Having spent over two years trying to get pregnant, I spent a lot of time doing research and am sharing what I found out.
How Can I Get Pregnant - Tips on Trying To Conceive (TTC)
Although it may sound like such a simple thing to do, every day many millions of people wonder 'How can I get pregnant?' In the time that I have been trying to get pregnant (and succeeding) I feel like I have learnt so much information about trying to have a baby and the best way to go about it, that I wanted to share some of this information on how to get pregnant with others that may be struggling or wondering what the best way to do it is.
Check out some of the information below with some hints and tip on how to get pregnant, timing of intercourse, supplements you can take etc - hopefully some of this can help you.
It is advised that if you have been trying for a year if you are under 35, or six months if you are over 35, and have not been able to get pregnant in that time then you should go and get checked out by your doctor to make sure both of you are in 'full working order' as there are lots of options that can be explored if anything is wrong.
However long you have been trying to conceive I wish you luck and a BFP on the pregnancy test soon.
How Can I Get Pregnant? - The Basics
So, the basics are that you need to have unprotected sex at the right time in your cycle. The right time is when you are ovulating, a few days before that or at most a day after that. You normally ovulate approximately 14 days before your period starts. However, it can be less than this (10 days or even 8 at a push) but not often much more.
So, if your cycle is 28 days then there is a chance you might ovulate on day 14. If your cycle is 31 days then you might ovulate on day 17. These rules are not hard and fast though but this does give you one thing to look out for. Many people think that they ovulate on day 14 but this is not necessarily the case and if you think this you may miss your window of opportunity. For example I have a cycle of 26 days and I generally ovulate on day 11 so if I did not have sex until day 12 or later I would be too late.
So, if you are just starting out wanting to get pregnant then one of the easiest ways to make sure you are in with a chance is to have intercourse every other day starting from say day 8 (unless your cycles are really long then this might be a bit tough!). So if you have unprotected sex on days 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 of your cycle, then as long as your cycle is not any longer than 30 days you should be OK. If your cycle is more than 28 days then you may want to change it up to days 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20.
Obviously if you know when you are ovulating then this will help matters more so that you can get the timing right.
Ovulation Predictor Kits
How Can I Get Pregnant? - More Details
So now you know that the best time to conceive is when you ovulate or in the few days before then. Because sperm can live in the uterus for up to 3 days (and I have heard longer but I will stick to this number of days as it seems to be a consensus) it can hang around and wait for the egg to arrive. So the point is that you need to know when you are ovulating. Now this will depend on the length of your cycle as much as anything and if you are trying to get pregnant then it is a good idea to keep a note of how long your cycles are and if they are of a similar length. As discussed before, ovulation often happens approximately 14 days before the end of the cycle but it can be a few days either side, or actually vary quite a bit in the case of some women.
For more information check out my detailed article on 'when will I ovulate?'
When trying to conceive there are a few ways that you can try to figure out when you are ovulating. These methods are based on two things - the fact that the body has a temperature dip when ovulation occurs and the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) to stimulate ovulation.
There are ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) available that will help you predict when you will ovulate. There are a variety of OPKs available on the market with a huge range of prices. The cheap way to start off with is to get ovulation test strips which will come up with two lines when the LH level is rising. Once you get a positive on these tests, it is likely that you will ovulate between 12 and 36 hours later. There are other more sophisticated predictors with the most well known and popular being the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor - this can be quite pricey but you may be able to get a second hand one on eBay at a good price.
Trying to Conceive - Pro Fertility Lubricant
Cervical Mucus (CM) is what helps the sperm swim up through the cervix so it is important that you have sufficient CM to enhance the mobility of the sperm. However, if you are lacking in the fertile CM (or egg white cervical mucus - EWCM), then you could use a sperm-friendly lubricant to help you.
Take note: If you use a standard lubricant during sex when you are actually trying to conceive then you may actually not be helping yourself - most standard lubricants will actually hinder the mobility of sperm (and this includes things like baby oil and also saliva).
However, there are some specialist lubricants available that will actually give sperm more mobility and are created to help conception. Some lubricants, like Pre Seed, require you to squirt an amount of lubricant inside the vagina before sex whilst others you can just use as you would a standard lubricant.
Use these around your fertile time when trying to conceive and that is another positive to help you.
Instead Soft Cups
Trying to Conceive - Soft Cups
Well this is one thing that I had really not heard of before but some people seem to swear by them.
These soft cups are actually designed as an alternative to sanitary towels or tampons but seem to have found another use with women who are trying to conceive.
You basically insert one after sex and leave it in for up to 12 hours. The idea is that it is meant to keep the sperm in the required area for longer and hence give a better chance of conception.
These can also be used for artificial insemination if you are using that method to try and get pregnant, or you can deposit the sperm in the cup and put that it if sex is not an option for whatever reason.
