Timing Sex for Pregnancy

April 9, 2014

It may seem logical to assume that the more sex you have when trying to get pregnant the better – but this is not the case.  Since timing is the number one reason why fertile couples have difficulty conceiving, the timing and frequency of intercourse is extremely important to optimize – and more is not better.

Timing sex for pregnancy

If we have more sex, won’t that increase our chance of getting pregnant?

A man needs to replenish the sperm that is ready to be ejaculated – replenish the stores so to speak—so having sex every other day is optimal.  Prolonged periods of not ejaculating (abstaining from sex and masturbation) is also not recommended – the sperm will not survive in the male reproductive tract for more than a few days. Therefore, frequent regular ejaculation is what is recommended, which would ideally be planning for intercourse every other day.

What about timing sex for ovulation?

One of the most important things when “timing intercourse” is monitoring a woman’s ovulation.  It is not good enough to assume that she ovulates on day 15, and an app on your iPhone might not be giving you the right information either.

The first day of a woman’s cycle is the first day of her menstrual cycle, the first day of bleeding.  The last day of the cycle is only known after she begins the subsequent cycle.  Ovulation typically occurs around day 15, but it can significantly vary from woman to woman.

When should we time intercourse?

I recommend having intercourse every other day starting 4 days prior to ovulation, through about 4 days after ovulation.  Hitting it right on the exact day of ovulation isn’t necessary – and trying to do so can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.  Instead, think about it as if you were in Las Vegas gambling – the more bets you place, the better your chances of potentially winning.

Often the sperm that are deposited prior to ovulation achieve pregnancy. Since we only know the projected window of ovulation, having sperm present ready to greet the egg when ovulated in the fallopian tube is essential.

What position should we use to achieve pregnancy?

The ideal desired position of intercourse should be missionary with the female partner on the bottom, male partner on top – simply so that most of the ejaculated semen can stay intravaginal.

After intercourse, she should put a small pillow or a rolled up towel under her buttocks and rest for 20 minutes.  Again, this is just so the ejaculate can sit up against the opening of the cervix.  After that, use of the rest room is fine, but refrain from taking a hot bath or using any vaginal cleansers.

When should we get help if we’ve been trying for a while?

The stress of trying to achieve a pregnancy can be overwhelming for both partners, so, as challenging as it can be, it is important to relax.  For women 35 years of age and younger, we typically recommend waiting a year of trying prior to evaluation, and women 35 years old and older we recommend only waiting 6 months.

With timed intercourse however, all couples should achieve a pregnancy within 6 months, so if you are actively trying without success I would recommend evaluation with a semen analysis, male partner evaluation, and female partner evaluation.

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