If you’re on your conception journey, you may have heard that having sex every day is bad while trying to conceive (TTC).
The basis for this myth was that frequent ejaculation reduces sperm count, sperm concentration, and motility.
But the truth? There isn’t much data to support this theory.
Most reproductive experts recommend sex every other day or even every day during your fertile window. But really, it’s whatever works best for you and your partner as long as it’s during your fertile window.
Yet, there is one time of the month when it’s best to avoid sex to increase the chances of implantation.
So read on to get the breakdown on how often to have sex when you’re trying to conceive, and when it’s best to take a breather.
Basics of Menstrual Cycle
Each menstrual cycle, your body releases an egg. This process is known as ovulation. It happens around 12-14 days before your next period.
Your cycle can be divided into two phases: the preovulatory phase and the postovulatory phase.
The preovulatory phase (aka the follicular phase) begins the first day of your period and lasts until your ovulation day.
During this phase, estrogen is dominant. Around three days before you ovulate, estrogen swiftly rises. This causes luteinizing hormone (LH) to surge, triggering ovulation.
The egg then makes its way through the fallopian tube where it hopes to meet a sperm.
After you ovulate comes the postovulatory phase or the luteal phase. During this phase, progesterone is the dominant hormone. Its job is to help nourish the uterine wall to prepare for a possible pregnancy.
If an egg is fertilized by a sperm, it makes itself cozy in the newly thickened uterine wall.
But if fertilization does not occur, progesterone drops. This triggers the uterus to start shedding its walls, and along comes your period.
Basics of Conception
For pregnancy to happen, sperm needs to be present when you ovulate. And this can only happen during your fertile window.
What is the fertile window?
Your fertile window is the 6 days during your cycle when you have the best chance of conception.
It consists of the 4 days leading up to ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after you ovulate.
This is because sperm can live in your reproductive tract for up to five days. Yet, an egg remains viable for only 12-24 hours.
So no need to wait until an egg drops to start getting busy. The more sperm lying in wait when you ovulate, the better your chance of getting pregnant.
But keep in mind, it only takes one sperm to greet the egg for fertilization to occur.
How Often Should You Have Sex to Get Pregnant?
During your fertile window, as often as you like!
Research shows that couples who have sex more frequently during the fertile window have a better chance of conception.
One study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that:
- Couples who had sexual intercourse every day had a 25% chance of conceiving
- Couples who had sexual intercourse every other day had a 22% chance of conceiving
While there’s a slight difference, it’s not enough to stress about.
Sex should never feel like a chore, even if its purpose is conception. So talk with your partner, and choose what works best for you both.
If you’re feeling frisky every day, go for it. You can even have sex multiple times a day if you’re both in the mood!
But if having sex every day feels like too much for you (or your partner), aim for sex every other day. Ensure that you do have sex during the fertile window to conceive successfully.
When to Avoid Sex When You’re Trying to Get Pregnant?
There is evidence that having sex during your peri-implantation window may harm the chances of implantation.
Your peri-implantation window occurs five to nine days after ovulation, during your luteal phase. It’s when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall.
One study found that couples who had sex two or more days during that time were 40% less likely to get pregnant than couples that did not have intercourse in the peri-implantation window.
And the more sex a couple had during the peri-implantation window, the less likely they were to get pregnant.
Some guess uterine contractions from sex may disturb the implantation process. Others suggest semen may induce an inflammatory response in the reproductive tract.
For now, the whys remain unclear. But if you’re trying to conceive, it’s best to err on the safe side.
How To Enjoy Sex and Not Make It Feel Like A Chore?
Scheduling sex to get pregnant can make “sexy time” feel, well… not so sexy. Not to mention it can give your partner a massive case of performance anxiety.
Having sex solely for baby-making isn’t the right way to go about things.
Instead, view TTC sex the same way you’d approach lovemaking on any other day. Remember its true purpose: connection and pleasure.
