Is there a best sex position to conceive? 'No, just get on with it', says fertility expert

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"Body changes and sheer fatigue may also lead to lack of interest in sex."
"Body changes and sheer fatigue may also lead to lack of interest in sex."
  • Research has confirmed there is no "best sex position" to conceive.
  • Couples often try positions that allow for "better reach", assuming that it creates a shorter distance for sperm to travel.
  • If couples want to conceive, they should just get on with it instead of trying different things, says Professor Allan Pacey.


Often you hear and read that certain sex positions are better than others when you're trying to conceive.

If one does a search on the best sex positions to fall pregnant, quite a number of results pop up.

The missionary position (woman on her back, man on top) is quite popular, along with the "doggy style", where the woman is on all fours and the male counterpart enters from behind.

Many assume it's to allow for better reach, which means there is a shorter distance for those swimmers to travel.

Only thing is, research has confirmed there is no "best sex position" to conceive. Allan Pacey is a Professor of Andrology (the medical speciality looking into male reproductive system urological health) at the Sheffield University.

Also see: Which sex positions are safe? Experts explain what to expect, trimester by trimester

'Any position is fine'

The Daily Mail reported that Pacey said if couples want to conceive, they should just get on with it, instead of trying different things, such as "special" positions for intercourse.

Women have also tried to aid the travelling of the sperm to the egg after intercourse, supporting their pelves with pillows, riding the air-bicycle or laying on the floor and putting their feet up on the wall.

Pacey said that there was no research to support that any of this aids conception at all.

Sperm generally requires about 10 minutes to travel to the Fallopian tubes and Pacey recommended women should just lie in bed for some time after intercourse. 

Gynaecologist and fertility expert at the Wijnland Fertility Clinic and president of the South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SASOG), Doctor Johannes van Waart seconds Pacey's sentiment.

Van Waart said, "I do agree. A bold, but solid statement: No sex, no pregnancy! And the position doesn't count - any position is fine, whatever the couple is comfortable with."

It's been said that sperm only takes about 10 minutes to travel to the ovum and usually, Pacey said, after a cuddle and catching your breath, the time would have passed. No crazy yoga positions required.

The stress factor

Couples who are trying to conceive and don’t get it right on their first few attempts may become disheartened, doubtful and worried. Stress is a factor in the relationship and affect fertility levels – in both men and women.

"In women, stress can elevate prolactin levels and this can suppress ovulation. In males, stress does affect sperm quality, but also the quality of an erection.

"Managing work stress plays an important role, but the couple has to be realistic," said van Waart. 

Also read: Intimacy during and after pregnancy: This is what an ob-gyn says you should know

Have lots of sex and enjoy it!

Another facet of intercourse some people may question is whether women having an orgasm aids conception or not.

Dr Stuart Lavery, consultant gynaecologist at Hammersmith Hospital, said a study was conducted on the female orgasm. It was to determine if women who have orgasms fall pregnant more often. The answer was yes.

Many people assumed it was because of the convulsions of the cervix, which aided sperm being sucked up into the canal.

It was, in fact, simply because the women who had more orgasms, had more sex and were able to be more successful at falling pregnant.

Dr Adam Balen, professor of reproductive medicine at Leeds University Hospital NHS Trust, said the most important thing is that you have lots of sex, as many times and however you want - and to enjoy it.

Dr Van Waart says there are important points to remember: 

  • Women should have regular menstrual cycles, which indicates ovulation.
  • Couples shouldn’t smoke because it reduces fertility three times more.
  • Couples should try to lead as healthy a lifestyle as possible, where they engage in regular, healthy exercise (not excessive) and try to prevent being overweight.

Van Waart adds a sperm test will guide the couple on male fertility and this would pot to earlier referral to a fertility specialist, if needed. 

"If not pregnant after 9 to 12 months of regular periods and regularly 'timed' sex, then it might be wise to visit a gynaecologist or fertility specialist for baseline evaluation and tests as indicated," concludes Dr Van Waart.

What weird and wonderful tricks have you tried to aid conception? Share your experiences with us by emailing chatback@parent24.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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