1. Getting pregnant
  2. Trying to conceive
  3. Sex to get pregnant

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How Often Should you Have Sex to Conceive?

Pregnancy is one of the most challenging times of a woman’s life. When a woman is pregnant, she goes through a multitude of changes — physically, emotionally, and behaviorally, all of which she would endure for the sake of her unborn child. Needless to say, having a baby is one of the best blessings that a woman can receive. But getting pregnant is not so easy for all women out there. In fact, many women have trouble conceiving at all. If you’re trying to get pregnant, this article can let you in on the best ways to conceive. Particularly, we'll try to answer the question: how often should you have sex to get pregnant?

A woman’s age is closely related to her fertility, and thus matters greatly if she wants to have a baby. As a woman gets older, her potential to have children decreases. Trying to get pregnant at 35 years old and below will increase the chances of conceiving and carrying a baby full-term. 

The reason for this is the relationship between a woman’s eggs and her biological age. When a woman is born into the world, she will have all the eggs that she’s ever going to have in her whole lifetime. As she grows up, the number and quality of her eggs decreases.

A woman has six days out of a whole month where chances of getting pregnant are high. Here is a breakdown of your monthly cycle and the corresponding chances of you getting pregnant during each:

  • Menstruation. We will consider your monthly period as the first phase of the monthly cycle. During menstruation, your body sheds the endometrium, which is the inner layer of the uterus. A period can be as short as three days or as long as a week. In this phase of the monthly cycle, progesterone and estrogen are stimulated to rebuild the endometrium. The chances of getting pregnant while you’re on your period are almost zero. You can still have sex with your partner, but don’t expect it to cause a conception. 
  • Pre-ovulation. In this phase of the menstrual cycle, which is the phase after your period, fertility is slowly going back to normal. Most women usually get vaginal discharge during pre-ovulation, which is an indicator that ovulation is going to happen soon. There’s a good chance of getting pregnant if you have sex during this phase. Since sperm can live inside the vagina for up to five days, it can fertilize your egg once it’s released during the next phase of your cycle.

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  • Ovulation. Ovulation is the period where you have the highest chances of getting pregnant. For most women, ovulation usually begins two weeks before your next monthly period. During this phase, vaginal discharge may increase in amount and become akin to egg whites. The basal body temperature may increase slightly — typically less than a 1/2 degree F (0.3 C) — when you ovulate. During ovulation, your chances of getting pregnant are high. If you start to see and feel the symptoms of ovulation, such as vaginal discharge and higher basal body temperature, you can take an ovulation test to confirm. If the test turns positive, you have a high chance of getting pregnant within the next one to three days. 

  • Post-ovulation. After the ovulation phase comes the luteal phase, which is the final lap of your monthly cycle. Usually, this phase lasts 12 to 16 days, depending on your cycle. During the luteal phase, the hormone progesterone rises and the cervical mucus will decrease. Increased progesterone signals the ovaries to stop releasing any more eggs, while decreased cervical mucus will prevent sperm from entering the uterus. During this phase, the chances of getting pregnant are low because the egg has already been released.

As mentioned in the prior section, you can know if you are ovulating if you take an ovulation test. If you don’t want to take an ovulation test, you can detect the best times for conception using the Flo app. Flo is a handy tool that helps predict your next cycle and thus tell you your accurate ovulation dates. 

Nevertheless, you should still watch out for the common signs and symptoms of ovulation. If you start having any of these, it may be the best time to try conceiving. 

  • Increased basal body temperature
  • Clear, stretchy discharge 
  • Mild pain in the pelvic or abdominal area
  • Breast tenderness
  • Changes in libido
  • Light spotting
  • Changes in the cervix

Now that you know the best time of the month to try getting pregnant, you may be asking the question: how often should I have sex to get pregnant?

Well, the answer may vary depending on the source, but experts recommend that having sex once per day can yield a higher chance of getting pregnant. It might make more sense that having sex more often can raise the chances of conceiving, but this is not true. In fact, having sex too frequently may decrease the number and quality of the sperm. 

Flo can tell you the approximate day when you're most fertile, also known as your ovulation period. During your ovulation phase, you should try to have sex at least once a day, and three to four times per week. However, if you already feel your ovulation symptoms coming on, try using an ovulation test to see if you’re already at an optimum point for conception. 

You can also consult a doctor if you want to know the best possible way to conceive, as well as check up on you and your partner’s eggs and sperm health.

You can definitely get pregnant even if you only have sex once, but it will still depend on which phase of the monthly cycle you’re currently in. If you are trying for a baby, having sex once can get you pregnant if you happen to track your ovulation period. However, if you don’t want to get pregnant any time soon, make sure to use protection as you can get pregnant even if you have sex only once.

Pregnancy does not begin right after a couple has sex. On the contrary, it can take up to six days after sex for the sperm to reach the egg. After that, it can take up to six to ten days for the fertilized egg to implant itself into the uterus lining. Pregnancy occurs after this implantation. During this time, pregnancy hormones are released and you may experience light bleeding as well as cramps, also known as implantation bleeding/cramps. The hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) also increases. 

To be sure that you are pregnant, take an early pregnancy test or go to your GP for a checkup. 

Aside from tracking your ovulation dates using the Flo app, here are other things you can do in order to boost fertility:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Before trying to conceive, make sure that you are a healthy weight. Women who are overweight or underweight have more difficulty in trying to get pregnant. Consult with a doctor or registered nutritionist for a weight control plan before trying to get pregnant. 
  • Have a healthy diet. If you plan on getting pregnant, having a balanced diet will increase your chances of conceiving. An unhealthy diet with an imbalanced amount of macro- and micronutrients is known to decrease fertility. Again, you can consult with a registered nutritionist if you need help on developing a healthy eating plan. Make sure you are also well-hydrated. 
  • Stop smoking and drinking. If you are consciously trying to get pregnant, stop smoking and alcohol immediately. 
  • Stay away from stress. High-stress environments can decrease your chances of getting pregnant. Try to relax and avoid stressful environments. 
  • Consult with your ob-gyn. If you have irregular periods or have trouble conceiving, consult with your OB/GYN to figure out how to increase your fertility levels.

Having sex too often is certainly not a bad thing and is quite necessary for couples who want to conceive. However, intercourse that happens too often can cause lower back pain, torn ligaments, pulled muscles, chafing, and other uncomfortable things. If you're trying to conceive, plan out your intercourse at least once a day, but make sure not to overdo it.

“Trying to Get Pregnant.” NHS Choices, NHS, 23 Jan. 2018, www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/getting-pregnant/.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “How to Get Pregnant.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 5 Oct. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/how-to-get-pregnant/art-20047611.

WC;, Chavarro JE;Rich-Edwards JW;Rosner BA;Willett. “Protein Intake and Ovulatory Infertility.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18226626/.

Sharma, Rakesh, et al. “Lifestyle Factors and Reproductive Health: Taking Control of Your Fertility.” Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E, BioMed Central, 16 July 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3717046/.

Lyngsø, Julie, et al. “Association between Coffee or Caffeine Consumption and Fecundity and Fertility: a Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis.” Clinical Epidemiology, Dove Medical Press, 15 Dec. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733907/.

Gaskins, Audrey J, and Jorge E Chavarro. “Diet and Fertility: a Review.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5826784/.

Panth, Neelima, et al. “The Influence of Diet on Fertility and the Implications for Public Health Nutrition in the United States.” Frontiers in Public Health, Frontiers Media S.A., 31 July 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079277/.

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