Paging Dr. Grunebaum of BabyMed.Com: How, When & Why You Should be Having Sex to Get Pregnant
Dr. Amos Grunebaum, OB-GYN, is the man I turn to when I need advice on anything related to conception, pregnancy, or delivery. He is a specialist in high-risk pregnancies (maternal-fetal medicine) with over 30 years of experience in his field. You can read his full bio here. Dr. Grunebaum’s incredibly informative website, BabyMed, is a one-stop fertility and pregnancy resource center with advanced technology designed to help you get pregnant faster and healthier.
I have always been a bit perplexed by the best timing for sex (if you want to get pregnant, of course!). I’ve heard you should do it right before you ovulate; or you should do it right after; or at the exact moment! With so much conflicting advice, I asked Dr. G to give us the truth behind timing sex.
The Truth About Your Fertile Days: When Should we make love to optimize our chances getting pregnant?
There is no doubt: Most women need to ovulate in order get pregnant (unless, of course, you use IVF to get pregnant). But ovulation is only the first step. Your chances of conception depend on the egg and sperm not just meeting but also meeting at the right time.
Ovulation happens regularly in many women, while in others in occurs irregularly or at an inopportune time. So it makes sense to understand just what’s going on with those precious eggs of yours, especially if you want to improve your chances getting pregnant faster.
It wasn’t that long ago that people (even doctors!) seriously believed you had three to four days before and three to four days after ovulation to get pregnant. And there are still many people today who believe this. Nothing is further from the truth.
Timing of Lovemaking and Getting Pregnant
Recent studies have shown that you can only get pregnant if you have sex during the four to five days BEFORE ovulation and the day of ovulation. As simple as that. Making love more than 5 days before ovulation or even the day after ovulation is unlikely to get you pregnant. Your chance of getting pregnant is nearly zero if you have sex after ovulation. Are you surprised?
The reason for this is that sperm usually survive on average 2-3 days in the woman’s genital tract, inside her uterus, though they can survive for up to 5 days. And the egg usually survives 12-24 hours after ovulation. In order for sperm to fertilize the egg, sperm need to be inside a woman’s uterus at least 9-12 hours, so they should really be there when ovulation happens. Sperms that arrive at the ovary right after ejaculation shortly after ovulation are unlikely to fertilize the egg.
Frequency of Lovemaking and Getting Pregnant
Don’t just wait for your fertile days to have sex and get pregnant. You decrease your chances getting pregnant if you wait for the very last moment and try making love exactly when you think you ovulate. Studies show that your chances getting pregnant actually increase if you make love regularly, 2-3 times each week, and once a day (no more!) during the 5-6 fertile days. This ensures that his sperms are fresh and “up-to date”.
Why? Sperm need about 12 hours of “prep time” in your uterus before they can fertilize the egg. And the egg usually doesn’t survive long, maybe only 12-24 hours, for that to happen. So to get pregnant it’s best to have sperms already close to the egg when ovulation happens.
When you want to get pregnant the best time to make love are the 1-2 days before and the day of ovulation. Not the day after.