(Keep in mind that, on average, it takes six to eight months to conceive, and that, in any given month, you probably have a 15 to 20 percent chance of getting pregnant. So don't be too focused on fast results -- just try to relax and have fun!)
Is your menstrual cycle regular? How many days elapse between your periods? These are the first important pieces of information to know. If you're not sure how long and how regular your cycles are, here's how to find out:
The key to conception is having sex during a small window of time around ovulation, when a ripened egg is released from one of the ovaries and moves into the fallopian tube. So, the second important thing you need to know to pinpoint your most fertile days is when you ovulate. Here's how to find out:
If your cycles are very regular, you may be able to determine when you ovulate by doing some simple math: in the average menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs 14 days before the menstrual period arrives -- or on day 14 of a 28-day cycle. So if you subtract 14 days from the length of your cycle, you'll get an idea of when you ovulate.
If your cycles aren't very regular, or you'd like a more accurate picture of your ovulation, you can try one of the following techniques for pinpointing ovulation:
Once you have a clear picture of your ovulation cycle, there's only one thing left to do -- get down to business! This is probably the most misunderstood part of the conception puzzle. For example, if you have intercourse once you've ovulated, you may be too late! Most healthcare practitioners advise you to have sex every day or every other day beginning about five days before ovulation, and continuing through the day after ovulation. Why? Because, though sperm can live as long as three to five days inside a woman's body, an egg's life span is only about 12 to 24 hours. By having intercourse before you ovulate, as well as on the day of and the day after ovulation, you maximize your chances of getting pregnant.
How much is too much? Some couples are concerned that having frequent sex will deplete the man's sperm supply. But healthy testes constantly generate fresh sperm, so daily sex shouldn't pose a problem.
What position is best? Whichever position feels best! When it comes to getting pregnant, it doesn't matter to the sperm or the egg which sexual position you use -- and it's not necessary to stay in bed, stand on your head, or do anything else special to help things along. Just do what comes naturally, and enjoy!
If you're under 35 and have had properly timed intercourse for 12 months, or 35 or older and have been trying for six months, then it's time to see the doctor for a fertility evaluation. Talk to your ob-gyn about where to begin, and see our guide to basic fertility tests.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.