In this article
Are some sex positions better than others for conceiving?You may have heard that some positions, such as your partner on top (missionary position), are better than others for getting pregnant. In fact, there’s no evidence to back these theories up. Experts just haven’t done the research yet.
What experts have done, though, is use scanning to show what’s going on inside when you’re doing the deed. The research looked at two positions: the missionary position and doggy style (Schultz et al 1999, Faix et al 2002). (Doggy style being when you’re on all fours, and your partner enters you from behind).
Common sense tells us that these positions allow for deep penetration. This means that they’re more likely to place sperm right next to your cervix (the opening of your womb ).
The scans confirm that the tip of the penis reaches the areas between the cervix and vaginal walls in both of these positions. The missionary position allows the penis to reach the area at the front of the cervix. The rear entry position reaches the area at back of the cervix (Faix et al 2002).
It’s amazing what some experts spend their time doing, isn’t it! Other positions, such as standing up, or woman on top, may be just as good for getting sperm right next to the cervix. Or they may make no difference at all. We just don’t know yet.
So, in the meantime, enjoy some variety in your sex life and keep it fun while you’re trying for a baby. And talk to others who are hoping to get pregnant by joining our Actively trying group.
Do I have to have an orgasm to conceive?Obviously, it’s very important for your partner to reach orgasm if you are trying for a baby. There is no evidence, however, that you need to orgasm to conceive.
The female orgasm is all about pleasure and satisfaction. It doesn’t really help to get the sperm to the egg (Levin 2011, Basson 2013). Gentle contractions in your womb can help the sperm along, but these happen without you having an orgasm (Levin 2011).
So, it’s really not vital for you to reach orgasm in order to conceive.
Are there any sex positions that can help us conceive a boy or girl?There is no evidence, but lots of old wives’ tales! One claims that sex with the woman on top will lead to a girl, while sex with the man on top will produce a boy.
For more on what actually works, see our article what the scientists say about sex selection.
Inside pregnancy: girl or boy?
What decides whether you conceive a girl or a boy? Take a look at how girls and boys develop in the womb.More inside pregnancy videos
Should I stay lying down afterwards?It won’t hurt to try it. The semen is more likely to stay in your vagina and around your cervix than if you get up straight away. However, millions of sperm are released with every male orgasm, so there should be plenty in your vagina even if you do stand up immediately.
If you have the time to spare, it may be worth staying in bed for up to half an hour after having sex. Try lying on your back with your hips raised on a pillow to encourage the sperm to travel towards your egg. Don’t try this if your GP has advised you to empty your bladder straight after sex, though.
Another trick that some women swear by is lying on your back and cycling your legs in the air for a few minutes after sex. If nothing else, it should give you and your partner a good giggle. And what could be better for successful baby-making than having fun in bed?
The main thing to remember when trying to conceive, is that having regular sex can really help. Having sex every two to three days increases your chance of getting pregnant within a year, compared to having sex only once a week (NICE 2013).
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a year or more without success, see your GP. If you’re 36 or over or have irregular periods, you can make an appointment even sooner (NICE 2013).
Visit our communityDiscuss sex positions for getting pregnant and compare notes with others who are trying to conceive in our friendly community.
More conception tips:
Last reviewed: March 2017
ReferencesBasson R. 2013. Overview of female sexual function and dysfunction. msdmanuals.com [Accessed March 2017]
Faix A, Lapray JF, Callede O, et al. 2002. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of sexual intercourse: second experience in missionary position and initial experience in posterior position. J Sex Marital Ther 28 Suppl 1:63-76
Levin RJ. 2011. Can the controversy about the putative role of the human female orgasm in sperm transport be settled with our current physiological knowledge of coitus? J Sex Med 8(6): 1566-78. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov [Accessed March 2017]
NICE. 2013 . Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Clinical Guideline 156. London: NICE. nice.org.uk [Accessed February 2017]
Schultz WW, van Andel P, Sabelis I, et al. 1999. Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus and female sexual arousal. Br Med J 319(7225): 1596-600