Most women know that having strong pelvic floor muscles is an important part of their health and a better sex life, and daily Kegel exercises are a great place to start. Kegels are a workout for your pelvic floor muscles, which support your uterus, bladder, rectum, and urethra. It's recommended that you contract these muscles with three sets of 10 reps a day for optimum pelvic floor health, according to Mayo Clinic. But could all that squeezing help when trying to conceive (TTC)? If it strengthens your muscles, you're probably wondering, "Should I do Kegels after sex to get pregnant?"
"There is no scientific proof, nor study that proves doing Kegel exercises post-intercourse will encourage sperm to traverse further up the vaginal canal and enter the cervix more efficiently," women’s health acupuncturist Kristen Burris, L.Ac says in an email interview. And Burris shared more bad news, that in fact, many experts feel Kegels can "propel sperm and cervical fluid down and out, the exact opposite direction" you want the sperm to travel.
In light of this news, Burris offers some other tips and insights about TTC and increasing your chances, including trying to relax. Everyone knows that’s much easier said than done, but it’s important. "Trying to conceive can be emotionally, physically, and financially taxing for couples … relax about it and try to abstain from military precision, or stress hormones may increase that ultimately decrease your overall ability to conceive," Burris suggests.
One fun way to reduce stress? Having an orgasm. "If you can have an orgasm [during or right after intercourse], do so. Not only can that momentum potentially encourage sperm towards your cervix, but the feel-good hormones, including oxytocin, significantly reduce cortisol — which is the number one stress hormone that causes a cascade of hormonal disruption in women," she says. "Orgasms not only reduce stress, but also increase estrogen, which in turn helps build uterine lining and keeps us menstruating."
And because orgasms and oxytocin keep you happy, it’s easier for you to get in the mood. "Happy couples want to have intercourse, so it’s less stress, more compatibility, and more opportunities to conceive," Burris adds.
Burris also suggests increasing your water intake to 64 ounces a day, which will help enhance your cervical fluid, and make it easier for the swimmers to get to where they need to go. And while you’re being healthy by staying hydrated, why not add some dark, leafy greens to your diet, too? "Sperm likes an alkaline environment. Eating dark leafy greens or drinking an antioxidant drink that combines super fruits and vegetables with herbs to enhance fertility and combat oxidative stress, enhances the environment for sperm to thrive," she says.
Burris also suggests supplemental help to increase your cervical fluid. "Consider taking evening primrose oil (1,200 milligrams daily) to increase the production of prostaglandin E,1 thereby reducing inflammation. [Primrose oil] has been known to increase cervical fluid in women who previously had scanty or none at all," she says. Burris warns to make sure you’re diligent when choosing which company you purchase your oils from, because it’s "critical for quality, safe manufacturing practices," and it ensures you’re not getting cheaper oils with no therapeutic benefits.
Although there are no official studies, "raise your hips for a while post-intercourse," Burris recommends. "It’s common sense to reduce gravity while trying to allow the most amount of sperm to get where it's needed to fertilize an egg." Burris says this tactic is recommended in all of the "most respected fertility centers post IUIs (intra-uterine inseminations) and post IVF (in-vitro fertilizations), and therefore shall also be encouraged at home."
Even though having strong pelvic floor muscles are important for labor and overall vaginal health, it’s probably not a good idea to practice them right after you have intercourse while TTC — you want everything to go where it’s supposed to ... and not end up on your sheets.