There are plenty of myths floating around the internet about trying to conceive, so you're probably wondering — what should you do after sex to get pregnant? Some of the ideas out there not only lack scientific credibility — they're actually harmful. For instance, douching can hurt your chances of getting pregnant by negatively impacting the vaginal environment, reported WebMD. (Though I hope you're not douching — it's not the 50s, after all.) What can you do to increase your chances of pregnancy, besides having sex often and at the right time?
"While no studies we know of will attribute a specific percentage of increased rate of conception, I believe that if the uterus is in a specific position just after intercourse, then yes, you may increase your chance of conception," writes Mingxue Yang, M.D., Ph.D. of the New Hope Fertility Center in an email interview with Romper. He suggests hugging your knees to your chest, or putting your legs up the wall to get the uterus into an inverted position. Why might this work? Such positioning "may better allow the sperm to settle around the egg it will fertilize." He further notes that sperm can last inside the uterus for up to five days.
Truthfully, besides some inversion yoga, there's not much you can do after sex to encourage a pregnancy. (Nor during, though WebMD's experts advised against standing sex positions if you want to get pregnant.) The good news is that there's plenty you can do beforehand, if you're looking to better your chances.
"Couples who want to get pregnant should prepare ahead of time by changing to a healthy diet," writes Dr. Pat Salber, a former ER physician who runs The Doctor Weighs In. She recommends something along the lines of The Mediterranean Diet to manage your health. (According to Mayo Clinic, this diet is also great for your heart.) Additionally, she encourages couples to increase their physical activity. If you've fallen out of the exercise habit, a long walk is an excellent way to start.
According to Salber, both men and women should maintain a healthy weight if they hope to conceive, because both sexes can experience "obesity-linked hormonal changes" that reduce fertility. Men not at an ideal weight may also show less interest in sex.
In addition to making it easier to conceive, staying healthy has many benefits down the line. As Salber notes, "Good nutrition and healthy weight will go a long way toward the goal of a healthy pregnancy and most importantly, a healthy baby."
Preconception care matters. At New Hope Fertility, Dr. Yang recommends prenatal vitamins with folic acid, and a CoQ10 supplement for women trying to conceive. According to Parents, some very encouraging studies of this enzyme suggest that it enhances fertility, especially if you're older. Just don't buy any old jar off Amazon.
"It's important to know that not all supplements are created equal," Yang writes in an email with Romper, and patients should always discuss any specific supplements they're taking with their doctor.
So if you're hoping to be pregnant soon, eat right, take your vitamins — and get those hips up after sex.