What to Do After Sex When Trying to Conceive

Getting Pregnant: Making Sex the Most Productive

Many women pull out all the stops when it comes time to conceive. There are so many ideas out there about what works best to get pregnant, it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not. It’s not so much what you do after sex that increases your chances of conception, but what you do before.

Healthy Diet

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One of the most important things you can do when you’re trying to conceive is to eat a healthy, well balanced diet. This should include fruits, vegetables, good proteins found in eggs, beans and nuts, whole grains, lean meats and dairy. You should get at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day. This is about three, 8-ounce glasses of skim milk, but you can get the calcium from other sources such as yogurt or cheese.

Zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin E can all increase fertility. It’s also a good idea to get started on a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folic acid helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

Encourage your partner to load up on zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and omega 3s, which are all helpful in sperm production.

In addition to healthy foods, there are some things you should avoid or limit.

  • Caffeine, which reduces calcium absorption
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Processed foods, which can have a negative effect on your health
  • Red meat, high amounts of which can lead to endometriosis
  • Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain

Exercise Routine

A good exercise routine is also important, but don’t go overboard. Too much exercise can lead to problems with ovulation.

Try walking for 30 minutes, five days a week. Include some weight bearing exercises, which increase your muscle strength and help you lose weight easier. Yoga can also help with your posture and balance.

A healthy body mass index or BMI increases your chances of getting pregnant. The healthy range for BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. You can figure out your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703. Then, divide that by your height in inches, squared. For example, a woman who is 5 feet 5 inches and 120 pounds would take 84,360 (120 X 703) divided by 4,225 (65 X 65) to get a BMI of just under 20.

Understanding Ovulation

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Understanding ovulation and knowing when you ovulate is key to conceiving. Ovulation is when the mature egg is released from the ovary. Conception happens within 12 to 24 hours after the egg is released.

The length of each woman’s cycle can vary, but the average is 28 days with ovulation occurring around 14 days before the start of your next cycle. If you don’t have a 28-day cycle, ovulation usually happens four days before or after the midpoint of your cycle.

Learning more about your body can help you figure out when you ovulate. Check your vaginal secretions. Your cervical mucus increases and changes from a creamy color to a clear, white, stretchy mucus just before ovulation.

You can also check your basal body temperature or BBT, which is your body’s temperature at rest. Your temperature stays pretty steady before rising after ovulation. You’re most fertile two to three days before that rise. It’s best to take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. You can pick up a BBT thermometer at your local drugstore.

An over-the-counter ovulation kit can also help you predict ovulation. It tests your urine for a surge in hormones that happens right before you ovulate.

Intercourse Tips

There are a lot of myths about intercourse as far as what helps increase your chances of getting pregnant, but they’re not all true.

No one position is better than others, but sitting or standing during sex may discourage sperm from traveling up toward the egg.

Lying in bed after sex can help the sperm get to their destination, but you don’t have to keep your feet in the air. Your pelvis doesn’t actually move with your feet in the air. So, relax, get some extra snuggles and lie in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after sex.

You may feel like you need to do it every day around ovulation to increase your chance of conceiving, but every other day should be enough. Sex every day could result in immature sperm, so save those little swimmers for when it really counts.

Your fertile phase is also longer than you might expect. Sperm can live inside you for up to five days, so the American Association of Pregnancy recommends focusing your sexual efforts between day seven and day 20 of your cycle.

Pregnancy Statistics

Even if you have a nutritious diet, solid exercise routine, healthy BMI and are able to time intercourse perfectly, you only have a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each month. That means it could take months or more to get pregnant.

If you have tried to conceive for at least 12 months without success, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Generally, a healthy couple should be able to conceive within this time. You’ll likely be referred to a fertility specialist, who will look for fertility issues for you and your partner.