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Fertility health centre

10 top tips for getting pregnant

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

How to maximise your chances of having a baby

Once you've decided you want a baby, the last thing you want to do is wait! It's not an exact science but there are certain things you can do to maximise your chances of getting pregnant.

We've spoken to the experts and come up with some top tips:

1. Have sex - The most important tip!

If you have regular, unprotected sex for a year, about 84% of couples will get pregnant.

The expert advice from NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, is to have sex every two to three days throughout the month. The guidelines say you don't need to time sex to coincide with the days when a woman in ovulating.

Leading fertility expert Zita West agrees: "As the fertile time varies, you can't accurately pinpoint the best time, so just have sex three times a week throughout the month."

"Prioritise sex - make time for it in the proper sense, as in 'make it important and don't just diary it in as another thing to do'," says Emma Cannon, author of The Baby Making Bible.

She says: "Have sex throughout the month and don't rely on ovulation sticks to determine your sex life - they are a real passion killer."

2. Know your cycle

Even though the advice is regular sex throughout the month, it's important to know your cycle.

Going back to basics here, you only get a baby when a sperm meets an egg and that egg only comes usually once a month, around day 14 in your cycle.

The egg only survives for a day or two, so there's only a limited window each month during which you can actually get pregnant. It's probably around six days.

You are likely to have better quality sperm if you have sex regularly, so continue to do so throughout the month, but realise that the most fertile time is around the time of ovulation.

During ovulation some women feel a twinge of pain in one side and cervical mucus may become thin and slippery.

If you have an irregular cycle or feel you need extra help, you can buy ovulation prediction kits to help you find out when you are most fertile.

It can be an obsession with some couples to have to have sex at a certain time and this can put a lot of pressure on couples. However, it can take the fun out of sex and make some men less likely to perform.

Zita West says: "Women have often been on the pill for 10 to 15 years so don't know what their true cycle is, so it's important to familiarise themselves with it."

"Knowing your cycle is really important but there is knowing and then there is obsessing," according to Emma. "So make sure you keep it in balance and try to develop a 'mindfulness' about your cycle rather than a fixed obsession," she advises.

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