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If you want to get pregnant faster, you might be interested in knowing when you should have sex, how frequently to have sex, and whether there are factors that can increase or decrease your chances of becoming pregnant each month.

It's important to know that you can get pregnant at any time during your menstrual cycle, even if you are having your period. Chances are slim but not impossible. This is one of the reasons that birth control methods like the "rhythm method" are not very reliable in preventing pregnancy. Look for my post on contraception.

While unprotected sex doesn't lead to pregnancy every time, you can become pregnant even if you have sex just one time. In general, fertility declines with age and as you get older there are multiple factors to consider. If you are having a hard time getting pregnant, there are some things to know that can help you maximize your chances.

You have one week every month when sex is most likely to lead to pregnancy. This is considered your fertile window, and it begins two to three days before you ovulate. The best chance of becoming pregnant is in those days right before ovulation. There are apps that can help track these days for you.

Ovulation and Fertilization:

Ovulation usually occurs around days 12 to 14 of a 28-day cycle, but it varies from woman to woman based on the length of their cycle and can even vary from cycle to cycle. It's possible to have your fertile window as early as days 8 and 9 if you have a shorter cycle, or as late as days 19 and 20 with a longer cycle, for example.

The egg that ovulates is only able to be fertilized for 12 to 24 hours after it's released from the ovary, but with the help of your cervical mucus, sperm can live up to five days in the female reproductive tract. This is why Plan B instructs users to take within 72 hours of unprotected sex if you don't want to get pregnant. Since it can be nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact moment of ovulation, having sex before you ovulate (as opposed to after) can help increase your chances of conception by having sperm ready and waiting for the egg.

Is Day 14 Your Most Fertile Day?:

You may have heard that day 14 of your cycle is when you ovulate. As a result, many women have sex on day 11, 12, and 13, thinking this will give them the best chance at conception. But many women don't ovulate on day 14. Normal ovulation can occur as early as day 10 and as late as day 20. If you have irregular cycles, ovulation can occur even later. No worries, there are apps for that. My cycle was irregular so I used My Days (not an endorsement). Over time an app should learn your patterns and better predict your cycle and ovulation days.

Cervical Mucus:

Research says that the best day for sexual intercourse is the day you notice the most fertile cervical mucus. Fertile cervical mucus is a vaginal discharge that resembles a raw egg white. This kind of discharge is healthy and normal, and it typically appears on the days before ovulation. Once you know what to look for, it's easy to detect.If you have discharge that has a pungent smell or causes itchiness, you may have an infection. You should see your doctor.

Cervical mucus improves sperm motility (movement) and helps them survive. The more sperm that survive and travel to your fallopian tubes, which release your egg, the higher the likelihood of fertilization. Survival of the fittest.

If you're happy to spend time tracking and detecting ovulation, then you can be sure to have sex during your most fertile time.

If sperm counts are healthy, then it's best to have sex every day that you:

* Have fertile cervical mucus

* Have a positive ovulation detecting test

* Have a positive saliva ferning test. This is a home-use test kit to predict ovulation by looking at patterns formed by your saliva. When your estrogen increases near your time of ovulation, your dried saliva may form a fern-shaped pattern.

However, you should still have sex throughout your cycle, just to keep the sperm quality in tip-top shape. You should also aim to provide time to enjoy sex without a baby-making mission attached. Baby on the brain during sex can create undue pressure and be counter productive to the goal.

Dealing With Low Sperm Counts:

If sperm counts are borderline normal or on the lower side, the general recommendation is to have sex every other day during the fertile window. Please see a doctor to confirm the vitality of your sperm.

For example, if on Monday you get your first positive ovulation predictor test result, or you see fertile cervical mucus, you should have sex on Monday, skip Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday, skip Thursday, and once more on Friday. The day in between will help replenish the sperm supply, possibly increasing your chances of pregnancy. That also means avoid masturbation during your replenishing window.

One thing you should pay attention to is the lubricant you use if you use any (which you should). Make sure you choose sperm friendly lube because many regular lubricants can damage sperm.

When you're eager to get pregnant, it's easy to over-complicate things. It's true that you're more likely to conceive quickly if you have sex during your fertile window, but it's also true that if you and your partner are healthy and have sex frequently all month, you're likely to get pregnant eventually.

If you are having regular (many multiple times a month) unprotected sex where he ejaculates into your vagina you don't have to put too much effort into tracking. It can be helpful, enlightening, and even fun to track your cycles, but it can also become stressful. Do what works best for you and your partner. If you don’t get pregnant after trying for one year (or after six months, if you're over 35), see your doctor. There are many options for becoming a parent including fertility treatments and adoption.

Practice makes perfect. Have fun trying.

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