There are just so many to try...

By Ashley Mateo
Updated: April 17, 2019
Photo: Getty Images/ South_agency

Given the way you're taught to fear accidental pregnancy ("it only takes one time!!!" said every sex ed teacher ever), it can be pretty emotionally taxing on a couple that's actually ready to conceive when they don't get instant results. And considering the number of sex positions you can Google on the internet or flip through in any version of the Kama Sutra, it makes sense to wonder if there are a few sex positions that might help you get pregnant.

So, do sex positions to get pregnant exist? "As an infertility specialist, I can tell you with unequivocal certainty that pregnancy occurs when sperm enters the female reproductive tract through the vagina. That's it," says Mark Trolice, M.D. a reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility CARE and a clinical associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and the University of Central Florida in Orlando. "They're all the same! The goal is sperm in the vagina." Um OK well, there you have it.

Why are there so many different positions you can pretzel yourself into in bed? It's just the human species' way of attempting to add more pleasure and variety-they have no effect on fertility.

There are a *couple* things that could make conceiving easier, though. For starters, "any position where the woman is more supine (flat) can help prevent leaking of the semen after ejaculation, which can, in essence, improve pregnancy chances," says ob-gyn Heather Bartos, M.D. Hello, good ol' missionary. "Sperm are strong little dudes-and those flagella (or tails) help propel them forward to the ovary where they'll meet the egg." (FYI, Yes, You Really Can Have an Allergy to Semen.)

That said, laying down in a pelvic tilt (pillows under the pelvis) after sex in any position for 15 minutes or so can maximize those sperms' chances, she adds. "One study showed that women who remained supine for 15 minutes after IVF had approximately 50 percent higher conceptions rates (27 percent compared to 17 percent)," says Kimberly Langdon, M.D., an ob-gyn and medical advisor at Medzino, a digital health startup.

The shape of your uterus could affect what positions work best, too. "In a normally tilted uterus, the missionary position favors sperm movement toward the lowest point of the vagina near the cervix, presumably due to gravity," says Dr. Langdon. "Depositing the sperm near the cervical opening is crucial for sperm viability and in helping the sperm enter the cervical canal that opens into the uterine cavity."

In that case, positions that allow for deeper penetration can help get the sperm closer to the cervix so they won't have to swim as far, explains Wendasha Jenkins Hall, Ph.D., a sex educator and researcher. "Doggy-style is one position allows for deeper penetration," she says. "The rear entry and positioning of the female (on hands and knees) allows for sperm to be deposited closer to the cervix." You can also modify missionary by placing your legs on your partner's shoulders or placing a pillow under your butt to help get deeper penetration and place sperm closer to the cervix, she adds.

But don't freak out about your interior angles. "A tilted uterus is fairly common, but during intercourse, increased blood flow should straighten out the uterus a bit to allow for potential conception," says Dr. Bartos. "And the length of the vagina-about three to four inches-is enough of a chute to aim the semen to the cervical opening."

And here's a fun little tidbit you can share with your partner: A position that results in an orgasm for the woman-preferably simultaneously with her partner's ejaculation-is going to increase the chances of a sperm meeting an egg. "The reason is simple," explains Langdon. "An orgasm causes the uterus and fallopian tubes to contract, which propels the sperm toward the egg in one of the fallopian tubes. And oxytocin release from the brain at the time of orgasm causes uterine peristalsis (contractions that move contents rhythmically). This pumping mechanism is critical for sperm transport, or insuck." (Related: The Best Sex Positions for Clitoral Stimulation)

But at the end of the day, getting pregnant is more about when you do it than how you do it. "When you're ovulating-your most fertile time-your cervical mucus is accommodating to sperm," says Dr. Hall. "The healthiest and fastest sperm goes right into this mucus, which is transported through the cervix and up into the uterus."

Sperm can actually live in the uterus (and continue their journey) for several days after intercourse. "Having sex every other day allows for the man to rebuild his sperm count, as men make new sperm every 48-72 hours," says Dr. Bartos.

Bottom line? If you're having sex with the aim of conceiving, it doesn't matter how sperm enters the vagina, just that it does-and of course, that it feels good and doesn't cause any pain, says Dr. Trolice. "The only wrong sex position is if either person has discomfort," he adds. (Next up, check out these Safe Sex Positions During Pregnancy That Still Offer Serious Pleasure.)

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