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Once you and your partner have agreed to take the plunge, and are going to try to conceive a baby, it is only natural to want to make it happen as quickly as possible.

You can never quite predict during which cycle you get pregnant, but there are many steps you can take to make a speedy conception more likely. What are you doing to boost your chance of getting pregnant quickly? 

Before you start thinking about ovulation...

For many women who are trying to conceive, boosting their odds is all about tracking ovulation. Sure, knowing when you are fertile is very handy indeed. But start at the beginning with your lifestyle and diet. Are you and your partner eating as healthily as you can, given your budget and available time? If the honest answer is "no", trying to conceive offers a fantastic opportunity to fix that. Couples who don't have nutritional deficiencies and are at a healthy weight are more likely to conceive a baby than those who don't take their diet seriously.

I'm sure that I don't need to say that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol isn't good when you're trying to conceive. There's always the chance that you are pregnant when you are trying to conceive, and men's sperm count and quality suffers from drinking and smoking too. Just don't do it. Make sure you exercise regularly, and have a general health checkup before you say goodbye to your contraceptives. Then, take folic acid for three months before you actually start your quest to conceive. Yes, men benefit from this B vitamin too.

Do you really need to know when you ovulate?

Research shows that couples who have sex every day have the best chances of conceiving during any given month this shows that there really isn't any such thing as too much sex. But are you really going to do that? If not, knowing when you are fertile can really help. I personally can't stand the idea of having sex during my period, and if you're the same don't worry it is very unlikely indeed that you are within your fertile window during menstrual flow. If you wait until your period is over and count another seven days, you're likely to have found your fertile spot without knowing for sure when you ovulate.

Ovulation calendars, ovulation predictor kits (these work by detecting a hormone, so they're very reliable), cervical mucus, fertility charting using basal body temperature... all of these methods can give you a helping hand. If you know when you are fertile, you will better be able to plan intercourse in such a way that pregnancy is most likely to occur. Exactly how long does the fertile window last? The day of ovulation itself, and the day before that, are still considered to be most fertile. Still, sperm can survive for as long as seven days (!) within the female reproductive system.

They may have a great advantage if they're already there when the egg is released from the ovaries, actually. So you can say the fertile window starts around seven days before ovulation. It all boils down to having sex as often as possible during the follicular stage (before your ovulation) of the cycle, really especially if you are not able to accurately predict when you are going to ovulate. Having a fair idea of when ovulation may occur can be helpful, but also harmful if it means you are going to limit intercourse to the days on which you believe you could be fertile.

When will it happen?

Sometimes, couples who are really hoping to have a baby soon can get a bit carried away with all the ovulation detecting and looking out for early pregnancy signs. It's great that you're looking forward to parenthood, but relax. Most couples get pregnant within a year of trying, even if they don't obsess over every little detail. So stop fretting about when it will finally happen. That positive pregnancy test will probably appear reasonably soon. In the meantime, enjoy each other and the things couples without kids can do it's been eight years since I was obsessing over early pregnancy signs now, and I haven't seen a real nice restaurant on the inside for a long time. Or a concert. Or a quickie in the living room at lunch. Or a grown-up vacation. Or a stroll along the river at midnight. You can the idea. Babies and kids are fantastic, but they do strip you of the ability to engage in certain activities. Do them now, just to get them out your system :).

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