The Truth About Sexual Positions and Getting Pregnant

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on February 20, 2022
passionate hands on bed

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 guy on top
  • From behind, aka doggy style

After Intercourse

Can anything you do right after sex make pregnancy more possible? Again, there’s little scientific proof for that. But several common sense steps may give the sperm a fighting chance 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. It 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.

High-Impact Exercise

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.

Show Sources


Fertility and Sterility: “Optimizing Natural Fertility: A Committee Opinion.”

Anate Aelion Brauer, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Greenwich Fertility, and assistant professor, NYU School of Medicine.

Joshua Hurwitz, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut.

BMJ: “Immobilization Versus Immediate Mobilization After Intrauterine Insemination: Randomized Controlled Trial.”

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