How to get pregnant fast: Tips to help you conceive

If you're ready to conceive, there are a few steps you can take to optimize your chances of getting pregnant faster.

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Are there things I can do to get pregnant faster?

There are some steps you can take that help give you the best chance of conceiving, but keep in mind: The amount of time it takes to get pregnant differs from person to person. Some people conceive quickly, while others can try for years with little success.

Before trying for a baby, it's a good idea to prepare. Here are some ways to get started:

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  • Schedule a preconception checkup with a doctor or midwife.
  • Kick unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking cigarettes or marijuana, or using illicit drugs.
  • Maintain or work towards a healthy weight.
  • Take at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily at least one month before you start trying to conceive. This nutrient can dramatically reduce the risk of certain birth defects.

Once you're ready to begin, these tips may boost your chances of getting pregnant fast:

Figure out when you ovulate.

Understanding when you ovulate, or release an egg from your ovary, may be key to getting pregnant faster.

You ovulate only once each menstrual cycle – usually, about two weeks before your period starts. If you can tell when you'll ovulate, you have a better chance of conceiving during that cycle.

You can use a few different methods to determine when you ovulate. Here are the three reliable ways to predict ovulation:

  1. If your cycle is regular, meaning it's about the same number of days each time, try our ovulation calculator to tell when you're most fertile each month.
  2. Use an ovulation predictor kit to test your hormone levels in the middle of your cycle – it will indicate when you're about to ovulate.
  3. Track ovulation symptoms, such as changes in your basal body temperature and cervical mucus, to find the ideal time to try for a baby.

Pinpointing ovulation could be difficult if your periods are irregular. In this case, ask your provider for advice.

Have sex during your fertile window.

The "fertile window" is the 3 to 5 five days before you ovulate, plus the day you actually release an egg. Once you know your window for ovulation, plan to have sex during this time frame.

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If you're not sure when you'll be most fertile, aim to have sex every other day during the middle two weeks of your cycle. For example, if your whole menstrual cycle lasts four weeks (from the start of one period to the start of the next) have sex often during the second and third week. That way, you're likely to have healthy sperm in your fallopian tubes whenever your body releases an egg. 

Another tip: If you and your partner are trying to time sex to ovulation, make sure you haven't gone through too long of a dry spell beforehand. Your partner should ejaculate at least once in the days just before you're most fertile to make sure there's plenty of healthy sperm in his semen. 

Take our quiz to test your knowledge about timing sex for conception!

Help ensure healthy sperm.

Strong, healthy sperm have the best chance of fertilizing an egg. Male partners can do several things to try to optimize their fertility, like:

  • Avoid tobacco and recreational drugs, including marijuana.
  • If you don't drink alcohol, don't start. If you do, limit drinks to no more than two each day.
  • Maintain or work towards a healthy weight.
  • Get enough of certain key nutrients – like zinc, folic acid, and vitamin C – that help produce strong and plentiful sperm.
  • Eat a healthy diet, get regular physical activity, and find techniques to get a handle on stress.
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The sooner your partner makes these changes, the better: Sperm take a while to mature, so any improvements now will yield better sperm in about three months.

Note: Many vaginal lubricants can slow down sperm. This includes store-bought products as well as homemade versions, like olive oil. If you're having trouble conceiving and want to use a lubricant, ask your provider to recommend one that won't affect fertility.

What are the best sex positions for getting pregnant?

There's no evidence that any particular sexual position is more likely to lead to conception. You may have heard that some positions, such as missionary (man on top), are more promising than others because sperm is deposited closest to the cervix. But no scientific studies back this up.

And although you may have heard laying still after sex helps speed pregnancy up, there's not any evidence to back this up either. As ovulation approaches, you may notice sticky vaginal discharge called cervical mucus. This type of mucus 'traps' sperm, so even if some semen seeps out, most stay alive in your body. And with millions of sperm in every ejaculation, plenty of them should be making their way toward the egg, even if you get up right away.

How long does it normally take to get pregnant?

No one can say exactly how long it will take to become pregnant, since so many factors come into play. Some people may conceive immediately, while others may need fertility treatments. In general, it may take more time if you're older, have lifestyle habits that can affect fertility (like smoking), or have a health condition that impairs fertility.

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Of all people trying to conceive – meaning they aren't using contraception – it's estimated that about 85 percent will become pregnant within the first year. By two years, it's over 90 percent.

Maternal age plays a big role in the speed of conception. The older you are, the longer it may take you to become pregnant. This is largely because egg quality declines over time – especially after age 35. (You were born with all the eggs you'll ever have, and they age as you do.) As years pass, fewer eggs are able to join with sperm to grow into a healthy embryo.

Male fertility also dips with age. Though some men can father children into their 60s, 70s, and even their 80s, sperm quality generally starts deteriorating in middle age, with a pronounced drop around age 50.

People have the greatest statistical odds of conceiving naturally during their 20s. Most women in their 30s have no issues, either. At age 30, a healthy person has about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month. By the time you're 40, that likelihood drops to around 5 to 10 percent. By age 45, very few people get pregnant without the help of a specialist.

When should I see a fertility specialist about getting pregnant?

The timing depends largely on your age and overall health.

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  • If you're younger than 35 and haven't gotten pregnant after trying for a year, you may want to see a fertility specialist.
  • If you're between the ages of 35 and 40, talk to a specialist after you've tried for six months with no luck.
  • People who are older than 40 should speak with an OBGYN as soon as they decide they would like to conceive.

If you or your partner have a known health issue that could lead to a fertility problem, you may want to see a specialist even before you start trying.

Follow your baby's amazing development

BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

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Kristen Sturt
Kristen Sturt is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and wellness. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two boys. Her interests include cooking, vegetable gardening, travel, and Season 2, Episode 5 of Ted Lasso.