How Often Should You Have Sex to Get Pregnant?
If you are researching on the internet about tips of sex and pregnancy, you might encounter a lot of mixed information. Some may tell you to have sex every day, while others suggest to “save sperms” for a few days between sexes to increase sperm count. If you really want to increase your chances of getting pregnant, you might want to know when to have sexual intercourse to maximize your chance, and what factors affect your chances of getting pregnant.
Ovulation happens when an egg is released from the ovary, setting the foundation of pregnancy. Ovulation often happens around 12-16 days before the onset of the next period, but this timing varies from woman to woman, and cycle to cycle.
After ovulation, the egg travels down the Fallopian tube, where it meets the sperm and be fertilized. If fertilization didn’t happen, it will be cleared out from the body together with menstrual blood and some of the uterus lining.
An egg lives up to 24 hours post-ovulation, and the sperm can live up to five days in the female reproductive tract. Therefore, you should have sex before ovulation happens, not after, if you are trying to conceive.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT) increases by 0.5F degrees after you ovulate, which makes it often inefficient tool for ovulation tracking when trying to conceive. Estrogen hormone rises about five days before you ovulate.
The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. It can range from 21 to 35 days and still be considered normal, as long as it is consistent. Your fertile window is the few days around ovulation. Your chance to get pregnant is the highest among this period. It is usually up to five days leading to ovulation, and the day of ovulation itself. The best chance to pregnant is the 24-48 hours before ovulation when your Luteinizing Hormone (LH) sharply increases. Most ovulation tests measure your LH level. Check out how Mira measures your actual LH hormone concentrations at home, instead of confusing smiley faces and vague lines.
When you approach ovulation, your Estrogen level rises, which causes the cervix to produce fertile cervical mucus. Your vaginal discharge looks like egg white at this time. It protects sperm and helps them to swim towards the egg. The best way to learn how to observe your mucus is to observe a sample daily. It usually takes several months to learn how to identify fertile cervical mucus.
Your chances of getting pregnant is high when the sperm count is at least 40-50 million/ml and sperm quality is good, so it can survive in women’s reproductive system for a longer time. Although the range of normal is wide when it comes to sperm count, your partner should have at least 20 million/mL for conception to occur. If his sperm count is on the low end, you will want to wait for a day or two to insure high enough sperm count to make conception possible. It requires a semen analysis to know the exact sperm count. Ask a fertility specialist about how to do so.
Having sex every day within the fertile window gives you a 25% chance of conceiving. Slightly lower chance of conceiving (22%) is resulted from having sex every other day. Having sex once a week results in a 10% chance of conceiving, which is significantly lower. Many couples find daily sex is tiring and emotionally draining while trying hard to conceive. The slightly increased chance may not worth it if you feel the same. If you feel “in the mood”, feel free to do it every day if his sperm count is OK. Pay attention to the lubricant you use and make sure to use the sperm-friendly ones.
Is there a chance to get pregnant if having sex outside the fertile window? Yes! In fact, you could technically get pregnant on any day of the cycle, but chances could be extremely low. Studies have found that sexually active women show a strong cycle-related immune system shift, which helps to prepare it for pregnancy. In addition, sex outside the fertile window could create intimate time without the stress to get pregnant and make the whole journey more enjoyable.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Dr Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG and Lauren Grimm, MA
Dr Roohi Jeelani is Director of Research and Education at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Dr Jeelani earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center, where she was awarded a Women’s Reproductive Health NIH K12 Research Grant. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr Jeelani has authored numerous articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific meetings. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Jeelani is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.
Lauren Grimm is Research Coordinator at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she also completed her masters in Medical Sciences. Lauren has worked alongside Dr. Jeelani for the last 3 years, authoring a number of abstracts and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific conferences. Lauren will be continuing her education this fall at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, IL as an MD candidate.
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