Evening Primrose Oil
Trying to Conceive - Evening Primrose Oil
When trying to conceive, one of the important factors is that the woman has a good amount of fertile cervical mucus. This can help to nurture the egg whilst it is waiting for the sperm to arrive and provides a non hostile environment for conception.
One thing that has been shown to help in the production of fertile cervical mucus is Evening Primrose Oil. If this is taken in the first part of the cycle (from day 1 until ovulation) then it may be a benefit when trying to conceive. Make sure you don't take it after ovulation though as it can cause uterine cramps which would obviously not be good if you had actually got pregnant on that cycle.
Maca Root on Amazon
Maca root is a natural herb from a plant that is grown in the Andes and it has been used for centuries to enhance strength and also help with fertility issues.
Maca root is available in powder, liquid and capsule form and the majority of the time it is used by men to give a higher level of sexual performance. Often when couples try and 'catch the egg' around ovulation time, it can be difficult to keep up with all the sex that you may be demanding of them, and maca root supplements may help with this as it is sometimes known as the natural viagra (although this has never been proved).
However, maca is also supposed to help women by improving the quality of their eggs. This is another unproven fact but there is anecdotal evidence from women that says taking maca has helped them to conceive.
Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen
This combination is also another natural product that is supposed to enhance the quality of a woman's eggs. You need to take a spoonful a day of the mixture (it is sold often by local honey producers) and is often mixed in with honey although you can get the bee pollen separately (although this is supposed to not taste too good).
The core of the pineapple contains bromelain which is an enzyme that is supposed to help with embryo implantation (therefore you should take it after ovulation). It is only the core of the pineapple that you should eat as unfortunately the actual fruit and the juice is supposed to do the opposite!
The recommendation is to eat 1/5 of a pineapple core every day from 1 to 5 dpo.
Melatonin for Better Egg Quality?
So I recently read about a study that showed the benefits of taking melatonin. This is a substance that is usually produced naturally in the brain that you can buy as a supplement. It is usually used to help you to sleep better. However, in this study, melatonin was given to IVF patients who had previously had a failed IVF cycle. There was also another group of similar patients who were not given melatonin.
From the women who were given melatonin, 50% of their eggs were able to be fertilised whereas only 22.8% of the eggs of the other patients could be. The study was to see if taking melatonin would improve egg quality and it seems that that could be the case. Unfortunately from the study I cannot see how often the melatonin was taken.
You can check out another post on how melatonin can help here.
Melatonin is available from Amazon in 3mg capsules so it is easy enough to get hold of.
Clomid or Soy Isoflavones
If you are having trouble in actually getting your body to ovulate (you may be able to see this if you are charting your temperatures as you will tend not to see a two phase cycle where your temperatures are higher in the 2nd phase) then there are things that your doctor can do to help with that. The most frequent treatment for an anovulatory cycle is to prescribe clomid which is a drug that is taken early on in the cycle for 5 days in a prescribed dose. This can induce ovulation in a lot of women thus giving you a chance to get pregnant.
Another alternative to clomid is to take soy isoflavones, these are available in many health food stores and are usually in the women's health/menopause section. Again with these you should take them for 5 days in the early part of your cycle, anything from days 2-6 to 5-9. Taking them earlier will produce more eggs and later a larger, better quality egg. With soy the dose is often lower for the first 3 days and then higher for the last 2. I took a dose of approx 120mg on the first 3 days and 160mg on the last 2 but some ladies take a higher dose up to 160/200mg. It is advisable to speak to your doctor about anything you take and you shouldn't take soy with clomid.
Australian She Oak Essence
She Oak is something that I have read lots of good things about recently. It is essentially a flower essence that is made mostly in Australia from bush flowers. The key to these essences is that they promote mental and emotional well-being. She Oak is said to help women who have, in particular, unexplained infertility. It is said to help open the mind to pregnancy and conception rather than having a medicinal purpose.
If this is something that you think might help you (and there are women who say it has) then you could give it a try. It is also said to help regulate a woman's cycle so that could be an added benefit.
The recommended She Oak dose is 7 drops a day at morning and at night. It can be quite difficult to get hold of outside Australia but I have found one supplier on Amazon who sells She Oak essence and the details are shown on the right.
Trying to Conceive - Other Info
So I am trying a few of these things as well as another recommendation which was to put your legs up high for about 15 minutes after sex so that gravity can do it's thing! This seems like a simple but logical thing to do and may well help the sperm to get where you need them to go. As well as this you can get your partner to take some multivitamins including folic acid (yes, he needs to take that too) which will increase the quality of his sperm.
When to Test
So the fact is that if you have unprotected sex at any time in your cycle when you might have been ovulating, then there is a chance that you could be pregnant. You may have symptoms that make you think you are pregnant but these might just be similar to symptoms of your period about to start so don't take too much notice of symptoms. Likewise you could have no symptoms and still be pregnant.
If you are trying to get pregnant and you think you might be pregnant then you may be wondering when you can first test. Check out another of my articles 'When Can I Take a Pregnancy Test' for more info on this.
