A couple's decision to try to welcome a baby into the family is a big one, often the result of months of planning and conversation. So when the time is finally right many couples hope to make the wait as short as possible, frequently asking, "How often should you have sex to get pregnant?" After all, it seems logical: the more often you have intercourse, the higher your odds of conception, right?
Well to some extent yes, but experts agree that frequency is actually not the most important factor in trying to conceive. Angela Le, integrative reproductive health expert and founder of Fifth Avenue Fertility Wellness in New York City, tells Romper, "The best way to make sex count when you're trying to conceive is to understand your optimal fertile window and to make sure you and your partner are actively having sex during those days." Le and other fertility professionals emphasize the importance of studying the signs of your unique ovulation pattern based on the number of days in your cycle, presence of cervical mucus, increased sex drive, and even your temperature.
Because sperm can live up to five days in the female reproductive tract, intercourse is important not just on the day of ovulation, but on the days leading up to it as well. In an exclusive interview with Romper, Le elaborates: "If you have a 28 day cycle, this means your best time for baby making is five days before and 24 hours through ovulation (assuming your ovulation date is 14 days before your period). Having sex daily or every other day, including a few days prior and after to be safe, will give you the best chances of becoming pregnant."
That said, it's not necessary to keep that pace the rest of the month, since daily intercourse will not increase your chances of pregnancy if you are outside your fertile window. The myth of the opposite — that couples should wait as long as possible to "save up" the semen — is also false, according to Amy Gilliand, PhD and doula trainer. Gilliand tells Romper, "People are usually concerned that if they have sex too often, the sperm will be diluted in the semen. While there is some natural variation, waiting a few days to ejaculate does not up one’s chances."
When it comes to trying to conceive, familiarizing yourself with your body and its natural fertility rhythms is crucial. But perhaps just as important is remembering to relax and enjoy the intimacy with your partner. Hoping for conception can quickly overshadow every other aspect of a sexual relationship, so don't forget to savor the relationship rather than seeing it as a means to an end.