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When to Have Sex if You’re Trying to get Pregnant

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Most women ovulate 14 days before the first day of their period.
  • Because sperm lasts up to five days in the body and an egg ready for fertilization lasts up to 24 hours, the window for pregnancy is generally about six days long.
  • Familiarizing yourself with your own cycle can help you establish a reliable timeframe for ovulation so you can better time sex.
  • If you’ve been trying for longer than six months, speak to your doctor to rule out potential fertility issues.

Fertility & Your Cycle

As we’ve established, the most fertile time in a woman’s cycle is around ovulation, which is when a mature egg is released for potential fertilization. Interestingly, ovulation tends to happen about 14 days before your period begins, and that’s pretty darn consistent regardless of cycle length. Remember, day 1 is the first day of your menstrual flow. The rule of thumb is to subtract 14 from your typical cycle length for a ballpark estimate of ovulation (i.e. day 21 if you have a 35-day cycle, or day 7 if you’re on the shorter side with a 21-day cycle).

To become pregnant, this mature egg needs sperm. An egg survives between 12 and 24 hours following ovulation, while sperm has a longer lifespan in the body—between 3 and 5 days. That means a woman’s peak fertility window is about six days long (up to five days before ovulation and about a day after), during which she has the best chances of conceiving. Most experts recommend having sex either every day or every other day during this six-day window.

Quick note here: if you’re timing sex for the best chance of conception, you should definitely be taking prenatal vitamins. And that goes for the both of you! Women and men alike benefit from a daily supply of key micronutrients to support their fertility health during this preconception stage, and we’ll happily plug our own Beli for Women and Beli Vitality for Men™.

Our women’s formula includes bioavailable forms of B6 and B12, two vitamins that work together to help promote regular ovulation. That’s in addition to ingredients like folate and choline, two nutrients that are absolutely essential during the earliest days of a pregnancy, as well as a number of other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to promote egg quality and help balance hormones. On the men’s side of things, daily supplementation with a male prenatal vitamin is a simple way to support sperm health during the maturation process.

Detecting Ovulation

If your approach to tracking your periods is an asterisk on your calendar, it’s time to get a little more organized. Properly tracking your periods makes it much easier to establish a reliable timeframe for ovulation. Once you have that, a little detective work can help firm things up. In addition to self-detecting strategies, there are a ton of tools and devices on the market.

  • Tune into physical changes.Some women experience physical signs of ovulation, including light spotting, breast tenderness, bloating, or abdominal cramping. The key is paying attention to what’s normal for you and jotting down some notes every month so you can look for patterns.
  • Pay attention to changes in cervical mucus. The consistency of vaginal discharge changes throughout the month. Before you ovulate, it’s usually dry and sticky. It can get a little creamier as you get closer to ovulating and then, generally a day or two before you ovulate, it tends to go clear and kind of thin and slippery, similar to egg whites. Again, keeping track of what’s typical for you can be a good way to identify patterns in your own cycle, but alas, it’s not fool-proof.
  • Try an ovulation predictor kit. As the name suggests, these home tests can help you predict when you might ovulate. They measure luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. This hormone ticks way upward around the middle of your cycle in preparation for the releasing of an egg. After the rise in LH, which can last up to 36 hours, ovulation typically occurs 12 to 48 hours later. That means the test is only positive for one to two days. Big caveat here: Ovulation predictor kits aren’t always reliable, especially in women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
    when-to-have-sex-for-pregnancy-beli-baby

    It’s important to clarify a few things. You can track your cycle religiously and follow directions for fertility tracker and ovulation predictors to letter and still not get pregnant. If you have erratic periods, spending time and money on this stuff is probably a waste. Instead, you should speak with your OB-GYN or a reproductive endocrinologist for a better idea of what’s going on. That’s actually a strategic move for couples who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for longer than six months. The same is true if you’re younger than 35 and you’ve been trying for a year. In that case, the issue probably isn’t timing sex properly, and it’s important to be clear about any potential fertility issues.

    The Takeaway

    Timing sex to ovulation is the key to successfully conceiving, so tuning into your cycle is a great starting point when you decide the time is right for a baby. Pay attention to what’s normal in your cycle from one month to the next to pick out patterns, get started with those prenatal vitamins, and if you have questions, ask! It’s never a mistake to turn to the experts for advice and reassurance about conception and pregnancy.

    Article Resources

    1. Whelan, C et al. (2022). What are the signs and symptoms of ovulation? https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/ovulation-symptoms

    Additional Resources

    While PCOS can be a challenging condition to manage, natural supplements like inositol that are included in Beli Preconception Boost offer a beacon of hope. Inositol's ability to improve insulin sensitivity, hormone balance, and ovulatory function makes it a valuable tool in the PCOS management toolkit. 

    Read More

    The concern that hormonal contraception affects future fertility is making the rounds on social media again. But research continues to show that all that worry is for naught. While birth control doesn’t cause long-term fertility issues, it can mask them by creating an artificial cycle—something that’s important to understand.

    Read More

    While it’s lumped into the “bodily fluid” category, semen is a complex cocktail of compounds designed to support fertility. Like sperm quality, semen health can be influenced by lifestyle factors—an important realization for couples trying to conceive. From color to consistency, here’s what healthy semen looks like.

