Up to 15 percent of couples have trouble getting pregnant, meaning they are unable to conceive after 12 months of trying.1
Considering these statistics, it is important to make preparations before pregnancy. Read more to find out what you can do to make sure your journey to and during pregnancy is as smooth as possible.
How Fast Can You Get Pregnant?
No one can for sure say how many months or how many years it can take for you and your partner to get pregnant. On average, most couples get pregnant within three months of trying, but this timeline can take longer based on your age, habits, and conditions that may inhibit fertility. Up to 95 percent of couples trying to have a baby will get pregnant within about 4 years of trying. This essentially means that, if you’re trying to conceive, you probably will if you try for long enough.13
Whether you’re having trouble getting pregnant or ready to start a family soon, learn how you can get pregnant fast below.
1. Know When to Have Sex to Get Pregnant
If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s important that you and your partner understand your menstrual cycle, which can help you determine when you are most able to get pregnant. The menstrual cycle occurs naturally as a means of preparing the body to get pregnant.
The Best Time of the Month to Get Pregnant
Women typically release a fertile egg 14 days before the start of bleeding during their menstrual cycles. For the woman with the typical 28-day menstrual cycle, it is best to have intercourse around this time – especially several days before and several days after ovulation. This helps ensures that a fertile egg that is released is met by spermatozoa from the father.
This makes figuring out when you ovulate a key to conceiving. There are now numerous apps, like Glow, that allow you to track your menstrual cycle and determine when you are ovulating, but you can also use an ovulation predictor kit, which tests your hormone levels to identify your fertile window. You can also chart your cycle by measuring changes in your basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and cervical firmness.11
2. Best Sexual Position to Get Pregnant
In terms of position, there’s no scientific evidence saying that any singular position will increase your chances of pregnancy. You should, however, lay in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse to ensure that any sperm heading into the cervix will actually make it inside.12
You also don’t need to overdo it in terms of sexual frequency. Aim to have sex every other day during the second and third weeks of your cycle. This ensures that you will have healthy sperm cells in your fallopian tubes, ready to fertilize the egg as soon as it is released.11
3. Take Prenatal Multivitamins with DHA and Folic Acid
Multivitamins are a good idea, in general, to ensure that you get the nutrients that you need, but for pregnancy in particular, take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid. Folic acid is a synthetic version of the B vitamin folate. Folate is involved in the production of red blood cells and plays a significant role in the development of your baby’s neural tube, which eventually turns into the brain and spinal cord.
Taking folic acid even before you’re pregnant is highly recommended. The neural tube is one of the first organs that a fetus develops. Birth defects in the brain and spinal cord can occur within the first 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy. It’s important to have enough folate in your system prior to conception to prevent these defects. You should take about 400 mcg of folic acid every day for at least a month prior to becoming pregnant and every day while pregnant.5
While current medical recommendations do not suggest that you take a prenatal with DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid for neural development, many parents opt to take one to support the development of their baby’s brain and nervous system.
There are also benefits of taking probiotics for mom and baby.
4. Other Preparations Before Conception
Visit Your Doctor
Before you even set out to conceive a baby, the right preparations can help to increase your chances of pregnancy while ensuring that you and the baby stay healthy. Start with a preconception visit to your doctor who can review your personal health, family’s medical history, and the medications you are currently taking. All of these factors could hinder your pregnancy.2
Be Up to Date with Vaccinations
You should also make sure that you are up to date with all your vaccines. This includes:
- Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) – Infection with measles or mumps during pregnancy can significantly increase your risk of miscarriage and premature labor. Rubella, also known as German measles, has been found to cause serious birth defects when contracted during the first trimester.3
- Chickenpox vaccine – About 2 percent of babies are born with birth defects when their mothers contract chickenpox within the first five months of pregnancy. Women who contract chickenpox around the time of delivery may also pass a more severe, life-threatening form of it to the baby.3
- Flu vaccine – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women should get a flu shot if they will be pregnant during flu season, which roughly spans from November to March. Pregnant women are generally more prone to developing the flu based on changes to their immune systems, heart, and lungs during pregnancy. The flu can also lead to complications for the baby during and after birth.4
Consult your doctor to determine other vaccines that may be beneficial to your health during pregnancy.
Check Your Diet and Lifestyle
The food you eat can have a significant impact on your conception. In general, you want a healthy, balanced diet of diverse foods that mainly focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables and lean sources of protein.
Some specific nutrients that you should focus on include:
- Calcium – Calcium can keep your reproductive system healthy, which can contribute to faster conception. Once you’re pregnant, you will need plenty of calcium to build your baby’s bones and teeth. If you don’t have enough calcium, the fetus will take from your own bones, which can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Aim for about 1,000 mg per day.6
- Iron – Iron is essential to red blood cells and helps to transport oxygen and other nutrients throughout your body. Without enough iron, your developing fetus is at risk of being premature or underweight. Women with enough iron also have less trouble getting pregnant. Women should get about 18 mg of iron per day.6
- Fiber – Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that contributes to your digestive health and may help boost your fertility levels. Getting 10 grams of fiber per day can help to reduce your chance of developing gestational diabetes by 26 percent.6
If you’re trying to conceive, you should limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200 mg per day. In practice, that means limiting yourself to one or two cups of coffee per day. Keep in mind also that tea and cola contain caffeine as well, albeit in smaller amounts.7
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Underweight women are more likely to have low-birth-weight babies, while overweight women are more likely to experience birth and pregnancy complications. Being over- or underweight can also make conception more difficult, so try to stay within your recommended weight and BMI as possible.8
Manage Your Stress
Chronic stress is a modern epidemic, and while it may seem like stress only affects your mood, it has some real effects on your physiology, including your ability to conceive. Stress influences your hypothalamus, which is the gland that regulates your emotions, appetite, and the hormones responsible for signaling your ovaries to release eggs. Stress can actually cause you to ovulate later or not at all.9
When Should You See a Doctor for Help?
Many couples who are unable to conceive on their own will seek assistance from a doctor. If you are under the age of 35 and have not gotten pregnant after having unprotected sex for 1 year, you should consult a fertility doctor. If you are 35 or older and have been trying to conceive for 6 months without any results, it may be time to see a doctor or specialist.14