How to Get Pregnant
Increasing your chance of getting pregnant
Find out how to boost your chances of getting pregnant and start your journey to parenthood. From calculating your pregnancy window to improving your health, diet and lifestyle.
There are two important ways you can improve your chances of falling pregnant naturally:
- Calculate your pregnancy window and have intercourse one or two days before ovulation. Regular intercourse, two to three times a week, will boost your chances further.
- Improve your health, diet and lifestyle – for both partners. Your doctor might recommend a few lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol, quitting smoking and cutting back on caffeine.
How to move from contraception to conception
- Planning for pregnancy & healthy lifestyle
You both need to think about your lifestyle and health before you start trying for a baby. Here are some important tips:
Physical preparation, pre-conception health check-up and what to avoid
- Maintain a healthy weight - you can check your BMI here to ensure you’re in the healthy range
- Stop smoking and recreational drug use
- Exercise regularly to improve overall cardiovascular health. Women should also take folic acid and multivitamins daily for overall health
- Review current medications and any implications for pregnancy with your GP
- Visit the GP for antenatal blood tests, including checks for rubella and chickenpox status, blood group and antibodies, Rh factor, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, full blood count
- Keep your cervical screening test up to date.
Diet and conception
- Make sure you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Enjoy alcohol only in moderation
- Avoid excess fructose in your diet
- Consider taking pre-pregnancy vitamins (such as folic acid)
A healthy lifestyle is recommended if you're trying to get pregnant. Understand the impact of smoking, drinking and weight
- How to get pregnant quickly
Timing and conception
- To conceive, use your diary or menstrual app to Calculate your pregnancy window and aim intercourse for the interval just before ovulation.
- Remember that you ovulate exactly 14 days before your next period is due.
- To conceive, regular intercourse, two to three times a week in that interval, will boost your chances further - it is better for a male to regularly ejaculate.
- Sperm needs to be inside the female before she ovulates to increase the chance of a pregnancy.
- Do NOT do detailed urine testing or temperature charting. It doesn’t speed up conception and will drive you both slowly mad.
What if I have irregular periods?
It can be normal to have varying length of menstrual cycles, for example, one month it might be 29 days, the next month might be 31 days, and the next 26. Menstrual cycles outside of the normal range would be considered cycles shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days.
Irregular menstrual cycles may also be a sign of irregular ovulation. Consult the advice of your GP if your cycle is outside of the normal range.
When is the best time to come off birth control to conceive?
- The sooner the better as it may take some time for your body to revert back to its natural cycle.
- We suggest you wait one natural cycle after stopping birth control before trying to conceive as this will give you a good idea of the length of your menstrual cycle, the likely day of ovulation and therefore the most fertile days in your cycle.
- The reality is you can start trying straight away.
Don’t worry if you have been using oral contraceptive pills, IUDs or implants, even for a long period of time - this will not cause infertility.
If your periods are irregular once you stop using contraception you should consult your GP.
Maintain a healthy BMI
- Woman's age, fertility and conception
The number one factor affecting a couple’s chances of conceiving is the woman’s age. Women are born with a finite number of eggs and over time they decrease in both quantity and quality as women age. This impacts her chance of conceiving both naturally and with IVF or other fertility treatments, especially once you are over 35.
Once you turn 36, your chance of conceiving naturally is half compared to your chance at 20 years of age.
You might want to consider an Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) test to get some insight into the remaining quantity of eggs and number of fertile years you may have left.
We recommend seeking professional advice after six months of trying, and it’s more important that you do so if you are over 35 years.
- When am I most fertile and what's the best time to have sex?
The most fertile days in your cycle are the days leading up to ovulation before the egg is released from the ovary; this is also referred to as your fertile window. We recommend you have regular sex every two days throughout the fertile window to give you the best chance of conception. If you wait until after a woman ovulates you will likely have missed the opportunity for conception.
- About conception and pregnancy
Conception is the moment of fertilisation, when the sperm meets and penetrates the egg.
During natural conception, sperm moves through the male genital tract and is ejaculated into the female genital tract, usually near the cervix of the uterus during sexual intercourse. The sperm and eggs need to then meet somewhere in the fallopian tube. Once the sperm has penetrated the egg, fertilisation occurs and an embryo is created.
Over the next four to six days the embryo moves down the fallopian tube to the uterus, and implants in the lining of the uterus where it will hopefully continue to grow.
This is a complicated sequence of events, because all the following need to be in place for the process to occur:
- Regular egg production by the ovaries (ovulation)
- Healthy sperm, with the ability to swim (motility) and the correct shape (morphology)
- Unblocked and healthy fallopian tubes and uterus
What are the first signs of pregnancy?
Some women experience symptoms early on in their pregnancy, while others may not have any symptoms at all. Symptoms experienced can include missed period, swollen or tender breasts, nausea, feeling tired or run down, bloating and constipation, or urinating more often than usual.
The only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test, either at home, or at your doctor’s office.
- What's involved in a fertility consultation?
A conversation with a fertility specialist can help you understand your overall reproductive health. They will organise a few simple tests to identify any factors that could be affecting your fertility.
For women these usually involve blood tests and an ultrasound and for men a semen analysis.
- Treatments to help you fall pregnant
Our fertility specialists can offer a range of solutions and create an individualised treatment plan that maximises your chance of having a baby, your way.
Many people can be assisted with simple fertility treatments to help them fall pregnant such as
- Ovulation tracking – blood tests to help confirm ovulation and optimise timing of intercourse for conception
- Ovulation induction – medications to encourage your ovaries to produce eggs
- Intrauterine insemination – prepare semen inserted into the womb close to the time of ovulation
In more complex cases the specialist may recommend
- IVF – After a course of ovarian stimulation, eggs are collected from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. One of the resulting embryos is then transferred back into the uterus.
If you are single or in a same sex relationship we can assist you with
Your fertility specialist will discuss with you all your options and your likelihood of success, to help you make an informed decision about which treatment is right for you.