When's the best time to have sex to conceive?
The most effective time to have sex is during your fertile window, which can last up to six days every month. These six days are the five days leading up to, and the day of, ovulation, when your body releases an egg.
Your egg will survive for about a day once released. But sperm can survive for up to a week. Hence there is a six-day window for sperm to meet an egg.
You are most likely to conceive if you have sex one or two days before you ovulate. However, it's tricky to pinpoint the exact day or two just before ovulation. So if you don't want your sex life to be ruled by the calendar, your best bet is simply to enjoy sex every two or three days.
If you want to be more precise, though, you will need to work out when you will ovulate. When you'll ovulate in any given cycle depends on:
the length of your menstrual cycle
how regular your periods are
A menstrual cycle can be as short as 22 days or as long as 36 days. On average, a woman gets her period between 12 days and 14 days after she's ovulated.
If you have a 28-day menstrual cycle, you're likely to ovulate around the middle of your cycle. If you have a short cycle, you could ovulate within days of your period ending. A long cycle could mean that you won't ovulate until two weeks after your period has ended.
Nearly half of women have a cycle length that varies by more than seven days. If your menstrual cycle is different from one month to the next, your fertile window may also vary by about a week between each period.
That's why it's best to have sex every two to three days throughout your cycle. It's more effective than focusing your efforts only on the days you think you're about to ovulate. Also, sex every two to three days improves the quality of sperm compared to daily sex.
How do I know when I'm about to ovulate?
You may be very aware of when you ovulate, or you may not notice any changes at all. If you're thinking about getting pregnant, get in touch with your body. Signs that you are approaching ovulation can start around three weeks before you expect your next period. Try looking out for:
Increased vaginal discharge that's wetter, and like stretchy egg white. This is called fertile mucus.
Slight discomfort on one side of your belly (mittelschmerz).
Feeling more sexy.
One of the simplest ways of working out your fertile days is to check your cervical mucus every day. Changes to your mucus are one of the easiest things for you to spot.
To find out more about your fertile window, try our ovulation calculator. And read our article for helpful tips for spotting other signs of ovulation.
Do irregular periods make it harder to get pregnant?
Irregular periods do not necessarily mean that you are less fertile than women with regular periods. However, if your periods are irregular or are more than 36 days apart, it is worth seeing your GP.
Sometimes, irregular cycles are caused by conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or a thyroid disorder. These conditions could affect your chances of conceiving, so it is better to get help sooner rather than later.
The more irregular your periods are, the more difficult it can be to work out when you're fertile. So practise looking for changes in fertile mucus by checking daily. Try to have sex when you notice two or more days of wet, slippery mucus. Or you may find it easier to just have regular sex throughout your cycle.
Best Time To Get Pregnant Faster
The best time to get pregnant fast is to have sex or sexual intercourse once a day every day during the 4-5 days before and on the day of ovulation.
There is no single "best day" or best time to get pregnant and to make love if you want to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Studies have shown repeatedly that you can improve your chances of getting pregnant by:
Have sex every day once if his sperm count is fine
Have sex frequently during your fertile day (four days are better than one day)
Have sex once daily, during the two days prior to the day of ovulation and on the day of ovulation
Calculate the best time to get pregnant and your fertile days HERE
Making love the day after ovulation won't get you pregnant.
To improve your chances of getting pregnant, you need to have sex regularly throughout the menstrual cycle and especially during your fertile days. That requires that you first find out how to calculate your fertile days.
While there is no definitive proof that you always improve your chances of getting pregnant by timing sexual intercourse, it can help if you calculate ovulation and your fertile days by using our fertility calendar, doing BBT fertility charting, and using OPKs, or fertility monitors.
Studies have shown that in women with regular cycles, ovulation can happen on many days of the menstrual cycle and there could be many days not just a single best time to get pregnant. Even in women with a regular cycle, there is a 10% chance of ovulating each day after the menstrual period ends.
Because having sex after ovulation won't get you pregnant, it's generally suggested to have sex regularly two to three times a week, every week. That is your best time to get pregnant to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
In addition, you may still want to make love daily during the four to five "fertile" days prior to and during ovulation (if his sperm count is OK). But if that's all you do, then it won't probably increase your pregnancy chances.