Your chances of conceiving are relatively high if you’re a healthy couple with little or no medical conditions and have regular intercourse, with most couples getting pregnant within six months to a year.

There are a few major things that can scupper your chances of getting pregnant, though, so if you’re currently trying for a baby, keep an eye on the following…

For him and her – eat well and exercise

Being overweight or underweight can affect your chances of getting pregnant. Too much or too little body fat can cause an imbalance of hormones, which in turn can make your periods irregular or stop them altogether, affecting your ability to conceive. One way to know whether you’re overweight or underweight is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). Your weight is healthy if your BMI is between 20-25. You can work out your BMI online here.

Exercising regularly boosts your body’s level of endorphins, which will help to reduce stress and make you more relaxed – all of which are helpful when you’re trying to conceive. The UK authority on fertility treatment, the HFEA, recommends you do around 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.

For her – increase your folic acid intake

Also known as vitamin B9, folic acid is crucial for the development of a healthy foetus as it can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Folic acid has been shown to increase the chance of getting pregnant – the recommended daily intake of folic acid for all women of childbearing age is at least 400 micrograms. Foods high in folic acid include dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, avocado, beans, seeds and nuts, and carrots.

For both – cut out alcohol and cigarettes

Drinking or smoking excessively can significantly reduce your chances of getting pregnant. Drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week will reduce the quality of sperm. There’s also a link between smoking and lower quality sperm, although the effect on male fertility isn’t certain.

For her – detect ovulation


Get to know your menstrual cycle like the back of your hand. A woman’s most fertile days are the day of ovulation and the four or five days before, so the best way to increase your odds of getting pregnant quickly is to make sure you’re having unprotected sex at the right time during your cycle. You can also track your basal body temperature to help detect when you’re ovulating – before you ovulate, your basal body temperature is usually around 35.5-37 degrees Celsius.

Another way to tell when you’re at your most fertile is to track your cervical mucus. Fertile cervical mucus has a slightly thicker consistency than usual and is whiter in colour – which is why it’s known as ‘egg-white’ mucus.

For him – keep cool

The testes should be a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of the body for maximum sperm production. Some studies suggest that wearing loose-fitting underwear and trousers could be beneficial to sperm production.

For both – relax

Above all else, try and keep it relaxed and fun. Stress has shown to have an impact on your ability to conceive, and the last thing you want is for it to become a chore for the both of you.

There’s an abundance of articles on the internet advising you in all manner of things to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Just a heads up, chugging cough syrup won’t help you conceive! And if you’re curious about any other mistruths, head to our Pregnancy Myth-Buster.

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Mr Andrew Drakeley Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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