When it comes to trying to conceive, couples are often inundated with a barrage of old wives’ tales, myths, tips, and tricks that generally aren’t backed by clinical research. Regardless, we all want to know whether there are certain sex positions to get pregnant faster.
The dispute over whether certain positions can help you get pregnant has been ongoing for centuries. Some proven, some not. The position you need to use really depends on you and your body. Some women have a hard time getting pregnant while others have baby dust sprinkled all over them.
Here are some tips that may help increase a healthy woman’s chances of becoming pregnant, assuming that neither she nor her partner have a known fertility problem.
Record menstrual cycle frequency
A woman who wants to have a baby should monitor whether the first days of her period tends to come the same number of days apart every month, which is considered being regular. Conversely, her periods may be irregular, meaning her cycle lengths vary from month to month. By tracking this information on a calendar, a woman can better predict when she might be ovulating, the time when her ovaries will release an egg every month.
Women with regular cycles generally ovulate two weeks before the arrival of their periods, Pavone said. It’s harder to predict ovulation in women with irregular cycles, but it usually occurs 12 to 16 days before the start of the woman’s next period.
Strive for a healthy body weight
Being too heavy can reduce a woman’s odds of conceiving, but being too thin can make it even harder to have a baby.
Research has shown that a woman who is overweight (her Body Mass Index, or BMI, is greater than 35) can take twice as long to become pregnant as a woman whose BMI is considered normal, Pavone said. A woman who is underweight (her BMI is less than 19) might take four times as long to conceive, she said.
Having too much body fat produces excess estrogen, which can interfere with ovulation. Losing 5 to 10 percent of body weight before a woman starts trying to get pregnant could improve her fertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Women who are too thin might not be getting regular periods or could stop ovulating.
Take a prenatal vitamin
Pavone recommends that women who are attempting to conceive start taking a prenatal vitamin even before becoming pregnant. This way, a woman can find one that’s more agreeable to her system and stay on it during pregnancy, Pavone said.
Another possibility is taking a daily multivitamin, as long as it contains at least 400 micrograms (mcg) per day of folic acid, a B vitamin that’s important for preventing birth defects in a baby’s brain and spine, Pavone said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges women to take 400 mcg of folic acid every day for at least one month before getting pregnant to help prevent birth defects.
Getting a head start on folic acid supplementation is a good idea because the neural tube develops into the brain and spine three to four weeks after conception occurs before many women realize they’re pregnant.
Eat healthy foods
Although there may not be a specific fertility-promoting diet, eating a variety of healthy foods can help prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy by giving her adequate stores of critical nutrients such as calcium, protein, and iron. This means eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, dairy and healthy sources of fat.
Besides taking a supplement containing folic acid, a woman can also obtain this B vitamin from foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, fortified breads, and cereals, beans, citrus fruits, and orange juice
Also, go easy on caffeine: Consuming more than 500 milligrams of caffeine a day has been linked with a decrease in fertility in women. Having 1 to 2 cups of coffee, or less than 250 mg of caffeine, per day before becoming pregnant appears to have no impact on the likelihood of conception, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Inform yourself on different sexual positions
You may have heard that some positions, such as your partner on top (missionary position), are better than others for conception. 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 reveal what’s going on inside when you’re doing the deed. Some brave couples volunteered to be scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while having sex.
The research looked at two positions: the missionary position and doggy style. (Doggy style being when you’re on all fours, and your partner enters you from behind).
Common sense tells us that these positions allow deep penetration and are likely to place sperm right next to your cervix (the opening of your uterus).
The MRI scans confirm that the tip of the penis reaches the recesses between the cervix and walls of the vagina in both these sexual positions. The missionary position ensures the penis reaches the recess at the front of the cervix. The rear entry position reaches the recess at the back of the cervix.
It’s amazing what some experts spend their time doing, isn’t it! It may be that other positions, such as standing up, or the woman on top, may be just as good for getting the sperm right next to the cervix. We just don’t know yet.
Kick the smoking habit
Smoking can lead to fertility problems in both women and men. Chemicals found in cigarette smoke, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, speed up the loss rate of a woman’s eggs, said the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
It’s also a good idea for women to stay away from secondhand smoke, which may affect their chances of becoming pregnant. Marijuana and other recreational drug use should also be avoided while trying to conceive.
Give up alcohol
It’s safest to avoid alcohol when a woman is hoping to become pregnant. Drinking alcohol at moderate (one to two drinks per day) or heavy levels (more than two drinks per day) can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Once a woman becomes pregnant, there’s no safe amount of alcohol that she can consume, Pavone said.
Know when to seek help
A woman and man should consider having an infertility evaluation if the woman is 35 or older and has not become pregnant after six months of having sex regularly without using birth control, Pavone said. A 2012 study published in the journal PLOS One also concluded that for women over the age of 35, it may be appropriate to start investigation and treatment more quickly than for younger women.
Pavone also recommended that a woman who is under 35 and her partner should consult a fertility specialist if she has failed to become pregnant after one year of having unprotected intercourse on a regular basis.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.