Pregnancy is a beautiful journey toward parenthood that starts with conception. So, when the couple decides that they want to conceive a baby and want to know how to get pregnant, they first have to understand how ovulation works and the process of conception. Conception occurs hours or days after you have unprotected sex. The sperm travels through the vagina, fertilizes the egg in the fallopian tube, and the egg gets implanted in the uterus. This process is related to the menstrual cycle of women (1).
During each month's menstrual cycle, which starts on the first day of your period and ends on the first day of your next period, the woman's body prepares and releases an egg for fertilization. So, you can get pregnant at any time if you're having sexual intercourse without contraception. However, there are some days within this cycle that are when you're ovulating, when the odds of getting pregnant are higher. It typically occurs 12-14 days before starting your next period but may vary for reasons like irregular menstrual cycle and hormonal imbalance (2). However, it can be difficult to know when you're ovulating to have sex. You may observe the ovulation signs, such as a change in cervical fluid, basal body temperature, increased libido, and abdominal bloating and cramps. The usage of the ovulation calendar, menstrual cycle tracker, and ovulation predictor kits can help you track ovulation or fertile window more efficiently and, thus, can help you to get pregnant faster (1) (3).
If you're thinking about what are the chances of getting pregnant? Most healthy couples easily succeed in conceiving within one year of trying frequent unprotected sex. However, if you've been trying to get pregnant, but are not succeeding, visit an obstetrician to understand the underlying issue. From infertility issues to advanced maternal age (above 35 years), certain health conditions and drugs, lifestyle factors (smoking and drinking habits), being overweight, timing and frequency of intercourse, and egg and sperm health, are some factors that can affect your chances of getting pregnant (1) (4). Some conditions like low sperm count, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and reproductive system disorders, such as endometriosis and anovulation, need medical assistance. But, there are certain tips to get pregnant that you can follow, including having sex during the ovulation period, maintaining an optimal healthy weight, taking prenatal vitamins infused with folic acid, restricting caffeine intake, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol, avoiding strenuous exercises, and keeping your mind stress-free (3) (5). You must also follow a healthy lifestyle and habits, such as drinking enough water and eating well-balanced and nutritious meals combined with regular exercise (6).
Moreover, if you have been trying to get pregnant, you must also know the early signs of pregnancy. After having sex without contraception, conception occurs as soon as in ten days, but you may not start experiencing any pregnancy signs until four to six weeks of pregnancy. These signs may include morning sickness, increased urine frequency, fatigue, mood swings, food cravings and aversions, headaches, dizziness, and bloating. But, a missed period is the earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy. So, if you've missed a period after having unprotected sex, get a pregnancy test. The at-home pregnancy test kit using the first pee of the morning may detect the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels in the urine. Once you get a positive test result, you should visit an obstetrician for an hCG blood test and ultrasound to learn how far you are in pregnancy and for other important information that will ensure a healthy pregnancy (7).
Whether you're trying to get pregnant quickly, facing any fertility issues, or looking for guidance towards the beginning of your pregnancy journey, this category page on getting pregnant includes several expert-written and fact-checked articles. This category page also includes articles on In-vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), how to get pregnant at 40, and other such topics to ensure you are equipped with every information on getting pregnant. Everyone's journey to becoming pregnant is different and they may face different challenges. So it's important to stay informed and seek professional advice as required.
Whether you’re having unprotected intercourse one time or multiple times, the chances of pregnancy are the same for all. However, your likelihood of getting pregnant increases if you have sex when ovulating (8).
The CDC suggests that if you’re planning for pregnancy, first ensure that it is the right time to be pregnant. You should also consult a doctor for preconception healthcare, start taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid, stop smoking and drinking alcohol, avoid using certain drugs and exposure to toxic contaminants, learn about your family history, and stay active and healthy both mentally and physically (5).
The time when you’re ovulating, that is, 12-14 days before your next period is the most fertile period when your conception chances increase (2).
During your periods, or on one or two days before and after your period, the chances of getting pregnant are the least. However, you can still get pregnant if you ovulate early or have a short menstrual cycle. Therefore, there is no ‘safe time’ to have sex without contraception and not getting any pregnancy chances (2).
The chances of getting pregnant can be affected by the woman’s age (especially after 35 years), health status, weight, and reproductive health. Other factors include lifestyle factors, the partner’s fertility, and timing and frequency of intercourse (4 ) (9).
Not using contraception until you get a semen analysis may result in pregnancy in rare cases.
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