Maximizing your chances for pregnancy

After having a preconception checkup with your physician and making sure you are set for pregnancy, as well as being on folic acid (prenatal vitamins), ideally for 2-3 months prior to conception, you are ready to try to conceive. Here are some tips to maximize your chances.

For most women with regular menses, ovulation occurs about 14 days prior to the next menses. Over-the-counter ovulation kits using urine can help a woman identify her most fertile window during the month, which can especially help women with irregular or unpredictable menstrual cycles. Identifying the time when ovulation is most likely can allow a couple to time intercourse when conception will be most likely to occur.

Once you have identified the fertile window, intercourse about every 48 hours during the most fertile few days will be the best way to maximize sperm delivery to the ovum. Sperm can survive in the female tract for up to 3 days, and sperm emissions that are too frequent (every day or more often) can decrease sperm counts on subsequent days, so the best frequency is thought to be every 2 days.

After intercourse for conception, many fertility experts will recommend resting on your back for about 30 minutes to allow the sperm a “head start” before jumping up and running to the bathroom to freshen up.

Remember to avoid smoking, alcohol, illicit drugs, and large amounts of caffeine during attempts for conception, as fertility can be affected.

Most couples under 35 will be able to conceive within a year by trying naturally, but if you have some specific fertility challenges from the past, or are over 35, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about these before spending much time trying on your own.