Sexual positions for conception

You may have your favourite or default sexual positions, but are some more equal than others when it comes to conceiving?

So, you’ve got your body in tip-top condition, your partner is cutting back on booze and upping his vitamin intake and you’re having regular sex, but after reading magazines and forums you might have started worrying about whether you’re having sex in the right positions to optimise your chances of a pregnancy. The first thing to say about this is for you to relax, there’s no definitive research that shows certain positions are good for conceiving and others aren’t, and you don’t need one more thing to fret about doing ‘wrong’. However, one of the most important things about sex for conception is that you enjoy it: not only is the female orgasm helpful to draw sperm up into the uterus, but the sense of well-being and relaxation an enjoyable sex life brings can also improve your conception chances. The same tired old sex-for-conception routine can wear you both down and so variety can, quite literally, be the spice of life. So here are some ideas for good baby-making positions.

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It’s good common sense that the less distance sperm have to travel, the greater the chances of more of them getting where they’re supposed to. For that reason positions which discharge sperm closest to the cervix are thought to be ideal for heightening your conception chances. Some of these are:

Missionary position
Not very imaginative perhaps, but straightforward man-on-top does generally offer good penetration and allows the sperm to work with gravity on their side. You can give gravity a helping hand by propping a pillow under the base of your spine.

Legs by your head
If you’re quite supple then try this twist on the missionary position. The man is on top, as per missionary, and supporting himself on his arms but the woman pulls her legs up and backwards so her feet are near her shoulders. In this position the man should be able to vary his movements more easily.

Spoons
If you haven’t tried the spoon position before it’s definitely worth a go. The man and woman both lie on their sides, facing in the same direction with the man entering the woman from behind. This ensures good penetration but at the same time is a very gentle position, great for if you’re both tired and more interested in intimacy than making the room shake. Not everyone will like the fact that you can’t see each others’ faces in this position, though for others this may be quite a turn-on.

Cradling
Like spoons but this time facing each other, the woman will need to pull one knee up and wrap it around the man’s upper body to allow for good penetration.

Side entry
The woman lies on her side with one leg raised to allow the man to kneel with one knee on either side of her lower leg and enter her completely moving with arcing strokes. Once the man is in position the woman can turn her upper body so that she’s lying more or less flat, facing her partner. For deeper entry the man can lift her upper leg slightly up and towards her chest.

Rear entry
As with spoons, not everyone will like not being able to see their partner’s face in this position. If this isn’t a problem for you then there are plenty of variations on this full-penetration position to try.

Lying – With the woman lying on her front and the man crouching above her, with his legs positioned outside hers he can enter her fully and then deepen penetration by rocking forward, higher up her back. You do need to take this gently until you work out what your limits are though, as this can be uncomfortable if the man actually hits the cervix, quite possible in this position.

Sitting – You sit on your partner’s knee facing away from him and can easily control the depth of penetration and speed.

All fours – The woman crouches on all fours and the man kneels behind her. You may find it more comfortable and pleasurable for the woman to rock forward onto her elbows, supported with a pillow.

Standing – This is one for the more adventurous of you and can be quite hard work! For successfully deep penetration the man will probably need to support some of the woman’s weight, lifting her slightly up and onto his penis. Most couples will also need to use a wall or similar for support, free-standing sex is only for the very strong and athletic or Almodóvar movies.

Are there any positions that aren’t recommended for conception?

Woman-on-top is often cited as a less-good baby making position, as the sperm need to move against gravity, but if this is a position that usually gives you an orgasm then gravity may not be so important.

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Whatever position you opt for, some women also swear by lying with your pelvis tilted up and your legs resting against the wall for fifteen-twenty minutes after sex (though this isn’t recommended if you’ve been advised to use the loo as soon as possible after sex for medical reasons). We don’t imagine there’ll be a research paper supporting this theory coming along anytime soon, and it’s not always practical, but taken lightheartedly it won’t do any harm to your chances.

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