8 Sex Questions You Might Have When Trying to Conceive

Trying to get pregnant? Experts answer your top questions about fertility, ovulation, baby-making sex, and everything in between.  

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Trying to conceive can be a stressful experience. You'll find plenty of contradictory and confusing information about the entire baby-making process, leaving you with plenty of questions: Which sex positions are best for conception? Should I have sex at certain times of the day? Does an orgasm help you get pregnant? Here, we spoke with experts to answer these questions—and more—about having sex to conceive.

Does Having an Orgasm Help You Get Pregnant?

Some experts believe that uterine contractions during orgasm may help propel sperm into the cervix. But one thing is certain: The tingles and flood of oxytocin during orgasm definitely make you feel relaxed, which means you've already cleared the biggest baby-making blocker— stress. The better the sex, the better the chances of conception, says reproductive physiologist Joanna Ellington, Ph.D., in the British documentary The Great Sperm Race. In fact, significantly more ejaculate is produced when a person is fully stimulated, according to research revealed in the program. That means having fun while doing the deed could result in a greater likelihood of conception.

Do Certain Sex Positions Help My Chances of Conceiving?

No matter how they get there, sperm are present in the cervical canal just seconds after ejaculation, according to Optimizing natural fertility, a committee opinion by the Practice Committee of American Society for Reproductive Medicine, in collaboration with the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. That means your favorite position is the best one for conceiving, says Shari Brasner, M.D., OB-GYN at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital. "There is no rationale for sex to be uncomfortable or awkward."

Can Oral Sex Hurt Your Chances of Conceiving?

Technically saliva can interfere with your cervical mucus and alter the pH in your vaginal tract, potentially making it inhospitable to sperm. However, it's unlikely that it would negatively impact your chances of conceiving unless your partner already had a low sperm count.

Is Hot Tub Sex a Bad Idea When Trying To Conceive?

Hot tubs are typically factory programmed at 104 degrees. At that heat, it takes only 10 to 20 minutes to raise the body temperature, including the testicles, to 102 degrees or higher, according to the American Pregnancy Association. High temperatures like these can temporarily lead to a decrease in sperm count and motility.

Can Gravity Help You Conceive?

Some people think that lying on their back with their hips elevated for 20 minutes after sex will help ensure that sperm can reach the egg, but the belief has no scientific foundation. It can't hurt, though, so if you find it a relaxing position, feel free to give it a try, says Melissa M. Goist, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Medical Center.

Will Lubricants Help Sperm Reach the Egg?

Your cervical mucus moves sperm along very well on its own. That said, a lubricant can make sex more comfortable, which could improve your chances of conceiving overall. Consider choosing a fertility-friendly lubricant though; the regular variety has been shown to impair sperm's movement through the reproductive tract.

Is There an Ideal Time To Have Conception Sex?

According to Dr. Goist, the best time to have intercourse is in the morning when you're both rested. When asleep, the body regenerates sperm lost during the day. In actuality, though, the day you have sex is actually more important than the time.

Sperm can live five days in the reproductive tract, and an egg survives for 12-24 hours after ovulation. Therefore, conception is most likely if you have sex on the day of ovulation or the five days leading up to it, says Rashmi Kudesia, M.D., an OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at Houston Methodist and Houston IVF.

People can track this "fertile window" by using ovulation predictor kits, keeping a menstrual diary, charting their basal body temperature, or monitoring cervical mucus. Check out this article for more information on finding your fertile window when trying to conceive.

How Often Should You Have Sex for the Best Chances of Conceiving?

As long as your partner has a normal sperm count, you'll have the best shot of conceiving if you have sex every one-two days during your fertile window. However, busy schedules can make that goal difficult for many people, so don't be discouraged if you're not always on schedule.

And remember that conception takes time: Young people (under age 30) only have a 25% chance of conception per month, even with perfect timing and no interfering factors, says Dr. Kudesia. People in their 40s have a less than 5% chance of conception each month.

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