You’re most likely to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex in
the five days before you ovulate, or on the day itself. And the number one
mistake women make when they’re trying to get pregnant? Not getting the timing
Counting day one
of your period as day one of your cycle, most women ovulate about 14 days
before their next period. So if your cycle varies between 24 and 30 days,
you’ll ovulate somewhere between days 10 and 16. Once the egg is released from
the ovary, it’s only receptive to sperm and able to be fertilized for about 12
to 24 hours, but sperm can remain viable for days after intercourse ... which is
why you can have sex days before ovulation and still get pregnant. If your
cycle is very regular you have a good idea when you ovulate. If not, it might
make sense to buy an over-the-counter fertility monitor to help you get the
Logic tells us that if a little is good, a lot is better. But
that’s not the case with intercourse when you’re trying to get pregnant. Sperm
counts may actually be lower if men ejaculate too often. On the other hand, if
men don’t ejaculate for weeks, the sperm are relatively old and may not be as
capable of swimming and fertilizing an egg. So many experts have concluded that
sex every other day—and not more than once a day—is ideal for baby-making.
How to do it
The good news is, you don’t have to read the Kama Sutra or do any
daredevil acrobatics to get pregnant. Nor must you rely on the missionary
position night after night. No study has ever found that one position is better
than another for conception success.
Some experts still recommend the man-on-top position, so that the
sperm is deposited closest to where it’s supposed to be, at the top of the
vagina. And some women trying to get pregnant avoid being on top for fear that
gravity will be working against the sperm, and that it will leak out
immediately. But sperm are speedy swimmers, and once they’re out of the gate
they’re on their way to the fallopian tubes within seconds. The stuff
that leaks out after sex is just fluid and some dead sperm.
Some experts do recommend staying in bed anywhere from 20 minutes
to an hour after intercourse to keep the sperm pooled at the top of the vagina.
A woman can put her knees up to accentuate this position, or she can place her
feet on the wall with her hips on a small pillow, which works even better.
Don’t feel like lying around? Other experts don’t believe there’s
much medical basis to recommend it anyway. So lie around or not—you decide. One
big afterglow no-no: Don’t douche, which can increase the risk of pelvic infection
and lower your risk of getting pregnant. Another thing to avoid right after
intercourse: anything that will raise your core body temperature, meaning no
hot tubs, saunas, or long runs.
Trying to conceive can be stressful on a relationship. So anything
you can do to make it more pleasurable and fun is great. Sex toys are a good
idea, though obviously be careful to keep them clean.
And while lubricants may make intercourse more comfortable, be
careful to choose a “safe” one if you’re trying to make a baby. There are now a
number of “sperm-friendly” lubricants on the market. Or you can try canola oil,
which has no effect on sperm. One other option: Tell your husband to work a
little harder! Make conception sex fun with lots of foreplay, so you’ll
get lubricated on your own.