Having Official Baby-making Sex is already stressful enough without having to wonder if you're doing it right. So you know that one position where someone ejaculates inside you? That's the one that works.
But what if you want to help that sperm really get up in there? Are certain positions better than others? Should you do that thing where you keep your legs raised for 20 minutes afterward? Is it okay to pee right after? Here's what the experts say:
Are certain positions better than others?
Depends on who you ask. There's no research pointing to one being clearly better than another, but there are some that "may help your efforts," according to Dr. Amos Grunebaum, Director of Obstetrics and Chief of Labor and Delivery at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Dr. Grunebaum recommends good old missionary. "Most sperm are strong swimmers but giving them an extra edge by having gravity on their side doesn't hurt. Doggy style also allows for deep penetration which deposits sperm close to the cervix upon ejaculation," he says. "Ultimately your goal is to have the sperm deposited as close to the cervix as possible to improve chances of conception."
Does it really matter if we do it at the "right" time of the month?
Yeah, pretty much. "The single biggest factor that can make a difference for most couples is making sure to have sex in the two to three days just before a woman ovulates. These are the days when chances for pregnancy are highest. Even if you and your partner are both very fertile, if you miss having sex on these days, you're really hurting your chances," says Dr. Maureen Cronin, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Ava, a women's health medical technology company. And even if the exact day range may vary depending on who you ask, the general advice is pretty clear: Right before and during ovulation is your best bet.
Should you wait to go to the bathroom after sex?
Go ahead and pee. "Peeing after sex has no effect on your chances of getting pregnant. This is because immediately after ejaculation, about 65 percent of sperm are already traveling to the cervix. The remaining 35 percent will remain in the vagina and eventually fall out sometime in the next few minutes or hours. So, by the time you pee, the fastest swimmers already made their way to the cervix and the ones that fall out when you pee were going to fall out anyway," says Dr. Cronin. "If you're someone who generally practices peeing after sex to prevent UTIs, it's perfectly fine to continue doing so. In fact, it would be beneficial, because a UTI can definitely make it difficult to have sex during your fertile window and become pregnant."
Does it help to stay in a certain position after?
You do *not* have to do that thing where you lift your legs for 20 minutes after. "The sperm will swim up to the uterus regardless of what position you're in after sex. Old myths about lifting your legs up a wall or stay lying down after sex have no impact on your likelihood of getting pregnant," says Dr. Cronin. So! Pee and get comfy, basically.
Should you prop a pillow under your back during?
It's more of a "could" than a "should." "Having your partner put a pillow under your lower back is a loving gesture but it will not increase your chances of conceiving," says Armando Hernandez-Rey MD, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at Conceptions Florida.
Should you elevate your hips, during or afterward?
Meh. If you want. "It's not scientifically proven to increase the odds of conception, but it doesn't hurt anything either, so have at it if it makes you feel better," says Kelly Park, founder of FertilitySmarts.
Does it help to have him "save up" his sperm?
Sperm doesn't get better with age like wine, so have at it. "Have sex more often," says Dr. David Diaz, Reproductive Endocrinologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center.
"Many couples believe they should save up the man's sperm until the most fertile day of the woman's cycle but in reality, the complete opposite is true." This is especially helpful if you're not quite sure EXACTLY when you're ovulating. If you wait 'til you think you're ovulating and you're wrong, you could miss your most fertile window.
Dr. Diaz recommends doing it three to four times a week as a simple way to increase the odds of pregnancy, but if that sounds kind of overwhelming (yes), give yourselves a break and just try to aim for the period right before and during ovulation. That way if you're off by a day or two, you'll have "buffer sex" to up your odds. Mmmm, buffer sex.
Bottom line: Remember that bit in biology about the sperm meeting the egg? As long as that goes down, you've done your part.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.