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

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

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How often should you have sex when trying to conceive? And when should you have sex if you want to get pregnant? These are common questions couples have when they decide they want to have a baby. While getting pregnant isn't as easy as you may have been told as a teenager (sex ed tends to teach teens that you'll conceive just by looking at a boy), it's also not that complicated either.

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.)

However, if you have sex often enough, timing sex for ovulation may not be necessary. (Though it will still help!)

Sex Every Day? Seriously Not Necessary!

Some couples will pull out all the stops and try to have sex every day. They just don't want the chance of missing ovulation. While this works for some, if it takes you longer than a month or two to get pregnant, this sex regimen can get tiresome quickly. Plus, it's not necessary.

There are two methods for timing sex for pregnancy: there's the "spread the wealth" method, and the "ready, aim, fire" approach. 

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.

Spread the Wealth Method of Timing Sex for Pregnancy

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

Whatever method of ovulation you choose—checking your temperature every morning, peeing on ovulation detection strips, examining your spit for ferning patterns, or checking your cervical mucus for fertile signs—paying close attention to your cycles and ovulation signs can be exhausting over the weeks and months.

While some women feel empowered by tracking ovulation, others just feel anxious and overwhelmed by it all. For the stressed 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 happy to spend time tracking and 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.

And here's something you may not have known: there is a theory that semen may be helpful to the developing embryo. This means that sex after ovulation, and after you've conceived in fact, may help your pregnancy "stick." 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 of pregnancy, but actually, having sex too frequently may decrease the number of healthy sperm.

A Word From Verywell

When you're eager to get pregnant, it's easy to over-complicate things. It's true that you're more likely to conceive quickly if you have sex during your fertile window, but it's also true that if you have sex frequently all month, you're likely to get pregnant eventually.

There is a lot of pressure online in fertility support groups to use as many ovulation tracking methods as possible. It can be helpful and even fun to track your cycles, but it can also become stressful.

Do what works best for you and your partner. But if you don't get pregnant after trying for one year (or after six months, if you're over 35), see your doctor.  

Source:

Ovulation Frequently Asked Questions. American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/ovulation-faq/.

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