How to Get Pregnant Naturally
How to conceive naturally at a glance
- In order to conceive naturally, a couple should have sexual intercourse with ejaculation within the vagina around the time of ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary). Timing of ovulation and intercourse is an important aspect to consider when trying to get pregnant naturally.
- Ovulation usually occurs 12-14 days prior to anticipated menses in a woman with regular menstrual cycles. For example, a woman with a 28-days cycle will typically ovulate between cycle days 12-16.
- The fertile window is typically the five days before ovulation.
- Couples trying to get pregnant should try to have intercourse at least every other day during the fertile window.
Understanding how to get pregnant naturally
For many couples, getting pregnant takes patience and a general scientific knowledge of how to get pregnant. In order to create a pregnancy, a man must ejaculate inside a woman’s vagina around the time the ovary will release an egg through ovulation. Ovulation timing is different for every woman and is determined by many factors.
Knowing when a woman ovulates is the most important part of having sex to get pregnant naturally. Women are most fertile during the “fertile window,” which is typically the five days preceding ovulation. Couples who are trying to get pregnant should try to have sex every other day during the fertile window.
Guidelines for timing intercourse
- Having sex two or more times per week increases the woman’s chance of getting pregnant.
- Long periods of abstinence can decrease the quality of a man’s sperm.
- The best time to have sex is during the fertile window, which is typically five days before ovulation.
Once a woman ovulates, pregnancy is less likely to occur.
How to predict ovulation
Ovulation can be tricky to predict, as there are not many noticeable symptoms of ovulation. Couples can use the following methods to better predict a woman’s ovulation.
Menstrual cycle tracking
Many women track their menstrual cycle with a calendar to be able to better predict when ovulation will occur. The menstrual cycle lasts from the first day of menstrual bleeding one month to the first day of menstrual bleeding the next month. The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, however it is not uncommon for some women to have a menstrual cycle lasting 21-36 days. Most women ovulate on days 14-16 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. This is an average, so it is best for women to consider they may ovulate a couple of days sooner or later than these days.
While a classic paper calendar is a great tracking tool, many apps for smart phones can help track the menstrual cycle.
Menstrual cycle timeline (based on an average 28 day cycle)
- Day 1-5: Mild to heavy vaginal bleeding occurs.
- Day 6-14: An egg matures within the ovarian follicle and the endometrium thickens in preparation to receive an embryo.
- Day 15-16: The ovary releases an egg, which can be fertilized at any point if sperm is present.
- Day 17-28: The egg travels for three to five days through the fallopian tube to the uterus. If fertilized, the resulting embryo (a fertilized egg) may implant on the uterine lining and the woman will be pregnant. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining will shed and the cycle will begin again.
Changes in cervical mucus
Around the time of ovulation, a woman’s cervical mucus may change in color and consistency, appearing similar to a raw egg white. Once ovulation has occurred, cervical mucus may become think and cloudy, or disappear entirely. This method has limited accuracy, and interpreting changes in cervical mucus can be difficult.
Basal body temperature (BBT) chart
This is not a very accurate way of monitoring ovulation, as it can be quite unreliable due to temperature fluctuations unrelated to ovulation.
Theoretically, during ovulation a woman’s BBT may slightly increase. In order to predict when ovulation will occur, a woman has to take her BBT as soon as she wakes up in the morning and plot it in a notebook. Most women’s body temperature will rise about half a degree on the day of after ovulation.
After a few months of daily temperature tracking, some women will begin to notice a pattern of when the temperature rises, thus allowing her to predict when ovulation will begin in her menstrual cycle and be prepared to have sex then.
Ovulation prediction kits
Many drug stores sell ovulation predictor kits. These kits test urine for the luteinizing hormone (LH), which rises 12-36 hours before ovulation occurs. Women should begin testing a few days before the date they think they will ovulate.
The largest benefit of the ovulation predictor kits is that a woman does not have to spend months monitoring her cycle in order to accurately predict ovulation. The drawbacks are that these kits don’t work for everyone, particularly for women taking medication for ovulation, and that they are accurate about 80 percent of the time.