If you’re trying to have a baby, you’ll probably want to do everything to make it happen as quickly as possible. One thing you and your partner might wonder is, does sexual position matter? Can having sex a certain way help your chances of conception?
What the Science Shows
Here’s the myth-busting truth. No particular sex position has been proven to improve the odds of pregnancy. What may help is to put sperm as close to the cervix -- the canal that connects the vagina and the womb -- as possible.
One way to do that is to make sure that the penis goes in deep during intercourse. Along with full penetration, two sex styles are ideal for depositing the sperm right at the opening of the cervix:
- Missionary, or penetration from the top
- From behind, aka doggy style
Can anything you do right after sex make pregnancy more possible? Again, there’s little scientific proof for that. But several commonsense steps may help the sperm on their journey to reach and fertilize an egg.
Lie still. Doing this for a spell can help sperm get where they’re going. About 10-15 minutes should do it. Then, empty your bladder to help flush away any germs hanging out near your urethra that could lead to a urinary tract infection.
Prop your pelvis. Tuck a pillow under your hips after sex so that gravity can move semen toward your uterus. Again, 10 to 15 minutes of this is enough.
Put legs up. Rest with your legs up a wall, which is another way to let gravity assist the sperm.
You might sometimes notice moisture on your underwear or on the toilet paper after sex. It’s likely semen, the liquid part of sperm. Rest assured that healthy sperm are determined little swimmers. By 10 to 15 minutes after sex, they’re already in your uterus and traveling toward the fallopian tubes. So don’t let leakage get you down.
What to Avoid
It’s just fine to get up after sex and go about your normal day. But you might want to avoid a couple of things, or at least hold off a bit.
Your vagina does a fabulous job of cleaning itself, so no need to douche. Douching might even strip healthy bacteria in the vagina that guard against yeast infections. You don’t want to flush semen out of the vagina at a time when you want as many sperm as possible to reach your egg.
No scientific evidence shows that vigorous physical activity lowers your chances of conception after sex. But you may feel more comfortable or be less likely to second-guess yourself if you skip heavy workouts after a roll in the hay.
Some store-bought, commercial lubricants might negatively affect sperm quality and their ability to move up the cervix or slow them down. This can make it harder for the sperm to reach the egg to fertilize it. It's best to avoid store-bought lubricants. Additionally, don't use saliva, coconut oil, or olive oil for lubrication.
But some fertility treatments and medications can make your vagina drier. If you're looking to use a lubricant when you're trying to conceive, look for "hydroxyethylcellulose-based lubricants." It's similar in texture to the mucus your vagina naturally produces. Also, it doesn't slow down the sperm. You can also use mineral oil or canola oil if necessary. Check with your doctor before you give it a try.
Are There Sex Positions for Not Getting Pregnant?
There are lots of myths or misconceptions about whether certain sex positions are more or less likely to help you get pregnant. But research shows that you can get pregnant by having sex in almost any position. This includes positions thought to be "gravity-defying" like a cowgirl position, reverse cowgirl, standing, or sitting on the lap. That's because once the sperm enters your vagina, it travels to the fallopian tubes in a matter of minutes to fertilize the egg.
Basically, more than the position you have sex in, timing your intercourse during a fertile window is most effective when you're trying to get pregnant.