Sex = babies, right? Actually, it's surprising as many people get pregnant as they do. If everything is in working order for both partners and the timing is just right, you still only have a 25% chance of egg + sperm = pregnancy. Many people believe that there are a few things you can do to improve your odds while trying.
Timing is Everything
When our mothers warned us it could happen the first time no matter when we had sex, they were mostly trying to scare us. Granted, it can happen, but the best time to get pregnant is when you're ovulating–usually somewhere between days 12 and 20 of your cycle. There's a whole science to determining when you're ovulating – you can pee on a stick, check your cervical mucus, or chart your temperature. Find out which fertility test and monitor works best for you and circle the day on your calendar.
Sex every day when you're ovulating is ideal if the sperm count is good; if not, aim for every other day instead. Men should refrain from unproductive ejaculation for 48 hours prior to the woman's fertile time.
Get an Oil Change
While sperm can be pretty hardy, it doesn't take much to slow them down. Unfortunately, using most kinds of oils, lubricants or similar products can keep sperm from getting where it wants to go.
Even if your lubricant doesn't contain a spermicide (such as nonoxynol-9), it may contain other ingredients that can be toxic to sperm. A product named ConceivEase, developed by gynecologists, is the most fertility-friendly lubricant on the market.
Some kinds of sex play need to wait until later in the month when you're not trying to have a baby. Since saliva can slow down sperm on the way to meet the eggs, oral sex should be kept to minimum when trying to conceive.
Natural treatments such as vitamins and herbs which are thought to restore a woman's ovulation cycles and improve a man's sperm count can also be an important aspect of helping a couple get pregnant.
The issue of whether or not sex positions affect the chances of conception is controversial. There is no scientific evidence that coital poisitioning will improve your chances (ASRM). However, many people feel that, despite the fact that vaginal mucus is primarily responsible for moving sperm towards the egg, it's a good idea to give gravity a chance to aid the process.
Those who advocate optimizing sex positions to aid conception generally espouse the following:
Optimize your position
Any type of sex can result in conception, but if you're having trouble, woman on top may not be your best option. Toni Weschler, MS suggests that "if you have a tipped uterus, you may have better luck having intercourse from behind with the female on her hands and knees. Having intercourse in this position it allows the sperm better access to the cervix."
When you're done playing, stick a pillow under your hips and elevate them slightly for 15-20 minutes. You're increasing your odds and sperm swimming to the cervix. You don't have to put your legs in the air and you don't need an expensive "infertility pillow," either – just throw a towel over the pillow and get comfy. Again, this is more of a common sense measure that is not scientifically confirmed to produce results but it can't hurt.
Stay Out of the Water
Even if you're trying to jazz up the baby-making sex, nix the hot tub – for a couple of reasons. First, hot water decreases sperm production. And if you have sex in the water, there's a good chance that the sperm will end up swimming in the hot tub.
Was it Good for You?
Some folks believe the woman needs to have an orgasm on the theory that the contractions of her reproductive system may draw the sperm further toward the cervix and into the uterus, enhancing conception. There's no research to back that up, but it won't hurt, either. The male partner, however, should definitely ejaculate.
photo by Nisly