Aqsa Faisal from Pakistan on July 13, 2018:
meelah on September 10, 2013:
thanks a lot Butterfly :) I m thinking to get one but I m on cd 15 right now. I think it is better to wait until AF if I am not pregnant, so I m gonna start on the first day of my period. I can share my experience if anyone interested...
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on September 10, 2013:
I think the she oak comes with instructions. I believe you take 7 drops under the tongue and I have heard of people taking it 4 weeeks on and 2 weeks off.
meelah on September 10, 2013:
Is there anybody to know anything about She Oak? Is it possible to take it after ovulation? I mean do I need to...and also do I need to take it with water or direct under tongue?
lmlogan on August 22, 2012:
Thanks so much for your response, Butterfly 67. I just wanted to post an update for anyone who might be interested. I had an appointment the other day with a very well known fertility specialist. He said that in his experience women who take melatonin still ovulate, so as long as your period is regular, it is ok to continue to take melatonin pre-conception. However, in the US, melatonin is considered a category C drug, which means you should not take it during pregnancy if at all possible. He highly recommended discontinuing once pregnant. As an alternative, ambien is a category A, so that is a drug that is ok to take during pregnancy. I just wish it worked as well for me as melatonin.
I also found this article on the web that I thought was helpful. I'll post the link in case anyone else is interested.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on August 20, 2012:
Hi Doris, the most common date is 15 days before the date of your period so for you it would have been June 29th but not everyone is the same so you could have ovulated in the few days after that. It is beat to check by using ovulation tests.
Doris on August 20, 2012:
My period starts on June 13 and on July it starts on 14 please when is likely my ovulation period
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on August 12, 2012:
Hi lmlogan, I have heard some mixed comments about melatonin but the only actual medical study I have seen is the one that is linked to that is pro melatonin (yes for IVF in this study). There do seem to be a lot of REs and OBGYNs that recommend it particularly for older women to increase egg quality. I know of one person who took it, got a BFP naturally shortly afterwards and went on to have a healthy baby just recently. I took it myself and it never affected my cycles as I always still seemed to ovulate. I guess maybe the best thing is to ask any doc you are under what they recommend for your own situation.
lmlogan on August 12, 2012:
I'm shocked to see what you mentioned about Melatonin. I have struggled with insomnia since I was in high school and began taking melatonin and valerian several years ago. I finally get regular nights of good sleep. However, I am now TTC and everything I have read on the internet about melatonin says that it can inhibit ovulation and to stop taking it immediately. I wonder if the research you read is specifically for people who are doing IVF. Can you provide any more information you have? Thanks!
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 25, 2012:
Thanks heartilly - I wish you the best of luck and hope you manage to get pregnant soon. the good thing is you have plenty of time on your side :-) x
Heartilly on July 25, 2012:
Two thumbs up for your hubs, from now on i'll be one of your followers, I'm 32 years old and having a hard time trying to conceive, I'm looking forward to read new articles from you.
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on July 23, 2012:
Hi zainab, you would probably want to check out with your doctor why your periods are not regular as there may be a reason for it and it may be something they can help you with. Your doctor will also be able to advise whether clomid is recommended for you. Good luck.
zainab on July 23, 2012:
Thanks u very much, but my problem is am irregulars period and I want to get pregnant so how can I make it work? Can I take clomid even my period is not regular?
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 30, 2012:
Thanks fh, I actually got the melatonin online from the us when I was living abroad for a bit. Will let you know how I get on, thanks.
fertilityhelper on May 30, 2012:
Butterfly67, I just up-voted your hub. Please keep me up to date on what happens with the Melatonin. That is shocking that it is a prescription in the UK! I never imagined. It's good you found somebody to prescribe it to you, though. Good Luck to you and I am hoping this is what works for you!! :)
Nkechikalu on May 30, 2012:
Thanks for educating me
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 29, 2012:
Hi fertlityhelper, yes I was quite surprised too that melatonin had been used in a clinical study. It is really interesting to know if there could be a correlation. I am taking it myself now to see if it helps me to conceive although you can only get it on prescription in the uk which is a shame.
fertilityhelper on May 28, 2012:
Hello. I am always reading information about TTC and trying to find new information. It is rare that I happen upon a tip that I have not already heard of. Imagine my shock when I read on this hub that, of all things, Melatonin increased the conception rate of IVF patients! What a dramatic increase it produced. This is just music to my ears!! Melatonin is such a safe and effective product for sleep. Since I have always had a problem with sleeping at night and also a history of Infertility, now I must wonder if there is some type of correlation between these two events, and if Melatonin could be the saving factor for people like me, with a sleeping disorder and Infertility. Thank you so much for this Information. I will be certain to pass it on! :)
Jackie Grant (author) from UK on May 18, 2011:
Sun-Girl from Nigeria on May 18, 2011:
Interesting and very useful hub which i enjoyed a lot.