When you’re trying to conceive, it is worth giving anything a go that you think will boost your chances. But it pays to bear in mind that the human race has been around for over 200,000 years and most of us were probably conceived without our ancestors investing too much thought into the mechanics.
Science has proven that successful conception isn’t so much about sexual position as the frequency of sex between a fertile couple. Basically, if you want to fall pregnant, don’t use contraception and have frequent, active and enjoyable sex. Importantly, don’t stress too much about whether you’re doing it the right way.
Women can, and do, conceive in any position. Nature has a way of making sure of that.
How does it happen again?
It’s important to maintain a realistic approach to conceiving. All it takes is one sperm to successfully fertilise an egg, unless there is a multiple pregnancy of course. Each sperm has one agenda, to get to the egg first. Having to swim upwards or downwards, across or sideways is unlikely to make much of a difference.
Sperm are amazingly resilient, capable of living for up to five days after they have left the man’s body. Once they have swum their way through the woman’s cervix and into her womb, their single goal is to keep swimming towards the fallopian tubes, which is where fertilisation usually occurs. So, although it may help in the immediate post sex period to have a little lie down, being flat on your back for five days would not only be uncomfortable, but unrealistic as well. Sperm really can and do have a habit of looking after themselves.
Although these suggestions are unlikely to boost your chances of conceiving by much, they are unlikely to hurt either.
What might help to conceive?
Aiming for the man to ejaculate as deeply as possible into the woman’s vagina. This means that the smallest amount of semen escapes and is retained as close to the cervix as possible.
The woman can try lying on her back with her lower back positioned on a small pillow for around 20-30 minutes. This will help to tilt the vagina backwards so the semen pools around her cervix. There is some disagreement about whether this is an effective strategy or not. But it does not seem to do any harm either.
Avoid standing up immediately after having sex. Gravity causes the semen to leak from the vagina so staying flat helps to keep it in.
Some women believe that avoiding going to the bathroom and doing a wee straight after sex helps them to conceive. Whether this is true or not is open to debate, though it does support the theory of lying down for a while after you’ve had sex.
Lying on your side also fosters deep penetrative sex. Use pillows to tilt your pelvis so that your vagina is tilting downwards.
Try putting your knees or legs up after sex to boost gravity’s influence. Some women swear that their chances of conceiving were helped by placing their legs upwards on the wall next to their bed.
What doesn’t help to conceive?
Having sex while standing or sitting up. In either of these positions, gravity will be working against you and the semen will be more likely to drain from your vagina.
Using contraception. Simple as it sounds, it’s important to stop using all forms of contraception if you’re trying to conceive.
When the male does not ejaculate into the woman’s vagina. In order for the sperm to find their way to the egg, they need to be deposited as close as possible to the cervix. Simple but true.
Having irregular or infrequent sex.
Making sex a chore with only one focus, i.e. to conceive a baby. It can be a real turn off to some partners if they feel their sole purpose is simply to become a sperm donor. Keep a sense of balance about the whole conception issue and don’t let it eclipse everything else going on in your life.
When the egg is no longer fertile. There is a window of time – a few days before ovulation until about 12-24 hours after ovulation – when the egg is most capable of being fertilised. If you miss this, then you’ll need to wait for another month at least to maximise your chancing of conceiving.
Worrying and feeling tense. It’s important to enjoy sexual relationships and be as relaxed as possible. When you’re trying to conceive, it’s likely you’ll be watching your cycles but, where possible, maintain a sense of fun and pleasure.
Remember, gravity is your best friend when you’re trying to conceive.