Sexual intercourse is the obvious answer to how to get pregnant, although of course these days couples who have difficulty conceiving or are in a same sex relationship can be helped in a variety of ways. Here is some advice for couples on how to get pregnant in the conventional way:
Counting the days of your menstrual cycle will help you figure out when you’re most fertile. Use our Ovulation Calculator to work out the optimum time to start trying for your baby to help you improve your chances of becoming pregnant.
You are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex within a day or so of ovulation, but as it is not easy to recognise the exact time of ovulation, having sex every two or three days throughout the month will give you the best chance of success.
The closer sperm is to the cervical mucus, the better chance it has of surviving the acidity of the vagina, so choose a position that facilitates deep penetration. See our feature on increasing your pregnancy chances.
Stress can interfere with your ability to conceive because it affects the hormones that tell your ovaries to release eggs. If you’re over-stressed, you could ovulate later in your cycle or not at all.
Easier said than done, we know, but conception can take a lot longer than expected. The majority of couples trying to get pregnant do succeed within six months of trying. But some can take years, and your age and health will have some bearing on this.
Pre-conceptual health is very important for both you and your partner. A bad diet, whether you are overweight or underweight, if you smoke or drink can all affect fertility and lead to pregnancy complications. Ideally you should both give up smoking and drinking and get to the ideal body weight for your height to give your baby the best possible start in life. Talk to your GP or practice nurse about this before trying to get pregnant.
Before even thinking about how to get pregnant you should check with your doctor about any pre-existing conditions you have such as diabetes and any genetic conditions that run in your family, so that you can be properly monitored. It’s also important to ensure you are up-to-date on your immunisations as some infections can cause birth defects. You will also need to start taking a folic acid supplement before trying to get pregnant; ask your pharmacist or doctor if you need advice.