How Often Should You Have Sex to Get Pregnant?

When you’re trying to conceive, it can be tricky to know how often to have sex. While having sex daily or every other day during your fertile window increases your chances, a strict schedule may create stress.

If penciling sex into your calendar isn’t practical, try using fertility awareness to help you pinpoint your ovulation window.

1. During your fertile window

Having sex during the few days before and after you ovulate dramatically increases your chances of getting pregnant. This window is only open for about six days a month. “The day of ovulation and the five days before are your most fertile days, because the egg only lives for a couple of days,” says an ob-gyn at Atrius Health in Somerville, Massachusetts.

You can find out your ovulation date using an ovulation predictor kit, body temperature charts or by watching for changes in cervical mucus. But these methods aren’t 100% accurate and you may not be able to pinpoint exactly when you will ovulate.

Women who want to conceive can have sex every other day or even every day during their fertile window. More frequent sex has been shown to improve pregnancy rates, but it’s not possible or enjoyable for many couples.

If you decide to have sex daily during your fertile window, start by tracking your period with an app like Flo. Then, use the predicted ovulation date on your calendar and count back 14 days to figure out when you reached your fertile window. Then you can begin planning sex accordingly, and make sure that both partners are available for the six-day fertile window. More frequent sex can also change the way your body responds to sperm, so it might help you conceive faster.

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2. After ovulation

The day after ovulation is one of the best days to have sex to get pregnant, as sperm can live for up to five days in the woman’s fallopian tubes. Having regular sex even outside this ‘fertile window’ can also help keep sperm healthy.

If you want to increase your chances of conception, it’s generally recommended that you have sex every day during the 6 days leading up to and including ovulation. This is because the vast majority of pregnancies happen around this time, and having sex regularly ensures that sperm are available to fertilize the egg once it’s released.

However, if you don’t want to (or can’t) have sex every day, it’s still important to have sex at least once per week, starting several days before you think you may be ovulating. This can be based on your symptoms, or by using ovulation predictor kits or basal body temperature monitoring apps like Flo.

It’s worth noting that the exact date of ovulation can vary from month to month, due to factors such as stress and diet. So if you notice that you’re ovulating at different times each month, speak to your doctor, as this could be a sign of a fertility issue such as PCOS or a thyroid disorder. You should also check with your doctor if you have any health concerns, such as uterine fibroids, which can affect pregnancy rates.

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3. During the luteal phase

During the luteal phase, the body continues to make progesterone, which thickens the uterus’ lining and prepares it for implantation in a pregnancy. But if the pregnancy doesn’t happen, then the lining will eventually break down and fall away, which is when you get your period.

The luteal phase is the second half of the menstrual cycle, starting after ovulation and ending with your period. It’s also when you’re most fertile.

“If you have sex at the right time, you can get pregnant,” says Charlsie Celestine, MD, an OB-GYN and host of the podcast For Vaginas Only. “So for the best chance of getting pregnant, have sex at least every other day from five days before ovulation until about a day after ovulation.”

If you want to try and pinpoint your ovulation date, use your basal body temperature (BBT) or an ovulation monitor to help. You can also watch for changes in your cervical mucus, which becomes thin and slippery right before ovulation, and thickens up again afterward.

Some researchers have found that if you have sex daily, the quality and quantity of sperm decreases (McInerney, 2018). So you might consider trying out some lubricants that are known as “sperm-friendly” and have a component called hydroxyethylcellulose, which hasn’t been shown to harm sperm. (You can also find a list of sex lubes that are safe for fertility here.)

4. During pregnancy

You can safely continue to have sex throughout most of your pregnancy. The key is to talk openly with your partner, listen to your body and enjoy sex that makes you both happy. You may find that sex becomes more or less enjoyable as the trimesters progress. During the first trimester, many women feel so nauseous and exhausted that sex is often off-limits. Later in the trimesters, increased levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone can make sex more pleasurable.

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The last thing you want to do is put yourself and your baby at risk. That’s why you should never stop having sex until your doctor tells you to.

Having sex during pregnancy helps the mother’s immune system develop tolerance for the fetus, which can help prevent complications like preeclampsia. You and your partner can also use a variety of sex positions throughout pregnancy to maximize pleasure and comfort. For example, spooning allows your partner to penetrate from behind and leaves room for your growing belly. You might also try lying on your stomach with your partner on top, which is easier for both of you because it reduces pressure on other parts of your body. Having sex during pregnancy is important because it’s one of the best ways to bond with your baby. And it’s a great way to prepare for your new life together as a parent!

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