Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Will certain sexual positions help raise my likelihood of conception?

        Health | Conception

Hoping to get pregnant tonight? A couple of positions in this article could do the trick.
Hoping to get pregnant tonight? A couple of positions in this article could do the trick.
©iStockphoto.com/Thinkstock

They say variety is the spice of life, and experimenting with different sexual positions can certainly add a little spark to your love life. But say you want to get pregnant. Are there specific sexual positions that will actually help you get a baby on board?

Well, the answer is, yes and no. Women have been known to get pregnant employing almost any position imaginable. You can thank Charles Darwin's "survival of the species" notion for that. However, there are certain positions that, even anecdotally, appear to take advantage of a few laws of nature.

Take gravity. Sperm cells have a tough enough voyage to begin with. Why not get a little assist from gravity? Many fertility experts recommend any position where the cervix and uterus are actually lower than the vaginal opening, encouraging sperm to move downward. This can be done in the traditional "missionary" position, with the man on top, and further enhanced with a pillow or other padded surface under the woman's hips (sometimes referred to as the "butt lift").

Similarly, the "doggy style" position, with the woman on all fours and her chest well below her hips (perhaps with a pillow beneath her abdomen), and the man entering from behind, is also generally considered beneficial. Many experts also recommend that the woman remain in these positions for upwards of 10 minutes or more after ejaculation, even after her partner has exited, to encourage gravitational pull.

Furthermore, these positions allow deeper penetration, which can actually make for a shorter trip for a sperm cell, as they allow men to climax closer to the opening of the cervix. Dr. Martin Bastuba suggests that older men (above the age of 40) remain inside their partners for a minute or two following orgasm, since their ejaculation may not be as powerful [source: EmpowerHer.com].

Conversely, positions where the woman is in a dominant position (on top), sitting or even standing, will have just the opposite effect with regards to gravity (though some do lend themselves to deep penetration). However, women who have tilted uteruses and men sporting curved penises might find those positions more comfortable, and more pleasure translates to more sex, which in turn can't hurt your odds of conception.

It's important to understand that when you have sex is more important than what position you choose. Dr. Donnica Moore, a women's health expert from New Jersey, told WebMD that couples looking to conceive will want to set aside time just before and during a woman's ovulation period -- typically beginning a the midpoint of the menstrual cycle -- since sperm can survive for several days after being released.

All that being said, there are certain practices that experts believe can reduce the chances of getting pregnant:

  • Too much of a good thing. Having sex daily, or several times a day, might be enjoyable, but it's not always efficient if your goal is to get pregnant. Men (especially older partners) need some time to replenish their sperm count. Instead, try having sex every other day around your ovulation period, so your partner will have both renewed energy and a revitalized "stock."
  • Douching after sex. Cervical fluid is the conduit for sperm to travel to the egg. Douching can not only create a less sperm-friendly pH balance, but can also wash away cervical fluids that actually aid sperm mobility [source: WebMD].
  • Artificial obstacles. There are many ingenious items that have been developed to make sex more enticing -- including lubricants, such as oils and gels, and even the time-honored hot tub. None, unfortunately, are conducive to getting pregnant. Keep it natural [source: Conceiving Concepts].
  • High anxiety. Don't ever discount the mind/body connection. When you're tense and nervous, your body isn't performing at an optimal state. Keep things fun and lively with your partner. That's when your body operates best. When great sex leads to pregnancy for couples wanting children, that's a true win/win.

Peruse the links and resources on the next page for more information on conception and fertility.