sex before pregnancy: the ins and outs of getting pregnant

From storks carrying muslin-wrapped bundles to ovulation sticks and fertility apps, the art of baby-making has come a long way. While you may be well-versed in the literal ins and outs of sex before pregnancy, getting pregnant isn’t always as simple! You may get lucky, and be the envy of other couples, but some families take a little longer to grow.

So, whether you’re decorating your first nursery or hoping to add to the sound of already pattering feet, this blog is for you. There’s a touch of science, advice on improving your chances, some position-perfect truths and maybe even a little romance. From the bedroom to a blooming belly, here’s the inside scoop on sex before pregnancy.

hopeful mum-to-be relaxing in bed

the science of sex before pregnancy

Before you get down to ‘it’, consider getting down to the science. After all, you’re hoping to grow a new little life and that doesn’t happen by magic! In reality, men’s sperm compete to fertilise a mature egg which is released during ovulation. Depending on the length and regularity of a woman’s menstrual cycle, ovulation takes place between 12 and 14 days before her next period starts. When it comes to getting pregnant, that’s your window of opportunity.

For the five days running up to and the day of ovulation, a woman’s fertility is at its highest. This is her body’s equivalent of come-hither eyes! An egg can live for just 24 hours after being released while sperm can survive for up to seven days inside a woman’s body. That means the healthiest swimmers can get a head start and wait for the egg to arrive. This is good news for any couple trying to conceive, especially those without spot-on aim!

improve your chances of getting pregnant

Just as all women are unique, so are their cycles. With varying lengths and regularities, the opportune moment for sex before pregnancy can move. So, all you hopeful mums-to-be, get to know your cycle. Especially if you’ve just come off birth control which impacts your hormones. Whether you chart it on a calendar, use a pregnancy app or try ovulation kits, find the option that works for you to track when you’re fertile. Then, well, you know what to do.

Having said that, sex before pregnancy isn’t all about a schedule. Save that for when the kids arrive! Being intimate as often as the mood takes you can also improve your chances of conceiving. If you’ve had sex in the days running up to ovulation, chances are the keenest sperm will be waiting at the rendezvous point. There may well be some science to conceiving but the romance shouldn’t be forgotten either. Now where are those scented candles…

hopeful mum-to-be exercising in a park

When you’re not getting busy in the bedroom, looking after your health can boost the odds of conception. We all love a lazy day but eating well and staying fit helps get your body in shape for parenthood. Now is also the time to cut back on alcohol and quit smoking as this can lead to fertility problems. Take up a new habit instead, like yoga or swimming, and it’s recommended that you eat lots of folic acid which helps to prevent defects of baby’s spinal cord.

position perfect or pleasurable practice

If you chat to a parent or two about their baby-making journey, chances are you’ll talk positions. Some will praise the missionary for its deeper penetration which gives the sperm a head start. Others may attribute their success to lying down afterwards to keep the semen in for longer. No matter how you do it, there’s no hard and fast evidence that certain sex positions improve your chances of conceiving. Any position will do!

What matters more is that you and your partner enjoy sex before pregnancy. Life with a newborn will look a little different so make the most of your one-to-one time now. Take care of each other, rumble in the sheets regularly and don’t put pressure on yourselves if you don’t immediately get pregnant. After all, practice makes perfect.

If you want another reason to enjoy yourselves, research suggests that orgasming during sex may increase your chances of conceiving! Whether it’s the contractions or the release of certain hormones, the female orgasm could help to retain more sperm. The link isn’t scientifically proven yet but shh, we won’t tell anyone if you don’t!

couple talking about sex before pregnancy

dealing with bumps in the road

After deciding to try for a child, many couples can hardly wait to see the little cross or smiley face on the stick. But it is called trying to get pregnant for a reason and it can take up to a year or more. If your relationship is feeling the strain of bumps in the road, remember that you are not alone. One in every seven couples in the UK experience conception difficulties, but that doesn’t have to put a dampener on what should be a joyous time.

Start by grabbing a cuppa and talking through your concerns together. If you need to, throw the ovulation kits out the fertility window and get back to having sex just for the fun of it! You may find that unwinding and not stressing about dates and ovulation works its magic. If you still have worries about your ability to conceive, take a trip to your doctor. They can provide advice and hopefully, put your mind at rest or discuss other options if needs be.

No matter how it happens, bringing your own bundle into the world is a truly wonderful thing. Sure, you’ll lose out on a little sleep, but all their gurgles of happiness will soon make up for that. So, what are you waiting for? Your antics between the sheets are your little secret but hopefully, you’ll soon have another little secret in the making.


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