Starting a family comes with a long list of do's and don'ts to increase your chances of getting pregnant. From avoiding alcohol to exercising more to passing on the hot tub, the list goes on.
We collected six common questions about the act of making a baby and asked Dr. Craig Saffer, an OBGYN affiliated with Sharp HealthCare and medical director of minimally invasive surgery at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, to separate fact from fiction.
1. If we wait several days between having sex, will the chance of pregnancy be higher because we built up sperm count?
No. "On the contrary," says Dr. Saffer. "Abstinence of five or more days may even result in lower sperm counts." Not only can waiting too long reduce your sperm count, it could also cause couples to miss out on peak fertile periods. Consistency is key.
2. Once we have intercourse, will it help to stand on my head or stay lying down?
No. "There is no scientific evidence to prove that one position is better than another for getting pregnant," says Dr. Saffer. "Gravity has no impact. Interestingly, out of an average of 250 million sperm, only a few hundred make their way to the egg."
3. Do we both have to orgasm in order to get pregnant?
Not necessarily. "While the male orgasm is needed for pregnancy, there have been countless studies proving that a female orgasm is not needed," says Dr. Saffer.
However, the hormone oxytocin, which is released during a female orgasm, increases feelings of intimacy and decreases stress, the latter of which has been proven to increase the chances of getting pregnant.
4. Does using lubrication help?
It depends. "Lubricants such as K-Y Jelly, Astroglide and saliva can actually inhibit sperm motility," says Dr. Saffer.
In one study, K-Y Jelly was considered the most harmful to sperm movement, reducing it to almost nothing after 60 minutes, with Astroglide a close second. In another study, Astroglide was found to decrease sperm motility by 89%. Saliva is not sperm-friendly because of the acidity that is harmful to sperm.
The National Institutes of Health funded research into a sperm-safe lubricant, which is available under the brand name Pre-Seed. Clinical studies found it has the least negative effect on sperm motility of tested brands.
5. If a woman urinates after intercourse, will it interfere with conception?
Not necessarily. "As previously mentioned, the sperm quickly make their way into the cervix where they can actually survive for a few days," says Dr. Saffer.
6. Does having sex every day help in getting pregnant faster?
Not necessarily. "Having sex every day, even during ovulation, will not necessarily increase your chances of getting pregnant," says Dr. Saffer. "Rather, having sex every other day before, during and after ovulation can be beneficial for both sperm count and reducing the pressure for those who choose to only have sex during ovulation."