5 Parents Share Their Tips to Get Pregnant Faster

Wish you had a personal baby-making coach? Read on for these tried-and-true tips from real parents who finally got pregnant after months of trying to conceive.

A pregnant woman is holding an ultrasound scan result

Getty Images / Karl Tapales

You'd never know it from the giggly babies in their arms, but plenty of parents have struggled to conceive at some point. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that about 15% of reproductive-aged couples worldwide deal with infertility, which is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of regular unprotected sex. Infertility can have many causes that include hormonal and genetic disorders, disrupted ovarian function, fallopian tube obstruction, and more.

Whether they turn to fertility treatments or stay the course on their own, many parents ultimately get the baby they dreamed of—and they learn plenty of tips for trying to conceive along the way. Here, real parents share hard-earned wisdom you can use to help accelerate your journey to pregnancy.

Know Your Ovulation Symptoms

Carrie E. Carroll, 36, an art director in Arlington, Virginia, had a smart strategy for getting pregnant. At age 32, she went off birth control, focused on eating well, lowered her caffeine intake, took up yoga and running, and tracked her ovulation. But after a few months of trying to conceive, she had nothing to show for it. That’s when a friend (with four kids) suggested that she start listening more closely to her body. She took her friend’s advice, and a few weeks later felt a little pop in her abdomen that was likely mittelschmerz—the feeling of her egg being released during ovulation. Carrie and her husband had sex that day and found out they were pregnant with twins five weeks later.

Ovulation signals peak fertility in the menstrual cycle, which is why it’s so critical to recognize the signs of its arrival. This is the moment when a mature egg is released from the ovary and then moves down the fallopian tube, ready to be fertilized. Because sperm can live inside the female reproductive tract up to five days after intercourse, having sex five days before and on the day of ovulation can improve your odds of conceiving.

Besides being in tune with your body, there are many ways to determine ovulation—and it’s important enough to use every tool in your arsenal. While there are many complex (and expensive) ovulation trackers flooding the market today, basic over-the-counter ovulation predictor kits are widely considered one of the most accurate ways to predict ovulation. Also be aware of ovulation signs and symptoms, including cervical mucus changes and an increased basal body temperature.

Clean Up Your Pre-Pregnancy Diet

Having trouble conceiving can be especially puzzling if it's your second time around. Mandi Welbaum, 26, a blogger and editor in Troy, Ohio, struggled with secondary infertility two years after her son's birth. She started tracking her basal body  temperature and monitoring her cervical mucus, but months passed with no pregnancy. That’s when she decided to get serious about cleaning up her unhealthy diet. After five months of cutting down portions, limiting fast food, and making healthy smoothies, Mandi lost 20 pounds. Within weeks she became pregnant with her second child. 

As Mandi discovered firsthand, diet can have a huge impact on fertility. Many studies have linked healthy preconception diets in both men and women with improved fertility, citing the importance of eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and fish. Conversely, red meat, saturated fats, soy, alcohol, and caffeine have been linked to decreased fertility. A thoughtfully planned fertility diet will not only increase your chances of conception, but can set you up for a healthy pregnancy as well. 

Develop a Regular Exercise Routine

Eating right and exercising regularly are wise moves for every would-be parent. That's what helped Christy Grimste, 34, of Washington, D.C., get pregnant after being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in her late twenties. PCOS causes an imbalance of reproductive hormones, resulting in irregular cycles and ovarian cysts—and often, as in Christy’s case, difficulty conceiving. Christy tried the drugs Clomid and Metformin with no success and was gearing up for her first round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) when she moved to Turkey for her husband's job. Without a car, she found herself walking everywhere—and she lost 15 pounds in two months. A month later, she was pregnant.

Of course, a regular exercise routine is recommended for anyone who’s trying to attain optimal health—not only people who are trying to conceive or those with PCOS. But studies have repeatedly linked a moderate exercise routine with regular ovulation and fertility. Exercise can help reduce stress, balance hormones, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, and maintain a healthy weight—all very important things for someone who is trying to conceive.

Find Your Ideal Body Weight

Being overweight or underweight can negatively impact your fertility. Melissa Pheterson, 34, a freelance journalist in Rochester, New York, found her weight dipping after going on a restrictive diet. A nutritionist warned her that being underweight could impact her fertility, so she shifted her focus on feeding her body the fuel it needed to maintain a healthy weight. Three months after making the changes, Melissa was pregnant.

A 2020 study found that when couples are trying to conceive, both partners’ body mass index (BMI) can have an effect on how long the process will take. Researchers found that underweight, overweight, and obese women as well as underweight men were associated with a longer time to pregnancy. It’s not the first time that research has linked both severe thinness and obesity with fertility problems. Talk to your doctor about the ideal weight for both you and your partner in order to improve your pregnancy outlook.

Try a Post-Sex Pregnancy Position

For people who have been told that pregnancy isn't a possibility, even left-field advice seems worth trying. Daniela Spector, 47, a dentist in Great Neck, New York, was told as early as age 12 that biological kids just weren't in her cards because of PCOS. Nevertheless, she started trying to conceive when she was 24 and didn't give up until she finally succeeded at 29. Her trick: Keeping her pelvis elevated for half an hour after sex. Doctors told her this move may help increase the chance that her husband’s sperm would meet her egg. The move seemed to work, and she became pregnant with their first daughter shortly thereafter. 

Now, there’s no scientific evidence that elevating the pelvis after sex actually does anything—but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try. If nothing else, choose a sex position that may help you relax and reduce stress, both of which are important when trying to conceive. After all, if you’re not comfortable during and after sex, you may not be as motivated to get busy during your fertile window.

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