, and implants. However, if you are taking the Depo-Provera birth control shot, you should stop that about nine months before as it takes time to leave your system.

"After you've been using birth control for a while, it may take your body a few cycles to start ovulating regularly and be primed for pregnancy," Dr. Williams says. This gives you time to track your cycle and figure out when you ovulate, which is key for timing conception.

But remember: Once you stop using hormonal birth control, it is technically possible to get pregnant right away. So if you're not quite ready to conceive, be prepared with use another form of contraception like condoms.

02 of 07

Step 2: Find Your Fertile Window

An illustration of a calendar.
Illustration: Emma Darvick.

Now that you've stopped using birth control, you may be wondering, "When is the best time to try to get pregnant?" The answer is during your "fertile window," or the days leading up to and just after ovulation.

No matter how often you have sex, if you skip the most fertile days of the month, you won't conceive. "The biggest mistake my patients make is not knowing exactly when they ovulate," says Dr. Williams.

Some doctors recommend using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) to detect ovulation. These at-home tests work by detecting a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which occurs about 36 to 48 hours before you ovulate. OPKs help you plan baby-making sex for when you're the most fertile.

Other ways to track ovulation include charting your basal body temperature (BBT), monitoring your cervical mucus, and tracking your menstrual cycle.

03 of 07

Step 3: Have Sex Before You Ovulate

An illustration of a man and a woman in bed.
Illustration: Emma Darvick.

Sperm can survive in your reproductive tract for up to five days under the right conditions, but an egg only lasts for 12 to 24 hours after it's released. Having sex before you ovulate boosts the chances that there'll be sperm around to greet the egg once it leaves the ovary.

If you're using OPKs, experts say that you'll want to have sex soon after getting a positive result, and then again for the next few days to take advantage of that pre-ovulation window.

If you're tracking your cervical mucus, time baby-making sex with when you start to see fertile-quality mucus—that raw egg white consistency.

If you're less inclined to meticulously track fetility signs, you can start having sex at least a few times per week as soon as your period ends (every other day is even better). Getting busy regulalry after your period helps ensure you won't miss your most fertile time, especially if your cycle length varies from month to month.

04 of 07

Step 4: Try Some Recommended Positions

An illustration of an alarm clock.
Illustration: Emma Darvick.

When it comes to the best penis-in-vagina position to get pregnant, it can be hard to separate real advice from myths. But Dr. Williams says the following tips may be worth a try (but keep in mind there's no evidence they actually work):

  • Lie on your back after sex. "Because the vagina naturally slopes downward, resting on your back after sex allows sperm to pool there, which gives them an edge in swimming toward your egg," says Dr. Williams. Should you keep your legs elevated, too? It can't hurt, he says, but it probably doesn't help any more than lying down does.
  • Have sex before bed. Though some sources report that sperm count is highest in the morning, the truth is that there's no optimal time of day to have sex in terms of sperm count. However, having sex before you hit the hay is an easy way to ensure you stay on your back afterward.
  • Keep it vanilla(ish). While there's no single sex position that's best for conceiving, try sticking to one where you'll be on your back when it's over.
05 of 07

Step 5: Avoid Baby-Making Mistakes

An illustration of underwear.
Illustration: Emma Darvick.

When it comes to baby-making sex, some experts recommend avoiding certain personal lubricants (but again, no evidence suggests this is actually true). Some couples may think lube helps sperm move more quickly, but some lubricants might actually hinder your pregnancy efforts. That's because many formulas alter the pH balance in the vagina and decrease sperm mobility. That said, conception sex should be stress-free, so reach for the lubricant if it's more comfortable for you!

06 of 07

Step 6: Take a Pregnancy Test

An illustration of a woman holding a pregnancy test.
Illustration: Emma Darvick.

The earlier you confirm a pregnancy, the sooner you can see a health care provider and start prenatal care. Home pregnancy tests work by detecting levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. Levels of this hormone, produced by the placenta, rise quickly in early pregnancy.

Tests marketed as "early result" or "early response" may be more sensitive at detecting lower levels of hCG, usually a few days before a missed period. Keep in mind that testing too early can yield a "false negative" result—when the test says you're not pregnant, but you really are.

In these cases, your body isn't producing enough hCG yet to be detected by the test. Waiting and testing again a few days after your missed period will give more accurate results.

07 of 07

Step 7: Try Again

An illustration of a man and woman hugging.
Illustration: Emma Darvick.

How long it takes to get pregnant depends on many things, from your age and health history to your unique menstrual cycle and lifestyle factors. While it's possible to conceive on your first try, most people try for several cycles before getting that positive pregnancy test.

In fact, data shows that more than half of couples who are trying to conceive require six months to get pregnant, with about 85% conceiving within one year.

If you don't have a positive pregnancy test this time around, you're not alone. Most experts advise seeing a fertility specialist if you don't conceive within 12 months of trying if you're under 35 (or after six months if you're over 35). But that doesn't mean that you can't consult with a health care provider sooner.

If you have any concerns or simply want to give yourself the best chance of conceiving quickly, don't hesitate to make a preconception appointment with your health care provider.

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