HAVING a baby isn’t as easy as waiting for a stork to drop a bundle on your doorstep.
For the average couple, it takes regular sex, tracking the menstrual cycle, and a little patience.
This can be difficult when a couple is juggling life’s commitments.
If you’re hoping to conceive in the near future – just how many times do you need to get between the sheets to get pregnant?
We answer some common questions.
How much do you need to have sex?
Doctors at the NHS says you should have sex every two to three days if you want a baby.
But some experts say you can have sex once a day – there is really no limit other than your own.
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Experts a the Mayo Clinic say: “The highest pregnancy rates occur in couples who have sex every day or every other day.
“Have sex near the time of ovulation. If having sex every day isn't possible — or enjoyable — have sex every two to three days per week.”
Dr Adam Massey, CEO of preventative health company Cortigenix, suggests there is no magic number.
Rather, “the more regularly couples have sex the better for improving their chances of pregnancy", he told The Sun.
In some cases, it may not be how often you have sex that is important, but your overall health – more on that later.
There is a time of the month that will give you the best chances.
A couple should have sex most when the woman is ovulating.
Ovulation is part of the woman’s menstrual cycle and occurs at some point between 10 and 16 days before her next period.
Ovulation is when an egg is released from an ovary and is when the woman is the most fertile.
The egg survives for only 12 to 24 hours. If sperm is present during that period, the egg may be fertilised.
Signs a woman is ovulating include tender breasts, discharge becomes thinner and slippery, and there is a tiny change in body temperature.
Women can use a number of ways to track when ovulation is happening, including with natural family planners.
If sex several times a week is too much for you, working out the “fertile window” may make more sense.
How long does it take to get pregnant?
So, how long do you need to keep up the regularly bonking before something happens?
Professor Charles Kingsland, Group Clinical Director at CARE Fertility, told The Sun: "The average number of times you need sex to have a baby on average, believe it or not, is over 100 [14 weeks].
"Highly fertile couples click very quickly. Less fertile couples take longer.
"We talk about sex far more often than we do it and in the last 50 years the amount of sex we have in the UK has halved."
One survey found it takes a total of 185 days from deciding to conceive to getting a positive pregnancy test – equivalent to six months and three days – and couples had sex on average 13 times a month while attempting to make a baby.
The NHS generally says that eight in ten couples will get pregnant within one year of trying.
One study that tracked the sex lives of 782 young couples until there had been 487 pregnancies supports this.
The best chances for pregnancies seemed to occur two days before ovulation, at around 25 per cent, according to BBC Future.
The chances drop to a low five per cent outside of this period, proving ovulation is the best time for success.
Overall, a young couple has a one in 20 chance of pregnancy on any random day, which goes up to one in four chances for a brief period.
It is therefore estimated that between 80 and 90 per cent of couples will get pregnant within one year if they are having sex reguarlly without contraception, and are under 40 years old.
Beyond this point, hopeful parents may want to visit their doctor to look into fertility testing.
It also means if you want a big family, getting pregnant multiple times may take up a considerable amount of time and effort, especially the older you get.
Are some positions better for pregnancy?
You may want to try missionary most often if you are trying for a baby.
Any sex position that allows for deep penetration means sperm can be deposited as close as possible to the cervix – the opening to the womb.
But there is a lack of evidence to scientifically prove this theory.
Generally, as long as the man ejaculates into the vagina the sperm can travel through.
Some women place a pillow under the hips after sex to tilt the pelvis up to help the sperm travel. Standing up would do the opposite.
Tips for conceiving
Sometimes our lifestyle habits have a negative effect on fertility and are worth tweaking while trying to conceive.
Arguably, our daily habits are the most crucial factor determining success rates.
Dr Massey said: "Your fertility is not just about how many times you have sex but whether there are any underlying issues in either the man, the woman or both.
"For someone who does not have a diagnosed fertility problem it is their inner health that is vital with levels of hormones, such as cortisol, making a real difference to chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy."
The NHS says both men and women trying for a baby should not:
- Drink alcohol
- Drink too much caffeine
- Overdo strenuous exercise
- Be overweight/obese
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