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Trying to get pregnant has much in common with trying to win the lottery, though your chances of hitting the jackpot are quite a bit higher. How can you give yourself the best chance of conceiving soon?

How often should you have sex?

It should come as no news to you that having sex at the right time of the month is the best way to get pregnant. But, did you know that the number of times you have intercourse in a given month greatly influences your odds of conceiving, especially if you are not planning to track your ovulation? Statistics indicate that:

  • Couples who have sex once a week have a 15 percent chance of achieving pregnancy
  • Those who do the deed every other day have a 33 percent chance of getting pregnant during a cycle
  • And... folks who manage it every single day actually have a 37 percent chance of conceiving!

This would, obviously, not be of any help to those people struggling with fertility problems, and there are a myriad of lifestyle choices that will also affect a couple's odds of conceiving. We will tackle that in a minute. For now, I'd like to remind you that there is a zero percent chance of conceiving after ovulation, so those sessions you have during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle are not going to be very productive. That would bring us to the second point which is...

Track your ovulation

If you are not going to be a sex-every-day couple, knowing when you are fertile is going to help enormously. The fertile window lasts five to six days (or even seven, according to some studies) because sperm has a longer life than you may have thought and can thus stick around for quite a while. Any intercourse you have in the week or so leading up to ovulation can potentially get you pregnant. How do you know when you ovulate, and how can you predict ovulation in advance? Here at Trying To Conceive, we've just about beaten that topic to death. You could start off by doing a search articles on the various ovulation-tracking methods, or you may like to sign up for our ovulation calendar. The fertility-tracking methods you will want to know about are:

  • Ovulation predictor kits
  • An ovulation calendar
  • Charting basal body temperature
  • Saliva ovulation tests
  • Cervical mucus

Before you start trying to conceive

Before you start the incredible adventure of trying to conceive a baby, you will want to make sure that you are in the best possible health. Making sane lifestyle choices, ensuring any medical conditions you have are managed well, and being in the best shape you can all set you up for a healthier pregnancy. These choices also in fact increase your chances of getting pregnant in the first place. How can you make sure that you are the best you possible before you get pregnant or get your partner pregnant? Most preconception advice involves little more than common sense, but some important things are less well known. So, before you get pregnant:

  • Try to achieve or maintain a healthy BMI/Body Mass Index.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Despite a healthy diet, still make sure you take folic acid supplements. Yes, men too! When mom has taken folic acid supplements for three months before getting pregnant, she reduces the risk that her baby will have neural tube defects greatly. In both sexes, folic acid increases fertility.
  • See a doctor for a preconception checkup, especially if you have a known medical condition. Get booster vaccines where applicable.
  • Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Quit drinking or smoking if you do those. Yes, men too.

And finally...

Finally, make sure that both you and your other half feel great about trying to conceive, and about each other. Trying for a baby can turn into a stressful event for both partners especially if you feel you are under pressure to either get pregnant, or get your partner pregnant. Feeling relaxed and happy probably does not increase your chances of conceiving. It does increase your chances of keeping your family intact :). So, make sure you keep all channels of communication open. Enjoy your partner. Enjoy each other's company, conversation, and make sure you make the time to enjoy sex too. Sex should still be fun, even now that you have ulterior motives!

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