When (and How Often) to Have Sex to Get Pregnant

The Ready-Aim-Fire Method and Spread-the-Wealth Method

Couple sitting up in bed together. Couples need to know when and how often to have sex if they want to get pregnant.
Frequent sex throughout the month will help you get pregnant faster. Brand New Images / Iconica / Getty Images

When should you have sex if you want to get pregnant? You know sex is important -- obviously -- but you may still have questions.

Like... do you need to have sex on a particular day? When is that day? And how frequently should you be doing the horizontal baby dance?

Timing sex to get pregnant is the focus of most couples who are trying to conceive. If you don't have sex during your fertile window, you can't get pregnant.

(Your fertile window is the two to three days before you ovulate.)

Assuming you know when you can get pregnant -- in other words, when you are ovulating -- how often should you have sex?

Sex Every Day? Seriously Not Necessary!

Some couples will pull out all the stops and try to have sex every day in their cycle. They just don't want the chance of missing ovulation.

While this works for some couples, if it takes you longer than a month or two to get pregnant, this sex regimen can get you tired of sex awfully fast. Plus, it's really not necessary.

As I see it, there are two methods for timing sex for pregnancy: there's the "spread the wealth" method and the "ready, aim, fire" method. 

How often you should have sex depends on which method you prefer to use, and whether or not there are any male factor infertility issues, such as sperm count problems.

I'll explain below.

Spread the Wealth Method of Timing Sex for Pregnancy

Trying to detect and track ovulation can be stressful for many women.

Some women just can't cope with checking their temperature every morning, peeing on ovulation detection strips, examining their spit for ferning patterns, or checking their cervical mucus for fertile signs.

While some women feel empowered by tracking ovulation, others just feel anxious and overwhelmed by it all.

For the overwhelmed women, the spread the wealth method is probably best.

Instead of timing sex for ovulation, you should have sex frequently every week.

You're bound to have sex at least once during your fertile window with this method.

If this sounds like the plan for you, you should aim to have sex at least three to four times a week, throughout your cycle. That's about every other day or so.

The Ready, Aim, Fire Method of Timing Sex for Pregnancy

If you're into detecting ovulation and you'd like to focus your sexual efforts on your most fertile time, the ready, aim, fire method is for you.

If sperm counts are normal or healthy, as far as you are aware, then it's best to have sex every day...

What if you chart your basal body temperature? If your cycles are regular, this means you know the approximate day you ovulate each month.

In this case, you should have sex for the three days before you expect to ovulate and possibly on the day you expect to ovulate, too. 

    However, you should still have sex throughout your cycle, just to keep the sperm quality in tip-top shape. You also need to provide time to enjoy sex without a baby-making mission attached.

    Also, there is a theory that semen may be important to the developing embryo. Yes, really! Another good reason for more sex. (As if you needed reasons...)

    What to Do If Sperm Counts Are Borderline or Low

    If sperm counts are borderline normal or on the lower side, the general recommendation is to have sex every other day during the fertile window.

    For example...

    If on Monday you get your first positive ovulation predictor test result, or you see fertile cervical mucus, you should have sex on Monday, skip Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday, skip Thursday and once more on Friday (for good measure).

    The day in between will help replenish the sperm supply, possibly increasing your chances. 

    Whatever you do, don't have sex twice a day. This goes for men with normal sperm counts, too.

    It may seem that more sex would equal a better chance for pregnancy, but actually, having sex too frequently may decrease the number of healthy sperm.

    More on getting pregnant:


    Ovulation Frequently Asked Questions. American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/ovulation-faq/. Updated August 31, 2016.

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