There are some ways to get pregnant. Knowing your fertility and ovulation patterns helps increase your chances, and your doctor can help you plan a healthy pregnancy.
What are the different ways that I can get pregnant?
To get pregnant, it is necessary for a sperm to fertilize an egg. Pregnancy officially begins when a fertilized egg (an embryo) attaches itself to the wall of the uterus, where it grows for 9 months to become a baby. There are a few different ways this can happen.
The most common way that pregnancy occurs is through vaginal sex, when a person with a penis ejaculates into someone else's vagina. Sperm in semen swim up the vagina, through the cervix and uterus, into the Fallopian tubes. If there is an egg in the Fallopian tube and it meets a sperm, the fertilized egg descends into the uterus. If the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus, the pregnancy begins.
Pregnancy from other forms of sexual activity is also possible, although the penis does not ejaculate into the vagina, but it is less common. If semen stays ON the vulva or near the vaginal opening, sperm can enter the vagina and cause pregnancy. This can happen if semen drips or rubs onto the vulva, or if someone touches the vulva or vagina with fingers or a sex toy that has wet semen in it. The pre-ejaculate (seminal fluid) may also contain a small amount of sperm, so that the seminal fluid can also cause pregnancy if enters the vagina.
Pregnancy can also occur through different types of alternative insemination or in-vitro fertilization. In alternative insemination, semen is inserted into the vagina or uterus using a syringe or other similar device. You can place the semen at home on your own or with the help of your partner, or with the help of a doctor. You can use frozen sperm from a sperm bank or fresh sperm from a known donor (like your partner or a family friend). Alternative insemination is an option for single people, couples who do not produce sperm, or couples with infertility problems.
In in-vitro fertilization, a doctor removes the eggs from your body or someone else's and mixes them with sperm in a laboratory to fertilize them. The doctor then places the fertilized eggs (embryos) in the uterus. If one or more embryos adhere to the uterine lining, pregnancy begins. In-vitro fertilization helps people with infertility problems to get pregnant.
How long does it take to get pregnant?
The time it takes to get pregnant is different in each case and depends on many things (such as age, genetics, and general health).
If you are fertile and have unprotected vaginal intercourse, you have a very good chance of becoming pregnant within 1 year. About 85 out of 100 people who try to get pregnant are successful within 1 year. But each one is different; for some people it is much faster, while for others it may take longer.
If you've been trying to get pregnant for a period of 6 months to 1 year with no results, see your doctor or visit your local Planned Parenthood Health Center to see if they can help you and to make sure everything is okay.
How do I increase my chances of getting pregnant?
One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant is to know which days you ovulate (when pregnancy is most likely to occur) and to plan vaginal intercourse or insemination on those days.
Each body is different, but ovulation usually occurs approximately 14 days before the menstrual period begins. The egg lives for about 1 day after being released (ovulation), and the sperm can live in the body for almost 6 days after having sex.
So you are usually fertile around 7 days of each menstrual cycle: the 5 days before ovulation and the day it occurs. You can also get pregnant 1 or 2 days after ovulation, but this is less likely.
Some people have very regular cycles, and others' cycles vary from month to month. Many people monitor their menstrual cycle and other signs of fertility to help them determine when they ovulate. This is called fertility observation. Some people use this method to protect themselves against pregnancy, and others to get pregnant.
You can use a fertility chart to track your cycle and find out when you are most fertile (with data like body temperature, changes in cervical mucus, and menstrual cycle). There are applications that make it easy to make a graph of your cycle and detect your fertile days.
You can also use ovulation prediction kits, which are urine tests that show when you are ovulating. Ovulation predictor tests can be purchased at the pharmacy; they are usually found near pregnancy tests. Ovulation prediction tests look for a hormone called “luteinizing” (lutropin), which is increased in the body just before you ovulate.
If you plan to get pregnant soon, visit your doctor or your local Planned Parenthood Health Center for a preconception consultation. They can give you more tips on how to increase your chances of getting pregnant and ensure you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
What should I do to get pregnant if I was using birth control?
If you use birth control and want to get pregnant, just stop using the birth control method. With most methods (such as the intrauterine device, implant, pills, patch, and ring), fertility usually returns immediately after you stop using it; often in the same month.
Birth control does not harm your ability to achieve a long-term pregnancy, but some types (such as the Depo injection ) can temporarily affect your fertility for several months after you stop using them.
How can I avoid an unplanned pregnancy?
If you have vaginal intercourse (penis in vagina), using birth control is the best way to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. There are many types of safe and effective contraceptives on the market. Visit your local Planned Parenthood Health Center to find the birth control method that works best for you.