Ready to start a family? There are no “wrong” sex positions to conceive baby—but there may be a few positions that increase the likelihood of sperm meeting egg. While the scientific proof behind each best sex position for getting pregnant may be scant (or, truth be told, nonexistent), physics is on your side, so why not give them a whirl? You’ve got nothing to lose, and maybe a baby to gain.
Why Do Sex Positions Matter?
“While no position will guarantee conception, I tell patients to consider positions that help take advantage of gravity, like missionary,” says Nita Landry, MD, ob-gyn and cohost of the syndicated talk show The Doctors. “But the position doesn’t matter nearly as much as being healthy before you begin trying.” She advises that both you and your partner see your doctors to make sure you’re in good baby-making shape: Ideally, your body mass index (BMI) is in the healthy range, you’re getting enough folic acid in your diet and you’re going easy on the alcohol (if not eliminating it altogether).
Once you’ve gotten that checkup checked off your list, preconception prep also includes knowing when you’re ovulating by keeping an ovulation calendar and knowing the signs of ovulation. On the days that you’re fertile (usually five days leading up to ovulation and 24 hours after that), you’ll want to aim to have sex every other day, Landry says. For more details on exactly when and how often to have sex to increase your chances of getting pregnant, see our sex ed for baby-making guide.
The Best Sex Position for Getting Pregnant
Okay, so now you’re wondering: What are the best positions to conceive baby? There’s nothing magic (or foolproof) about these methods; they’re simply your best options for efficiently getting sperm to egg.
Whatever you decide to try from our “Sex Positions to Conceive Baby” list, consider lying down for at least 15 minutes afterward. A British Medical Journal study reported that 27 percent of women who remained lying down after intrauterine insemination (IUI) became pregnant, compared to 17 percent among the women who got up immediately after the procedure. While this study focused on women receiving a fertility treatment in which sperm is injected directly into the uterus, the advantage may also apply to good old-fashioned intercourse. So give these positions a try, switch them up, but most of all, have fun.
• Missionary. Tried and true, man on top puts gravity in your favor, Landry says. (That said, we’re guessing it’s probably among the most popular sex positions to conceive baby.) “In woman-on-top positions, the sperm has to swim upstream, but man on top allows sperm to flow into your vaginal opening and toward your cervix.” For added effectiveness, place a pillow underneath your bottom, which can give an even more favorable angle for sperm.
• Doggie style. “Any position that allows deep penetration can help the sperm get as close to the cervix as possible and may make conception more possible,” Landry says. Doggie style, where a man enters a woman as she rests on all fours, does exactly that.
• Legs on shoulders. A twist on missionary, in which a woman hooks her legs on her partner’s shoulders during intercourse, this position allows sperm to get as close to the cervix as possible while also having the benefit of gravity, Landry says.
• CAT (Coital Alignment Technique). Missionary not your thing? This position may be effective in assisting female orgasm (which, to be clear, is not a factor in conception, but it’s an added bonus!) while letting sperm swim downstream. The woman splays out her knees so the man’s lower torso fits between. Then, instead of thrusting, the man and woman rock their pelvises together in rhythm—which still gives you the gravity-assisting effect of missionary.
• Reverse cowgirl. One in five women have a tipped, aka retroverted, uterus, and if you’re among them, this might be the best sex position to get pregnant. Here, the woman sits on her partner facing away from him, providing a unique angle of entry. Chances are, you don’t know whether you have a retroverted uterus or not, so why not try this position anyway, just in case (and just for fun).
• Side-by-side scissors. In this position, you lie side by side, facing each other, as the male enters the female. This position can also give the deep entry that may help the sperm quickly reach the cervix.
• Rear entry. As the woman lies on her stomach, the man enters from behind her. This deep position may help the penis reach more deeply in the vaginal opening than missionary position, according to a Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy study, which (believe it or not) documented the findings with an MRI.
• Wheelbarrow. No, you don’t have to be a yogi or gymnast to try this one, but it’s admittedly among the most adventurous sex positions to conceive baby. It’s also definitely not a position to do with a baby bump, so why not cross it off your bucket list now? The woman gets into position, as if she were about to be the wheelbarrow in a wheelbarrow race—hands either on the floor or bed (you can also rest on your elbows). The man holds a woman’s legs and lines his thighs up between hers, entering from behind, which allows for the deep penetration that can bring the sperm closer to the egg.
Updated September 2017