How to Get Pregnant

From Fertility Testing to Pregnancy Test

Happy Looking Woman Looking at a Pregnancy Test Stick.
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I want to get pregnant.

It sounds pretty simple, right?

You stop using birth control. You have sex. You get pregnant. You have a positive pregnancy test.

Sorry, it doesn't really work this way for most people.

Today's society has become so focused on birth control, that we fail to remember that there are a lot of very small things that have to be just right in order for conception to occur.

The woman has to be ovulating.

There has to be sperm near the egg for the period that it is ripe. Implantation has to occur. And so on and so forth...

Here are some common questions that come through my mailbox and some helpful tools:

I quit taking birth control pills five months ago. We used condoms for three months. And now we've been timing intercourse for the days I ovulate. Why am I not pregnant?

Simply put, it takes time to get pregnant for most couples even when there is not a fertility problem involved. 90% of couples will conceive, without medical assistance, within 18 months. (See also How long does it take to get pregnant?)

How will I know when I'm ovulating?

Ovulation is usually said to occur on the 14th day after the period. It's actually much more complicated than that and depends a lot on your body and your cycle length. A more accurate guesstimation would be to say that you ovulate 14 days before your cycle starts.

So if you have a 32-day cycle length you are more likely to ovulate on day 18 than day 14, which makes a world of difference in baby-making!

However, this is still not accurate for everyone and there are simple ways to figure out when you specifically ovulate. I personally recommend the charting of your cycles based on temperatures, fertility symptoms, or preferably both.

(See also Fertility Charting.)

When should my husband and I be having sex to maximize our chances of having a baby? Are there certain positions that are better than others?

Part of the answer depends on when you're ovulating. Obviously, you need to time intercourse around ovulation. I also get quite a few question on using ovulation timing to get pregnant with a girl or boy. According to some, you can use ovulation timing to select a boy or girl. How you time it will depend on what you get..

When should I take a pregnancy test?

Some women take a pregnancy test when they have pregnancy symptoms, including a missed period. You can usually take a pregnancy test as soon as your period is missed.

How long will it take to get pregnant and when should I worry?

The amount of time it takes to get pregnant varies, but, in general, it can take a healthy couple a year of trying to conceive and it is still considered normal. You may try a month or two and freak out and want to see a fertility specialist. That is not the best idea because so much goes into your fertility.

What other types of questions do you have about your fertility? Do you know about tests that might happen both at home or at the doctor's office?

Have you thought about timing pregnancy to avoid or hit certain time periods (like having a summer baby)? There is also an infertility guide here that can answer questions.