When you are trying to conceive and doing your research on the subject, you will often come across the phrases “well-timed intercourse” or “timed intercourse.” The two statements mean the same thing, but what do they actually mean?

Well-timed intercourse simply refers to having sex at the optimal time and frequency to achieve a pregnancy.

Contrary to popular belief, that does not mean every day. Sperm counts go down when there is an increased frequency of ejaculation, making it harder to get pregnant. Plus, making sex into “work” at that level of intensity puts pressure on you as a couple, both physically and emotionally.

Here are the steps to ensuring you are having well-timed intercourse when you are trying to conceive:

  • Determine the days you are most likely to be ovulating. To determine when you are ovulating, chart your periods. You are most fertile halfway through your cycle. That means if you have a 28 day cycle, you are most fertile on days 13 through 15 (day one is the first day of your last period). If you have an irregular period, you might need to use an ovulation predictor test, test your cervical mucus or track your basal temperature. Keep in mind, different factors can affect ovulation. It’s not an exact science, but it will help maximize your chances of having intercourse when there is a ripe egg waiting.
  • Make sure you are having sex at least every other day during ovulation. An ovum survives 12 to 24 hours, but sperm can last from three to five days. That means there is about a five to seven day window to focus on. It is recommended to begin having sex at least every other day from five days before ovulation to one day after. Do this, and you can be sure you are having “well-timed” intercourse.

Well-timed intercourse is often the first step taken when couples suspect infertility. If you have been having well-timed intercourse for six months to a year without conceiving, see a fertility specialist. There may be other factors interfering with conception that require medical treatment.