1. Health

How to Get Pregnant for Beginners

A Complete Guide to Trying to Conceive (TTC)

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Updated April 04, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Positive pregnancy test

Taking steps to improve your health and increase your chances for conception may help you get that positive pregnancy test you're dreaming of faster.

Photo (c) Don Farrall / Getty Images

This is a guide on how to get pregnant for beginners. If you've been trying to conceive for more than six months to a year, or you've been diagnosed with infertility, you might prefer to read this article: How to Have a Baby When You've Been Trying for Awhile

Make Sure You're In Good Health

Before you think about getting pregnant, you should do what you can to get healthier. Not only will a healthier you increase the chances of getting pregnant, it'll also increase the possibility of having a healthy pregnancy.

Things you can do to get healthier include:

By the way, getting healthier isn't only for the female partner! Men also should improve their health habits when trying to get pregnant. Plus, when both partners make a commitment to improve their health together, they are more likely to stick with it.

Learn more about improving your health for getting pregnant:

Stop Birth Control and Get Your Annual Exam

You should see your doctor to ask about discontinuing the birth control and for your annual exam. You can ask him how long it'll take for your fertility return (in some cases, it'll be right away, but in others, you may need to wait a couple months.) This one may seem obvious, but it's a key step. Depending on what form of birth control you've been using, this may be easy or involve more planning.

This is also a good time to mention any possible symptoms of infertility you're experiencing to your doctor. Be sure to also tell your doctor what medications you and your partner are currently taking, to find out if any of them could interfere with your fertility or be unsafe to use while trying to conceive.

More on infertility symptoms:

Learn How to Detect Ovulation

To increase the chances of getting pregnant, you'll want to time sex for conception. This means you'll need to have sex before you ovulate. The best days to conceive are the two to three days prior to ovulation, but for good measure, you should also have sex on the day of ovulation and the day after.

How can you know when you're ovulating? There are many different methods for detecting ovulation, some simple and some more complicated. Choose the method that works best for your lifestyle and your body.

Learn about ovulation signs and symptoms:

Have Passionate, Baby Making Sex Often

Aiming for ovulation isn't the only thing you can do to increase your chances for pregnancy. Having sex often, to keep sperm healthy, and using the right lubricants can help as well.

You may have heard that particular intercourse positions or lying on your back after sex can help. That's debatable, but it's still something to consider during baby making sex.

And did you know that having pleasurable sex may increase your chances for conception? Who knew that enjoying sex could actually help you get pregnant!

Learn more about conception sex:

Be Patient

It's normal to hope for a positive pregnancy test the very first month you start trying to conceive. However, in at least one study, just 38% of couples conceived their first month of trying.

Don't get disappointed yet, though. In that same study, 68% were pregnant after three months, and 92% by 12 months of trying. Getting pregnant may not happen as quickly as you'd like, but for most couples, it'll happen in time.

More on coping with trying to conceive:

But Know When to Seek Help

While I hope you won't stress about getting pregnant quickly, I also hope you will seek help if pregnancy doesn't happen after six months (for those 35 and older) or after one year (for those younger than 35.)

An informal survey conducted by Conceive Magazine and Fertility LifeLines found that while 62% of women surveyed had been trying for more than a year, one-third of them had not yet sought help. Especially for women after age 35, delaying treatment can decrease the chance for success. Even for women younger than 35, some causes of infertility worsen with time.

If you're not sure if you want to pursue fertility treatment just yet, you can get tested now and (hopefully) find out what the problem is. Then, you can discuss with your doctor if trying on your own for another year would be okay, or if your chances for successful treatment were rapidly declining.

More about time and seeking help for getting pregnant:

Sign up for a free fertility newsletter or a free e-course, 6 Days to Better Baby Making Sex!

More on how to get pregnant:

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