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Busting 7 Popular Myths About Sex and Getting Pregnant

Busting 7 Popular Myths About Sex and Getting Pregnant

Kindara | June 29, 2021 | trying to conceive
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When you tell people you’re trying to conceive, it can seem like just about everyone is full of tips and tricks to help you speed things along. Before you get bogged down trying to follow all the advice that your mom’s coworker’s friend swears by, let’s take a look at whether there’s any scientific research to back up these claims.

In this post, we’ll break down some of the most common myths you hear when you’re trying to get pregnant. (Spoiler alert: Yes, most of them are myths.) Then, we’ll tell you what the research has to say about these claims and what they really mean for your chances of getting pregnant.

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Myth #1: Having an orgasm increases your chances of getting pregnant.

This myth stems from the idea that contractions from an orgasm can help move sperm along through the vagina and uterus to reach and fertilize an egg. Although we’re huge fans of having orgasms, there’s no scientific basis to the theory that they can increase your chances of getting pregnant. 

This myth was probably formed in response to research that says uterine contractions help sperm move quickly to the fallopian tubes. However, the contractions that do this aren’t the same ones you’d get after an orgasm. These uterine contractions are controlled by hormones, and they happen naturally and passively throughout the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle (1).

Note: The follicular phase is the time from the start of your period until ovulation. If you have sex during your fertile window, you’ll benefit from these natural uterine contractions (1, 2).

Putting pressure on yourself to orgasm is a surefire way to make it more difficult to get there. Instead, you should try to enjoy the moment and have as many or as few orgasms as you desire. 

Myth #2: You need to be sexually aroused to get pregnant.

When you’re trying to conceive, you may find that your sexual desire doesn’t always line up with your ovulation schedule. It’s common to experience occasional (or not-so-occasional) dips in arousal when you’re trying to conceive, especially if you’ve been dealing with infertility (3). 

Though sex may be more fun (and comfortable) when you’re sexually aroused, you don’t have to be turned on to get pregnant. Each time you have sex during your fertile window (the 5 days leading up to and the day of ovulation), you’ll have a chance of conceiving, even if you’re not 100% in the mood (4). If you’d like, you can always use lube to help with any vaginal dryness. Just make sure it’s a fertility-friendly lube that’s safe for sperm health and mobility.

NOTE: while you don’t need to be sexually aroused to get pregnant, you do need fertile cervical mucus (CM). Not familiar with CM? Click here to learn more. 

Myth #3: Lube can help you get pregnant.

Lube can be an important part of good sex, but it may not be the best idea when you’re trying to conceive. Typical lubricants, such as K-Y, may actually have a negative effect on sperm motility (ability to move) and make it harder for sperm to reach the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. Even more natural lubes, including saliva and olive oil, were found to have the same effect (5). 

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go completely lube-free while you’re trying to get pregnant. Instead, you should opt for a sperm-friendly lube, such as Natalist or Pre-Seed. 

Another option is to spend more time on foreplay to stimulate the natural arousal fluid produced by glands in and around the vagina (6). This option may not work for everyone, so don’t stress out if it doesn’t happen for you. Just get some lube!

Myth #4: You shouldn’t have oral sex when you’re trying to conceive.

While it’s true that saliva may impair sperm mobility, that doesn’t mean you need to avoid oral sex altogether when you’re trying to conceive. Instead, you should just stay away from using saliva as lube (5). If you’re really worried about the saliva from your oral sex impairing sperm movement, you can save it for days you know you’re not fertile.

Myth #5: You should keep your legs raised for 30 minutes after sex to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

While holding your legs in the air or doing a headstand may seem like a great way to let gravity help the sperm reach its destination, there’s no solid evidence to support this theory (7). As long as you have fertile cervical mucus, sperm should be able to swim through it to get to the egg. 

In fact, science tells us that those uterine contractions we talked about earlier may help sperm reach the fallopian tubes in less than a minute. So, by the time you start looking for a pillow to prop up your legs, the sperm may have already reached their destination (1).

Myth #6: Some sexual positions can decrease your chances of getting pregnant.

This myth follows a similar thinking pattern as the myth about keeping your legs up after sex. Many people think that finding a position with deeper penetration may increase the chances of sperm reaching and fertilizing the egg. However, the truth is that you can get pregnant in any position, as long as you’re having penis-in-vagina sex and your partner ejaculates (8). 

Remember, sperm can travel through the female reproductive tract incredibly quickly. This means that you probably won’t get much benefit from introducing it a few millimeters deeper into the vagina (1). Unless you’re given specific advice from your doctor or fertility specialist, the best sex positions will be the ones that you and your partner enjoy the most.

Myth #7: You should have sex every day (or every other day) to get pregnant.

There are a few different versions of this myth because everyone seems to have a different idea about how often you should have sex when you’re trying to conceive. Lets get something straight, you don’t have to have sex every day or every other day in general, but you should during your fertile window. NOTE: find your fertile window using our own patterns, and not based on averages such as a period tracking app. 

Here’s what the research says: 

  • Your chances of getting pregnant only drop by 2% if you go from having sex every day to every 2 days during your fertile window (9).
  • There’s no such thing as “saving up” sperm, and abstaining from sex for more than a couple days in a row may decrease sperm quality (10).
  • Having sex outside of your fertile window may increase your chances of getting pregnant by causing changes in your body that help prepare it for pregnancy (11). Plus, it gives you and your partner a chance to get intimate free from the pressure of trying to conceive.

Trying to get pregnant can be stressful, especially with advice from well-meaning friends and family pulling you in a million different directions. The good news is that you can probably ignore most of the “tips and tricks” that people throw your way. When you’re looking for recommendations on increasing your chances of getting pregnant, try to stick to advice from your doctor or another trusted source.

 

About the author:

Catherine Poslusny is a writer and content marketing strategist based out of Norman, Oklahoma. She's written for healthcare companies since 2016, and she's most passionate about her work in women’s health, fertility, and reproductive rights. You can find her at catherinerosewrites.com.

References +
How Not to Waste Another Month When Trying to Conceive
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