    Read More

    There’s a lot of chatter when it comes to male masturbation and what it says about a man’s fertility or whether it’s an issue when a couple is actively trying to conceive. And in the interest of clearing up the confusion, we’re taking a facts-based approach to the topic of men, masturbation and fertility.

    Read More

    For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

    Read More

    We’re thrilled to introduce Beli Women Preconception, a complementary fertility supplement designed to support fertility health by promoting egg quality, supporting ovulation, balancing hormones, regulating your cycle and helping to manage symptoms of both PCOS and PMS.

    Read More

    Once a month, PMS symptoms make their unpleasant presence known. And while knowing what’s happening won’t make PMS magically disappear, it can help you manage symptoms by balancing hormones and supporting your reproductive health. Let’s review.

    Read More

    Raise your hand if you already know that you have a biological clock. From age 35 and beyond, there is a natural decline in testosterone and sperm quality. Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, sperm also tend to lose their "fitness" over the life cycle. But what does that mean—and does it really matter?

    Read More

    It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

    Read More

    If you have endometriosis, you can already recite its lengthy list of pretty terrible symptoms. And the standard options for managing those symptoms — medications, hormone therapy, hormonal birth control, estrogen blockers, surgery —  aren’t always great. But there is evidence that a so-called “endometriosis diet” can help.

    Read More

    Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

    Read More

    Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

    Read More

    Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

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    Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

    Read More

    Diet has been suggested to have an influence on the quality and function of human sperm. More specifically, the results of a randomised trial have shown that including nuts as a component of a regular diet improved the quality and function of human sperm.

    Read More

    A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

    Read More

    With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

    Read More

    Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

    Read More

    When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

    Read More

    Preparing for a baby means doing everything in your power to nourish your fertility health. If you’re totally on board but wondering what that actually means, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts for planning a pregnancy.

    Read More

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    Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

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    Read More

    Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

    Read More

    You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

    Read More

    You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

    Read More

    Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

    Read More

    Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

    Read More

    As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

    Read More

    Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

    Read More

    While it’s lumped into the “bodily fluid” category, semen is a complex cocktail of compounds designed to support fertility. Like sperm quality, semen health can be influenced by lifestyle factors—an important realization for couples trying to conceive. From color to consistency, here’s what healthy semen looks like.

    Read More

    There’s a lot of chatter when it comes to male masturbation and what it says about a man’s fertility or whether it’s an issue when a couple is actively trying to conceive. And in the interest of clearing up the confusion, we’re taking a facts-based approach to the topic of men, masturbation and fertility.

    Read More

    For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

    Read More

    Raise your hand if you already know that you have a biological clock. From age 35 and beyond, there is a natural decline in testosterone and sperm quality. Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, sperm also tend to lose their "fitness" over the life cycle. But what does that mean—and does it really matter?

    Read More

    It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

    Read More

    Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

    Read More

    Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

    Read More

    Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

    Read More

    Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

    Read More

    Diet has been suggested to have an influence on the quality and function of human sperm. More specifically, the results of a randomised trial have shown that including nuts as a component of a regular diet improved the quality and function of human sperm.

    Read More

    A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

    Read More

    With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

    Read More

    Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

    Read More

    When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

    Read More

    Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

    Read More

    There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

    Read More

    Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

    Read More

    You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

    Read More

    You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

    Read More

    Welcome to our little corner of common fertility and pregnancy terms! We know that jargon can be overwhelming, so consider this your very own baby-making dictionary. Here, confusing medical terms transform into easy-to-understand facts that help you confidently navigate your family planning journey. 

    Read More

    Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

    Read More

    Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

    Read More

    As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

    Read More

    Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

    Read More

    While PCOS can be a challenging condition to manage, natural supplements like inositol that are included in Beli Preconception Boost offer a beacon of hope. Inositol's ability to improve insulin sensitivity, hormone balance, and ovulatory function makes it a valuable tool in the PCOS management toolkit. 

    Read More

    The concern that hormonal contraception affects future fertility is making the rounds on social media again. But research continues to show that all that worry is for naught. While birth control doesn’t cause long-term fertility issues, it can mask them by creating an artificial cycle—something that’s important to understand.

    Read More

    For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

    Read More

    We’re thrilled to introduce Beli Women Preconception, a complementary fertility supplement designed to support fertility health by promoting egg quality, supporting ovulation, balancing hormones, regulating your cycle and helping to manage symptoms of both PCOS and PMS.

    Read More

    Once a month, PMS symptoms make their unpleasant presence known. And while knowing what’s happening won’t make PMS magically disappear, it can help you manage symptoms by balancing hormones and supporting your reproductive health. Let’s review.

    Read More

    It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

    Read More

    If you have endometriosis, you can already recite its lengthy list of pretty terrible symptoms. And the standard options for managing those symptoms — medications, hormone therapy, hormonal birth control, estrogen blockers, surgery —  aren’t always great. But there is evidence that a so-called “endometriosis diet” can help.

    Read More

    With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

    Read More

    Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

    Read More

    Preparing for a baby means doing everything in your power to nourish your fertility health. If you’re totally on board but wondering what that actually means, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts for planning a pregnancy.

    Read More

    There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

    Read More

    Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

    Read More

    You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

    Read More

    You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

    Read More

    Welcome to our little corner of common fertility and pregnancy terms! We know that jargon can be overwhelming, so consider this your very own baby-making dictionary. Here, confusing medical terms transform into easy-to-understand facts that help you confidently navigate your family planning journey. 

    Read More

    Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

    Read More

    As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

    Read More