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If you and your partner ready to start a family, you might be wondering what you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant sooner rather than later. From taking care of your own health to the timing (and position) of sex, here’s what you need to know as you start trying to conceive.
Are certain sex positions better for getting pregnant?
The short answer is: no.
“There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that one sex position over the other increases the chances of conception,” says Dr. Jill McDevitt, resident sexologist at CalExotics and author of Sex Positions for Every Body. “Pregnancy is possible in any sex position, and there’s no empirical evidence that the position changes the probability one way or the other.”
She notes one study found that ejaculation during missionary and rear entry/doggy style positions get the sperm close to the cervix, which, in theory, might help with conception, but McDevitt points out the entire study “was just one couple, and sperm being close to the cervix doesn’t necessarily translate to increased likelihood of conception.”
Fertility doctors and co-founders of Dreams Fertility, Dr. Joel Batzofin and Dr. Luis Murrain, agree.
“There is no sexual position that has been proven to increase the likelihood of achieving a pregnancy,” Murrain says.
Adds Batzofin: “There is no preferred position for intercourse. It is important ejaculation happens high in the vagina, to bathe the cervix in the highest possible concentrations of sperm. The sperm once ejaculated, still have to bypass the cervix and make their way to the upper reproductive tract, where fertilization takes place. So the position of intercourse is relatively irrelevant.”
While Batzofin says a position that helps ejaculation high in the vagina “is helpful,” he adds, “Most of the sex positional myths are just that—myths, which simply serve to increase the anxiety, without really adding anything.”
So if doggy-style doesn’t really help increase your odds of making a baby, what does?
Take care of your health
Make sure both you and your partner are maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“The first focus should be on taking good care of yourself,” Murrain says. “Do what you can to optimize your health—eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise. Work with your physician to maintain good control of any chronic medical condition you may have.”
Also, understand that it may take longer than you expect.
“It can be stressful and frustrating when you want to have a baby and it doesn’t happen right away,” Murrain says. “While it seems like it should be natural and straight-forward, conception is actually a very complex process, and there are many things that can interrupt the process and make it difficult to achieve a pregnancy.”
If you have been trying to for more than six months and haven’t achieved a pregnancy, Murrain suggests reaching out to your trusted health care provider or a fertility specialist.
Have sex during your most fertile time of the month
“The biggest determinant of success with sex, is that it happens with regularity during the fertile window,” Batzofin says. “For women with regular periods, this window is from day 10 to 20 (day 1 is the first day of bleeding). Ovulation should happen in that fertile window.”
As for often to have sex, Batzofin recommends every two days. “However, couples dealing with fertility issues are under a lot of stress to begin with. Leading them into weird positional changes and frequency requirements can serve to add to their stress.” Which, in turn, doesn’t increase your ability to conceive; in fact, stress will lower your odds.
So, when in doubt, have sex during that fertile window when it feels right to both you and your partner.