How to help your chances of getting pregnant

Most heterosexual couples will get pregnant within the year if they are having regular sex and not using contraception. But there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Regular sex will help you conceive

Frequent sex is the best way to get pregnant. This means having sex every 2 to 3 days throughout the month.

The most likely time to get pregnant

You are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex around the time of ovulation. If your cycle is 28 days long, ovulation usually happens around 14 days before your next period. It can be difficult to know exactly when ovulation occurs, so the best advice is to have frequent sex.

You are more likely to get pregnant if you are both in good health.

Get a health check

If you are planning to get pregnant, it is a good idea to visit your GP for a health check. This is important if you have any health problems or are taking any medicine.

Vaccines you need before you get pregnant

Take folic acid

You should take folic acid while you are trying for a baby - ideally for 3 months before and during the first trimester. The usual dose if you're trying to get pregnant is 400 micrograms, taken once a day.

Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects. These include spina bifida.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or underweight can mean you are less likely to get pregnant. Also, men who have a normal weight produce better quality sperm.

Measure your Body Mass Index (BMI). If your BMI is between 20 to 25, your weight is healthy. If your BMI is over 30, this can impact your ability to get pregnant.

If you are overweight, losing as little of 5% of your body weight can improve your fertility.

Calculate your BMI -

Stop smoking

Smoking can lower your chances of becoming pregnant. Women who smoke are more likely to be infertile and take longer to conceive. Smoking can also damage a man’s sperm.

Smoking is dangerous for unborn babies.

Get help to stop smoking

Eat healthy food

Eating healthy foods will help you manage your weight and improve your health. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, protein, whole grains and healthy fats.

How to eat well

Exercise, but not too much

Regular moderate exercise is good for your body and your mind. Avoid very intense exercise as this may lower your fertility. For example, athletes participating in marathons may notice that their periods stop.

Try and keep your stress levels low

Stress can affect your sex drive and this can mean you end up having sex less often. It can also affect sperm production. When trying to get pregnant, relaxing and avoid stress can help.

Review any drugs you take, legal or illegal

Illegal drugs can reduce your fertility and are dangerous during pregnancy.

Some medicines are not safe to take during pregnancy. Some of these may also reduce your fertility.

Before trying to become pregnant, talk with your GP or pharmacist about any medicines or supplements you are taking.

Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

STIs like chlamydia can reduce your chances of becoming pregnant. If you are not yet trying to conceive, practice safe sex and use a condom each time you have sex.

Sexually transmitted infections -

Contraceptive methods and fertility

Page last reviewed: 10 November 2022
Next review due: 10 November 2025