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Fertility Mythbuster: Does it matter what position I have sex in if I want to get pregnant?

By Senait Fisseha, MD

This is one myth that really needs busting.  There is no scientific evidence or study that shows any particular sexual position is more likely to lead to conception.

I often encounter patients who have been told that they need to stay in a certain position to stop sperm from running out or allow sperm to deposit closest to the cervix. That is a myth, because we know that sperm gets to where it needs to go in a few minutes, no matter what position you are in.

There is certainly no harm, and no benefit either, in having your pelvis tilted for a few minutes. I know for some women, it makes them feel like they are helping the sperm get to the egg.  There is no harm in having your pelvis tilted, but you don’t need to lie there in that position for a long time.  That said, remaining in a horizontal position for few for minutes after intercourse can allow more semen to remain in your vagina.

One thing I find from a lot of my patients – and it is a terrible misconception – is that they have been told they have a “tilted” uterus that makes conception difficult. In fact, having a tilted uterus is a normal anatomical variation. In most women, the uterus tips slightly forward toward the bladder (anteverted), but in some women, it tilts backward (retroverted), toward the back bone or spine. There is no scientific data supporting that the position of the uterus has an impact on the ability to get pregnant, and therefore, there is no sexual position you should use to overcome your particular uterus position.

Let me say this again, in different words: Many women have a tilted uterus, it could be aligned forward or backward. You were born that way, but it has no impact on fertility, and it never did.

I would like to add that the woman does not need to have an orgasm to become pregnant. A lot of people are inseminated in the clinic, without an act of coitus and orgasm. Not every act of intercourse produces an orgasm, as many women around the world already intuitively know.

The key factor in becoming pregnant is the timing of intercourse. You should have intercourse a day or two before ovulation as well as the day of ovulation to optimize your chance of conception. Sperm survives longer than the egg, so you always want to have the sperm waiting for the egg to be released. Having intercourse before ovulation ensures that happens.

MYTHBUSTER SUMMARY: Having intercourse, at the right time of the woman’s cycle, is what can make a baby.  Don’t feel like you need to use any specific sex position, and don’t get caught up in the tilted uterus misinformation.  In other words, relax and enjoy!

If you’ve been trying to conceive for more than a year without success (or six months if you’re 35 or older), consider consultation with a fertility specialist.  

For more information about services at the U-M Center for Reproductive Medicine, or to make an appointment, visit the Center for Reproductive Medicine website.

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Senait Fisseha, MD, JD, is the medical director for the University of Michigan Health System’s Center for Reproductive Medicine.  Her areas of specialty cover all aspects of infertility including: polycystic ovary syndrome, recurrent pregnancy loss, other endocrine disorders resulting in infertility; as well as assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF/ICSI, and gamete and embryo cryopreservation.

 

The University of Michigan Center for Reproductive Medicine uses a multidisciplinary approach that brings the expertise of endocrinology and infertility specialists, OB-GYN’s, urologists, lab technicians and research scientists together to help each of our clients have access to the latest expertise and technology available – through one convenient center.