When is the best time to get pregnant?

When Is The Best Time To Get Pregnant

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Having sex for pregnancy is a complicated process. There are a lot of elements that need to be achieved for the sperm cell to successfully reach and fertilize an egg cell. If you want to increase your pregnancy chances, it’s important to know when the best time to have intercourse is to get pregnant.

The article “The sperm journey to the egg” explains fertalization in an easy way.

But when can fertilization happen?

….and what does it take for the sperm cell to then successfully enter the egg?

The Best Time to get Pregnant: the Fertile Window 

To answer the first question, you have to be familiar with the “fertile window”.

For a pregnancy to take place, one of the ovaries must release a mature egg to the fallopian tube. This process is called ovulation. The fertile window is a period of 2-5 days every cycle where a woman is able to get pregnant. The fertile window is from 3-4 days before ovulation and 1 day after.

Ovulation is a one-day occurrence in the menstruation cycle (see illustration below). Once the egg is released from the ovary, it will die within 12-24 hours if it’s not fertilized by a sperm cell. Therefore, the time is crucial, and it is very important to have sexual intercourse around that time. The best time to get pregnant is when you time intercourse right before ovulation occurs, on the day of ovulation, and the day after ovulation. That’s when you have the best chances of pregnancy.

Sperm cells can survive in the woman’s reproductive tract for up to five days. Therefore, the best time to get pregnant is not necessarily on the actual day of ovulation. You don’t need to plan your intercourse on the exact day you partner ovulates in order to conceive – although knowing the fertile window and having sex around ovulation day is important. Men benefit from knowing the fertile window because they will be able take active part when it comes to timed intercourse. They may also be able to limit masturbation around that time so no sperm is wasted.

Ovulation cycle

Tracking Ovulation Day

During ovulation day, female hormones (FSH, LH and estrogen) peak to their highest level. Some women experience symptoms (see box) and can therefore predict ovulation. Many other women use “ovulation predictor kits” (OPK) to track the exact date of ovulation.

The most used OPK is a urinary test for Luteinizing Hormone (LH), where a woman pees on a stick and waits for the indicator to tell whether she is close to ovulation or not. This kind of test measures the LH peak just before ovulation. Another popular OPK is a thermometer where a woman can track her Basal Body Temperature (BBT). Since BBT reaches its lowest point at ovulation and then rises immediately after, by about a half degree, a woman can find out when ovulation occurs by measuring her temperature every day.

There are still insufficient data available to draw very clear conclusions on the effectiveness of timed intercourse, though in a Cochrane review from 2015 [1], the evidence suggests that if the chance of a pregnancy following intercourse without ovulation prediction was 13%, then the chance following timed intercourse would be between 14% and 23%.

BOX 1: Typical women body symptoms (signs) of ovulation

  • Basal body temperature falls slightly, then rises again.
  • Cervical mucus becomes clearer and thinner with a more slippery consistency similar to that of egg whites.
  • Increase in sex drive
  • Feeling of a slight twinge of pain or mild cramps in the lower abdomen.
  • The vulva or vagina may appear swollen.

If you and your partner really don’t have time or interest in tracking ovulation, just make sure that you have sex frequently (every 2-3 days). This way you will make sure to hit the fertile window and give your swimmers the best chances of finding their way to the mature egg.

Semen skills – sperm cell abilities

Although several million sperm cells are released in the woman’s cervix during sex, it is far from all cells that are able to have the right skills to reach egg and fertilize it in the fallopian tubes.

To have the best chances of pregnancy, semen quality needs to be good. This means a high sperm concentration and high motility. In other words; you need a high amount of healthy sperm cells that moves in a forward direction so that they can reach the egg.

These sperm parameters can be analyzed at the clinic or with the Exseed analysis device in your own home. With ExSeed you can check early if you have the right prerequisites to successfully conceiving a child.

When the cell reaches the egg cell, it needs to fight through several egg barriers to actually get inside the egg. To overcome these egg barriers, the sperm cell has to be in good shape with a strong DNA. It is therefore important that your sperm cells are developed, but also stored under good circumstances in your testicles.

As you can see from the above, the process of conceiving is not easy. The odds of getting pregnant each cycle peak at 32.3% for women under the age of 35 years, but then decline to 11.9% at age 40–42, with a further reduction to 3.4% at 43–44 years [2].

Therefore, it is important to that you and your partner to try out for a baby when being most fertile.

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.