Sex makes a baby, this we know. But beyond that, things can get a bit complicated in terms of frequency and timing.
Some babies are conceived on the first try, with just one unprotected romp in the hay to thank. Others can take lots and lots of practice, medical interventions, procedures, and more. How can this be?
The length of a woman’s cycle, timing of sex, quality of sperm, hormones, and biological environment all come into play. Sometimes it all aligns in to the perfect baby-making moment, and other times it doesn’t.
So, if you’re trying hard to conceive (or trying not to conceive),BRIDES spoke with Lakeisha Richardson, an ob/gyn in Greenville, Mississippi, for more info.
“It’s funny that for when people are trying to get pregnant, it can take more than one time to actually conceive," Richardson says. "But for women who aren’t trying, all it takes is that one time (at the right time) for an unintended pregnancy to occur." And while we’ve all probably heard stories or even have friends who have or are themselves “one time” babies, the irony can be quite painful for those struggling to conceive.
Believe it or not, getting pregnant isn’t as easy as you may have once thought in high school. In all actuality, a multitude of perfect situations need to line up for sperm to successfully meet egg, implant in the uterus, and stay there.
Richardson says that in order for conception to occur, the following things need to be in place:
• A woman needs to be ovulating.
• There needs to be viable sperm.
• The environment has to be healthy.
She says, “Don’t use any products that could be harsh for the sperm or the egg. Many couples aren’t aware that most personal lubricants can actually harm sperm motility. Make sure to use a fertility-friendly lubricant such as Pre-Seed."
So, How Much Sex Are We Talking?
On average, Richardson says, “Women should have sex every other day during fertile window.” She explains that there is a bit of a misconception among women that ovulation occurs on day 14, but in reality it all depends on your own unique cycle length—it’s different if you have 25, 28, or 35 day cycles. "Have regular intercourse as soon as your cycle ends (end of your period) and then every other day on days 10-20 of the menstrual cycle,” she says.
That’s about six times.
Sticking to the “day 14” rule may very well result in you missing your ovulation window and being unsuccessful for that cycle.
If you’re struggling to identify your personal ovulation time, Richardson advises, “The most accurate way to identify ovulation is to use an at-home ovulation test kit, such as First Response, that identifies your two most fertile days of the month.”
You also might be surprised to know that having too much sex can actually backfire.
“Males require 24 hours for their sperm count to rebuild,” says Richardson. “Too much sex will be counterproductive.” Remember, sperm can live 48 to 72 hours once in the uterus.
Trying to conceive can be really stressful, and stress can increase your rate of infertility due to rising cortisol levels. So, Richardson says for couples trying to conceive, “have fun, and make it stress-free!”
And while there’s no sexual position that’s more effective than the other in regards to conception, she recommends propping your hips up with a pillow 15 minutes after intercourse to increase the chances of sperm reaching egg.
Finally, she recommends: “Be spontaneous, keep it romantic, and don’t forget the foreplay.” Doctor's orders!