If you want a baby, here are five tips to increase your chance of getting pregnant.
- Know when you ovulate
Pregnancy is only possible if you have sex during the five days before ovulation or on the day of ovulation. This is called the fertile window. Having sex during the fertile window, especially the three days leading up to and including ovulation, gives you the best chance of getting pregnant.
So how do you know when you’re ovulating? It depends on the length of your menstrual cycle. It happens about 14 days before your period starts so if your average cycle is 28 days, day one is the first day of your period and you ovulate around day 14. This means your most fertile days for sex are days 12, 13 and 14.
If your average menstrual cycle is 35 days, ovulation happens around day 21 and your most fertile days for sex are days 19, 20 and 21.
If you have a shorter cycle, say 21 days, ovulation happens around day seven and your most fertile days are days five, six and seven.
Use this ovulation calculator to help you pinpoint your fertile window.
If you have an irregular cycle and can’t work out when you ovulate, having sex every two to three days should improve your chance of getting pregnant.
- See your GP for a preconception health check
See your GP for a preconception check-up to make sure you are as healthy as possible before trying for a baby. Your GP can also check your vaccinations are up to date so you have immunity against infections that could harm a baby. Complete our preconception health checklist and take it to your appointment.
- Eat well and exercise
For women and men, working towards a healthy weight increases the chance of pregnancy. Being in good shape will not only boost your fertility and your general health, it will also give your baby the best start in life.
Carrying extra weight can cause problems with hormone levels, which can affect the menstrual cycle, and the quality of a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm. The good news is that making some changes, like eating healthy food and being physically active, can put you on a pathway to a healthier weight. It can be hard but losing even a few kilos can make a big difference.
- Look after your health
For both women and men, the lead up to pregnancy is just as important as being healthy during pregnancy. You can do this by:
• taking the right dose of folic acid and iodine (for women)
• not smoking
• cutting out alcohol and recreational drugs
• discussing the safety of any medication or complimentary therapies you are taking with your doctor
• limiting your caffeine intake
• avoiding some chemicals commonly found in the home or workplace
• making sure your vaccinations, especially German Measles (Rubella), are up to date.
- Get help if you have trouble getting pregnant
About one in six couples experience fertility problems, so if you’re aged under 35 and haven’t conceived after a year, talk to your GP about it. If you’re 35 or older, visit your GP after six months of trying without success.
Some medical conditions can affect your chance of getting pregnant including:
• polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
If either partner has a medical condition, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s under control before trying for a baby.