As my husband and I try for our second baby, I've promised myself one thing: I won't get obsessive. We'll have sex often, and I'll let nature take its course. Of course, that didn't last long, and now I'm peeing on ovulation sticks and marking my calendar. In order to maximize my chances of getting pregnant, I'm curious — do certain sex positions make it easier to conceive?
Turns out, it really doesn't matter how you get it done, as long as, you know, you get it done. Heather Bartos, MD and Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FACOG), tells Romper that doctors have never nailed down that a certain position makes it easier to conceive. "Having sex at the right time of your monthly cycle does make it easier," she suggests.
Dr. Peter Chandler, Medical Director of Natividad Medical Center's obstetrics and gynecology department agrees with Bartos. "I could not find any sex positions or post-sex actions that help conception," he says, but notes that women should realize they are fertile six days each cycle. "This includes five days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation. The highest probability of conception occurs the day you actually ovulate and the day before ovulation."
In short? It's all about timing and making sure conditions are favorable to conception. Dr. Sheeva Talebian, OB-GYN and Reproductive Endocrinologist at CCRM New York tells Romper that no sex position is going to make it easier for sperm to swim, it's really your cervical mucus that does that. "Cervical mucus during the peak ovulatory time serves as a sponge for sperm and is sticky and stringy," Talebian says. "When you have sex, the mucus soaks up those little swimmers and allows them to continue swimming 'upstream' into the uterus and towards the tubes where they can meet the egg."
Many women worry about certain sex positions making it possible for the sperm to "leak out," like if a woman is on top of her partner, but Talebian says not to worry about that either. "Inevitably, much of the ejaculatory fluid flushes out of the vaginal canal, like during withdrawal, when you stand up, or even if you continue laying down," she says. "But regardless of your sexual position, once your partner ejaculates in your vaginal canal, a good portion of the sperm is absorbed by the cervical mucus. There is a ton of fluid that houses the sperm, and that fluid is largely what is flushed out."
So don't force yourself into a missionary position or refuse to try your favorite sex positions because you're worried about conceiving. As long as you're timing sex to meet ovulation (which means your cervical mucus should also be good to go), you're giving yourself your best chance. The trick is to figure out when you're ovulating so you can maximize your chances. And don't worry about doing a headstand after you're done, either — that sperm is already making its way to your egg. Gravity doesn't really win here.