When it comes to trying to conceive, couples are often inundated with a barrage of old wives’ tales, myths, tips, and tricks that generally aren’t backed by clinical research. Regardless, we all want to know whether there are certain sex positions to get pregnant faster.
There’s no magic way to get the sperm and the egg together and to ensure that happening,” says infertility specialist Joshua Hurwitz, MD, OB/GYN with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT). “There are a lot of urban legends floating around out there that do a disservice to couples, because they feel like they’re not doing it right, and that’s why they’re not getting pregnant.”
Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence — and yes, even science — supports trying a few positions before, during, and after sex to set the stage for an easier, and perhaps an even more successful, attempt at getting pregnant. Here, 8 to consider adding to your babymaking repertoire.
Spooning BEFORE Sex
Snuggling in a spooning position — or however you like to warm up the engine and get sparks flying — can lend itself to successful babymaking. “Sperm counts in the ejaculate often will be increased if a man has more arousal rather than less,” Hurwitz notes. “So, in quicker ejaculation, probably the sperm hasn’t had enough time to concentrate in the ejaculate. If men warm up, so to speak, through foreplay, not only will it fuel arousal, it also probably load the ejaculate with increased levels of sperm.” Not that this means a guy with a lower sperm count will benefit from “holding off,” but for men with a normal sperm count, forgoing foreplay and “ejaculating too quickly will deprive them of their best shot.
Having your partner enter you from behind while you’re either lying on your abdomen, kneeling, or you’re lying side-by-side could potentially promote a better shot at getting pregnant, as research published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found this position allows the penis to reach the recess at back of the cervix and, therefore, may allow sperm to be ejaculated closer to the cervix.
Positioning yourself on your hands and knees and having your partner enter you from behind, aka “doggy style,” is pretty much a guaranteed route to deep penetration — which could help sperm get even closer to the egg. Also interestingly, some experts advise women with a tipped uterus to try this position to conceive.
NOT Standing Up
Because you want the sperm to travel upstream, it’s best to avoid having sex standing up. While doing it this way absolutely won’t prevent you from getting pregnant, contrary to popular teen sex mythology, you don’t want the sperm to have to work against gravity, either.
Like standing, sitting — or woman on top — could have a gravity-defying effect that may not be ideal for babymaking.
The time-honored standard position is considered one of the best for conception, because if you’re lying on your back, the vagina is tilted downward toward the cervix, which may make it easier for the sperm to get through the cervix and into the uterus. “Placing a pillow under your pelvis during intercourse in the missionary position may increase the upward tilt of the vagina, potentially improving reception of semen,” notes reproductive endocrinologist Anate Brauer, MD, OB/GYN. Plus, sticking to the tried-and-true may take pressure off. “If people feel more relaxed having sex in a certain way, and they’re more comfortable, and they’re not white-knuckling the encounter, that goes a long way,” Hurwitz notes.
Lying on Your Back AFTER Sex
Lying on your back to increase your chances of getting pregnant is one of those tips women hear time and again. The truth of the matter: “It is recommended that a woman do this for 5 to 10 minutes,” explains fertility specialist Sonia Elguero, MD, of Albany IVF in Albany, New York. That’s because it could help the sperm to gain access to the cervix. Research related to intrauterine insemination (IUI) found that procedure is actually more effective if the woman remains on her back for 15 minutes. That said, whether you do it for 5 or 15, it’s not absolutely necessary.
Whatever Position Floats Your Boat
“You have to make sure that there’s adequate arousal for both members of the couple, because if sex is not pleasant or it’s uncomfortable for a woman with decreased lubrication, well, then there may not be as much penetration as there could be,” Hurwitz says. “Unfortunately, in the fertility journey, it’s a lot of business-oriented sex rather than fun-oriented sex. People feel like it’s a job, and they have to get it done in the next 10 minutes and move on.” Obviously, seeing sex as a task can make the whole effort fall flat. For that reason, in the end, it’s always best to stick with whatever position (or tricks!) work best for you and your partner.