Four tips and learned strategies and treatment options to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Conceive faster with help from Natalist.
Disclosure: There is no such thing as “hacking” the process of getting pregnant, but we do want to share some evidence-based tips to help smooth out the process as much as possible! We’ll talk you through the steps, including discontinuing birth control, self care, and health and nutrition considerations—we got you!
About 80% of people will get pregnant in the first six months of trying. We really hope that’s you; but if it’s not, hang in there. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, there are many paths to parenthood, and everyone’s journey looks a little different.
Of course, there’s no such thing as a “hack” to getting pregnant—the key is just to have lots of vaginal sex, especially around when you’re ovulating, and there’s no need to rush this process. But we’ll describe some ways to make it happen sooner rather than later—try them out if you want, and skip whatever you’re not into.
- Getting to Baseline: Discontinue Birth Control
This seems very obvious, but if you’ve been taking contraception to prevent pregnancy and you’re ready to start trying, it’s time to discontinue it! Depending on whether it’s an intrauterine device, contraceptive implant (like the Nexplanon), or hormonal birth control pills, you may need to see your OB/GYN before discontinuing birth control (i.e, you may need a provider to remove the IUD or implant). In general, it’s a great idea to check in with your primary care provider or obstetrician/gynecologist for a “preconception” visit prior to starting. Depending on what your periods were like before you started contraception, how long you’ve been on contraception, and what that contraception did to your periods, this process may look a little different. In a study of women using continuous combined oral contraceptive pills (estrogen and progesterone) for a year, the median time to return to having a period after stopping the pill was 32 days. 98.9% of patients returned to their periods or got pregnant within 90 days. No matter what, if you haven’t had a return of your menstrual cycle three months after discontinuing your birth control, schedule an appointment with your provider for further evaluation.
You may come across products marketed as “birth control cleanses” on your search of “why hasn’t my period come back after stopping the pill.” Stop right there! Don’t click “buy!! Birth control cleanses are supplement mixes marketed to help a woman’s body “reset” after stopping birth control. There’s no evidence that these work. Don’t waste your money. Rather, we’d recommend just sticking to your vitamins (more on that later). It might take a few months for a woman’s body to reset after discontinuing birth control, or conception might happen right away; you don’t need to take a supplement to “reset” your body. It’ll do that on its own.
- Know When to Have Sex
If you’re in the category of people using vaginal intercourse to get pregnant, here’s the gist: to maximize your chances of getting pregnant more quickly, plan on having vaginal sex every day or every other day during the six-day fertile window, which includes the five days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. There are a few ways to track your fertile window to time sex—we’ve written those up for you here. And we've even put together an Ovulation Tracker for you, too!
The sex position, the kind of lubricant you use, and whether or not you orgasm have NOT been shown to affect how quickly you’ll get pregnant. Also, sitting with your legs up is a great restorative yoga posture that increases circulation, but doing so after sex will not increase the chances of sperm fertilizing the egg.
- Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby: Put the TLC in TTC
Just like with sex positions, there are a lot of myths out there about supplements to take to get pregnant—or even, while you’re at it, to affect the sex of your baby. While it’s great if you want to double down on an uber-healthy diet while trying to conceive, there is no evidence that you can game your baby’s sex by changing your diet. It is important, though, to stay healthy, beyond just what you eat, when trying to conceive. We’ve teased out some broad, scientifically backed-up guidelines in An OBGYN's Guide to Getting Pregnant to help you get started.
- Check In with Your Doctor if Things Come Up
As we said above, 80% of couples get pregnant within the first six months of trying consistently. But that’s not everyone, and that’s completely okay from our standpoint (not to discredit at all the emotional rollercoaster of it all). If you’re under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for a year, we’d encourage you to check in with your doctor (if you’re over 35, think about checking in at 6 months).
This is especially important to do if any of the following criteria apply to you:
- Your weight is considered high or low for your height
- You have any major medical conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, seizures, etc) and are on any medications
- You have irregular periods (periods that don’t consistently fall within a 21-35 day cycle)
- You’ve had a history of multiple miscarriages
Your journey to conception might take a bit more finagling, and to lower stress and manage expectations for everyone, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor on the early side of this process.