Skip to main content

Trying to get pregnant

Pregnancy happens when sperm enters a vagina, travels through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tube and fertilises an egg.

You’re more likely to get pregnant around the time you are ovulating. This is when an egg becomes ready and you are at your most fertile.

8 in 10 people under 40 years old will get pregnant within 1 year of trying by having regular sexual intercourse without using contraception.

How to increase your chances of getting pregnant

There are things you and your partner can do to increase the chances of getting pregnant.


  • have sex every 2 to 3 days without using contraception – make sure sperm enters the vagina

  • try to have sex around the time you are ovulating – this is usually 12 to 16 days after your last period started

  • try to maintain a healthy weight, cut down or stop drinking alcohol and do not smoke – it will help if your partner does this too


if you’re trying to get pregnant it’s important to take folic acid every day, eat a healthy diet, and drink no more than 1 to 2 units of alcohol once or twice a week. This will help your baby develop healthily.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have been trying to get pregnant for over 1 year and have not been successful
  • you have a long term condition such as diabetes and want advice about pregnancy
  • There is a risk of passing on a condition such as sickle cell disease to your baby
  • you regularly take medicines and want to get pregnant – some medicines can affect a pregnancy
  • you are 36 years old or over and want to get pregnant

Page last reviewed: 2 December 2020
Next review due: 2 December 2023