Here are some tips to help shared by Inito’s Facebook group:
Give your partner a biology lesson. Explain the fertile window and that the egg only lives for 12-24 hours. That way they’ll understand why the timing’s important!
Try morning sex if you’re partner’s too tired at night.
Even if you have to time it, it doesn’t mean you can’t make it fun. Create the build-up, add some romance, and show your partner you’re interested in them… not just their sperm!
Add some spice. Light a candle, turn on some sexy music, or whip out the lingerie. Or experiment with dirty talk, role play, or a new position.
For more helpful tips like these, join Inito’s Facebook group here.
Remember, it takes two people to make a baby. Always take your partner’s feelings into consideration and keep the lines of communication open.
Why Sex Outside Your Fertile Window May Help You Get Pregnant?
New research shows that regular sexual activity primes the woman’s immune system for pregnancy.
The more sexually active a woman is, the more her immune system gets the message it’s baby-making time.
This triggers immune system changes that prevent sperm from being treated as a foreign invader and help the fertilized egg implant.
This can offer motivation to keep things frisky all month long – NOT just when the calendar says it’s go-time.
How Long Does It Take to Conceive?
Most healthy couples having frequent, unprotected sex will conceive within a year. And 30% of couples will conceive within the first cycle of trying.
That said, fertility declines with age. The younger you are, the easier it is to get pregnant.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, “A healthy 30-year-old has a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month.” But by age 40, that number shrinks to 5%.
So if you’re under 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year, it may be time to visit a fertility specialist. If you’re over 35, you’ll want to consult with a fertility specialist after six months of trying.
Learn more about Chances of Getting Pregnant By Age here.
How Can You Increase Your Chances of Conception?
Besides having sex during your fertile window, here are some other tips to increase your chances of getting pregnant:
Keep a healthy lifestyle
If you want to become pregnant, you need to take care of your health. This goes for you and your partner.
- Don’t smoke or drink. Both have a negative effect on male and female fertility.
- Maintain a healthy BMI: Being overweight or underweight can make it more difficult to get pregnant. An ideal BMI for getting pregnant is between 25 and 30. (You can check your BMI here)
- Exercise regularly: Women who do regular moderate exercise are more likely to get pregnant. Just don’t overdo it. Too much vigorous exercise can harm fertility. So skip spin class and stick to moderate activities like yoga, brisk walking, or leisurely bike rides.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and fish are linked with increased fertility.
- Manage stress. Research shows that keeping your stress in check can make it easier to get pregnant. Yoga, meditation, journaling, breathwork, and spending time in nature are all good options.
Be choosy with lube
Many lubricants have ingredients that can damage sperm. So always check for the “sperm-friendly” label when choosing lubricants. While they may not necessarily help you conceive, they are at least not harmful to your partner’s sperm.
Avoid sex during your luteal phase
As mentioned, sex during your peri-implantation window may disrupt the implantation process. So during your luteal phase (roughly 5-9 days after ovulation), take a break from sex to play it safe.
Use a fertility monitor
Traditional ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) test LH to predict when ovulation will happen. But by that point, most of your fertile window has passed.
For the best chances of conception, try tracking your ovulation with a fertility monitor such as Inito.
Inito measures luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen, and progesterone metabolite PdG, giving you a clear picture of all your fertile days. FSH, LH, and estrogen help track your fertile window and a rise in progesterone metabolite PdG confirms ovulation. Inito gives you the actual values of your hormones thus removing the guesswork out of your cycle.
- If you’re trying to conceive, aim to have sex every day or every other day during your fertile window.
- Having frequent sex throughout the month causes immune system changes in women that make it easier to get pregnant.
- The only time you want to avoid sex every day when trying to conceive is during your peri-implantation window. Having sex during this time may make it more difficult to get pregnant.
- If scheduling sex starts to feel like a chore, view your lovemaking the same way you would any other day. Remember the romance, keep it spicy, and have fun with it.
- Tracking your hormones with a fertility monitor like Inito gives you a clear picture of your entire fertile window. That way you know the best time to have sex if you’re trying to get pregnant.