How can I increase my chances of pregnancy?

My partner and I are trying to get pregnant. What can we do to increase our chances of pregnancy?

Once semen has been ejaculated into the vagina, sperm immediately begin to travel past the cervix into the internal female reproductive tract. It is not necessary to keep the penis inside, as the semen is usually ejaculated deep into the vagina. One simple way to increase the chances of pregnancy is to have sexual intercourse during the female’s window of ovulation. Couples have the greatest chance of pregnancy when they have intercourse in the five days leading up to and including the day of ovulation. (This period of time is referred to as a female’s “fertile window.”) Ovulation strips may be purchased at a drug store and are similar to pregnancy tests in their use and design, but instead they tell a female when she is ovulating. If these tests are not readily available, you can roughly estimate a female’s fertile window. Ovulation typically occurs 12 to 14 days after the start of a female’s period, if she has a regular menstrual cycle. Another way to determine a female’s ovulation window is to check for increased viscosity (or stickiness) and a general increase in female discharge. Other ovulation symptoms include breast tenderness, abdominal cramping, and an increase in body temperature.  

Some doctors recommend the male-on-top position as the optimal position for conception. Placing a pillow under the female’s hips and keeping her legs raised may also aid in sperm travel. Having sex every other day during a female’s ovulation window instead of every day is also recommended, as this allows a male’s sperm count to rise efficiently. Avoiding certain positions, such as female-on-top or sitting down, can also be helpful when trying to conceive. However, it is important to remember that these are simply suggestions and do not guarantee pregnancy. The best way to increase the chances of pregnancy is to have sex during the female’s ovulation window and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well and not smoking.

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