Go Off Your Birth Control – Ahead of Time
Have you been popping those little white pills since high school? Take a pass on your prescription a few months before you plan to start trying, says Christopher Williams, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia, and author of The Fastest Way to Get Pregnant Naturally. That goes for other forms of hormonal birth control too. (You should stop getting Depo-Provera, injectable shots of progesterone about nine months before you want to try getting pregnant.)
“After you’ve been using birth control for awhile, it may take your body a few cycles to start ovulating regularly and be primed for pregnancy,” he says. Plus, this gives you time to track your cycle to figure out exactly when you ovulate
Figure Out Your Fertile Days
No matter how often you and your partner get horizontal, if you skip the key days out of the month when your egg is raring to go, you won’t get pregnant. “The biggest mistake my patients make is not knowing exactly when they ovulate,” says Dr. Williams.
Today, most doctors recommend using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) for a more accurate measure of ovulation. Though you can still use basal body temperature (BBT) charting, OPKs give you advance warning that your egg is about to be released, so you can plan accordingly. OPKs work by detecting a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which occurs about 36 to 48 hours before you ovulate.
There are two basic types of OPKs available: Those you use only around the week before you ovulate (these are better for women with very regular cycles, since you need a rough idea of when you ovulate to know when to start using the kit) and those you use every day of the month (a better choice for women with less regular cycles; they’re also a bit pricier).
Have Sex Before You Ovulate
Those hardy sperm can stick around in your uterus and fallopian tubes for two to three days, but your egg only lasts for 12 to 24 hours after it’s released. So having sex before you ovulate boosts the chances that there’ll be sperm around to greet your egg as soon as it debuts.
For a typical 28-day cycle (where you ovulate on day 14), here’s what you’ll do:
Start having sex a few times a week as soon as your period ends. Getting busy that often ensures you won’t miss your most fertile time, especially if your cycle length varies from month to month.
Make a point to have sex every other day starting around day 10.
When you have a positive result on your OPK (around day 12), have sex that day and the next two days – these are your primo days out of the month to conceive.