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How Often Should You Have Sex to Get Pregnant?

The Ready-Aim-Fire Method and Spread-the-Wealth Method


Updated May 16, 2014

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

Couple sitting up in bed together

Frequent sex throughout the month will help you get pregnant faster.

Brand New Images / Iconica / Getty Images

Timing sex to get pregnant is the focus of most couples who are trying to conceive. If you don't have sex during your fertile window, you can't get pregnant.

Assuming you know when you can get pregnant -- in other words, when you are ovulating -- how often should you have sex?

Sex Every Day? Seriously Not Necessary!

Some couples, when they want to get pregnant, will pull out all the stops and try to have sex every day in their cycle. They just don't want to take a chance of missing ovulation.

While this works for some couples, if it takes you longer than a month or two to get pregnant, this sex regimen can get you tired of sex awfully fast. Plus, it's really not necessary.

As I see it, there are two methods for timing sex for pregnancy: there's the "spread the wealth" method and the "ready, aim, fire" method. (These are not scientific terms, by the way.)

How often you should have sex depends on which method you prefer to use and also whether or not there are any male factor infertility issues, such as sperm count problems.

I'll explain below.

Spread the Wealth Method of Timing Sex for Pregnancy

Trying to detect and track ovulation can be stressful for many women. Some women just can't cope with checking their temperature every morning, peeing on ovulation detection strips, examining their spit for ferning patterns or checking their cervical mucus for fertile signs.

While some women feel empowered by tracking ovulation, others just feel anxious and overwhelmed by it all.

For the overwhelmed women, the spread the wealth method is probably best. Instead of timing sex for ovulation, you should have sex frequently every week. You're bound to have sex at least once during your fertile window with this method.

If this sounds like the plan for you, you should aim to have sex at least three to four times a week, throughout your cycle. That's about every other day or so.

The Ready, Aim, Fire Method of Timing Sex for Pregnancy

If you're in to detecting ovulation and you'd like to focus your sexual efforts on your most fertile time, the ready, aim, fire method is for you.

However, you should still have sex throughout your cycle, just to keep the sperm quality in tip-top shape, and, of course, to provide time to enjoy sex without a baby-making mission attached.

If sperm counts are normal or healthy, as far as you are aware, then it's best to have sex every day you have fertile cervical mucus, a positive ovulation detecting test or a positive saliva ferning test.

If you know when you ovulate, due to BBT charting, then you'd want to have sex for the three days before you expect to ovulate and possibly on the day you expect to ovulate too. (If you want to go for bonus points, you may even have sex on the day after ovulation.)

What to Do If Sperm Counts Are Borderline or Low

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.

So, if on Monday you get your first positive ovulation predictor test result, or you see fertile cervical mucus, you'd have sex on Monday, skip Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday, skip Thursday and once more on Friday (for good measure).

The idea is that a day in between will help replenish the sperm supply, possibly increasing your chances. 

Whatever you do, don't have sex twice a day. This goes for men with normal sperm counts, too. It may seem that more sex would equal a better chance for pregnancy, but actually, having sex too frequently may decrease the number of healthy sperm.

Think you're a baby making sex wiz? Take this conception sex quiz!

More on getting pregnant:

Would you like to receive trying to conceive tips and fertility information every week? Sign up for a free fertility newsletter here, or sign up for a free online health course, 6 Days to Better Baby Making Sex.


Ovulation Frequently Asked Questions. American Pregnancy Association. Accessed September 28, 2008. http://americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/ovulationfaq.htm

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