How to increase your chances of getting pregnant

Woman holding app to check period, to help with increasing chances of getting pregnant. (Getty Images)
It's not about putting pressure on yourself to get pregnant, but incorporating things into your daily life that could help. (Getty Images)

With it the start of a new year, and 2 January dubbed 'National Baby-Making Day', now is a great time to start taking steps to boost your chances of getting pregnant, if that's one of your aims for 2024.

While there's no need to put pressure on yourself or be too strict with anything, there are things that can help, and other avenues to consider if you're having trouble.

Here, top experts share their advice on maximising your chances of pregnancy, as well as what to do if you're worried about your fertility or first steps to take if you're trying to conceive as a single person or LGBTQ+.

Increasing your chances of getting pregnant

1. Track ovulation

Ovulation is when an egg is released from one of your ovaries.

"There’s a much shorter window than most people expect during each month when women are able to get pregnant. Once an egg is released during ovulation, there are just 24 hours in which it can be fertilised. Sperm can survive within the fallopian tube – where the egg is released – for up to 7 days, meaning there are a few days either side of ovulation when having sex can lead to conception," Sandy Christiansen, embryologist and fertility coach explains.

"For most women, ovulation will fall somewhere between 12-16 days before their next period. But it’s not an exact science. Getting to know your menstrual cycle and tracking ovulation – using a simple urine test that you can pick up from your local pharmacy – can give you the best chance of harnessing this brief window and maximising your chances of getting pregnant."

For more information on working out when you are ovulating,

2. Don't put too much pressure on having sex

"It goes without saying that the more often you’re having unprotected sex, the more likely you are to get pregnant. But while the quantity of sex you’re having could boost your odds of conceiving, the quality of this time spent together has a huge role to play on your emotional wellbeing," Christiansen points out.

"When you’re actively having sex to try and get pregnant – especially if you’ve been trying for a while – it can start to feel a bit routine or even stressful; your enjoyment of sex may begin to wane. Keep talking to your partner and checking in to see how you are both feeling. Try not to let 'baby-making sex' be all that you do as a couple, make time to just be with each other and have fun."

Man and woman lying on front next to each other.
Remember to still enjoy your partner's company as you would normally. (Getty Images)

3. Get moving

"Just as with any area of our health, exercise can have a positive impact on fertility. You don’t need to go overboard or commit to smashing out intense daily sweat sessions to reap the benefits," says Dr Hannah Allen, NHS GP and medical director at Béa Fertility.

"Consistent, moderate movement is all the exercise you need to help support your fertility."

This might be as simple as introducing a short daily walk, swim or bike ride into your routine, or joining a regular exercise class that you enjoy and are likely to stick to. Make it work for you.

4. Consider making lifestyle changes

"Our lifestyle has such a big effect on our fertility. There are small changes that you can make that could have a huge difference when it comes to your chances of conceiving," Dr Allen adds.

"If you’re a smoker, or you vape, these can negatively impact your fertility. The same goes for alcohol. Cutting down or stopping these can significantly boost your fertility and increase your chances of falling pregnant.

"If you need support with stopping smoking or vaping, or reducing your alcohol intake, speak to your GP, or go online where you can find helpful advice and resources, including the NHS website and Drinkaware."

Wholegrain fusilli with corn, tomatoes and feta cheese
Wholegrains and vegetables could help increase fertility. (Getty Images)

5. Don't neglect nutrition

It's not about restricting yourself or becoming hyper-focused on what you eat, but being mindful.

"Nutrition is important for fertility, but contrary to a lot of popular advice, you don’t have to get super specific or cut out all of your favourite foods. Instead, it’s important to have a diverse, well-balanced diet that supports your general health and makes your body as strong as it can be," advises Tess Cosad, fertility expert and CEO at Béa Fertility.

"There are a few types of food that are especially key to include if you can – such as wholegrains, oily fish, unsaturated fats and above all, an abundance of veg. This goes for men as well as women; diet has a notable impact on sperm quality, as well as egg health and the menstrual cycle.

"You can also take certain supplements to optimise your fertility. While not all the fertility-boosting supplement claims you read will be true, there are a few that have a genuinely key role to play in supporting reproductive health. These include Folic Acid, which can help boost egg quality and ovulation, and Vitamins D and C."

What to do if you're worried about your fertility

"If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while (12 months or more if you’re under 35, or 6 months if you’re 35 or older) and you’re worried about your fertility, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help," says Cosad.

"If you are experiencing a fertility problem, the earlier it’s diagnosed, the more options are likely to be available and the more time you’ll have to explore them. One in six of us will experience infertility, but there are a wealth of different treatments and sources of support available.

"If you’re unsure where to start, speak to your GP or seek out support from a trusted online source like the NHS website, the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, or Béa Fertility’s support guides."

Woman touching another woman's baby bump. (Getty Images)
Whether you are LGBTQ+, or trying to conceive as a single person, there are options. (Getty Images)

How to find out about other fertility options best suited to you

"Fertility treatment options can be more confusing to navigate if you are LGBTQ+ or are trying to conceive as a single person," Cosad acknowledges.

"I'd recommend speaking to a fertility coach, fertility specialist or your GP as early as possible in your fertility journey to help you understand your options. The important thing to remember is that there are options, but depending on where you live and your financial and relationship situation, the costs associated will vary.

"A few of the things to consider might include surrogacy or intrauterine insemination (IUI is a fertility treatment that involves directly inserting sperm into a woman's womb). It's also important to consider the legal implications of using an egg or sperm donor – we have lots of advice on navigating this on our website. And Stonewall also offer lots of great resources for LGBTQ people who are trying to conceive."

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