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Baby-Making Sex: What Increases Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
PHOTO BY @Vasyl Dolmatov/iStock
  • Whenever a man and a woman within their reproductive age have sex, there’s always a 50-50 chance that the woman will conceive, as long as both of them have no reproductive issues. However, besides their health, there are a number of other factors that come into play when it comes to baby-making sex. 

    How do you up your chances to get pregnant, then? Is age a big factor in conception — the younger you are, the higher the chances of getting pregnant (and what about those who get pregnant despite their late age)? Is it important to do the act frequently? Are there specific positions that ensure pregnancy? We tackle these questions and other factors that contribute to pregnancy here.

    What increases your chances of getting pregnant

    Age

    The reproductive age of a man and a woman differ. While it is true that women have a biological clock, men, too, are more prime before they reach a certain age. Men produce millions of new sperm every day, but as they get older, they produce fewer healthy sperm, and the semen, the fluid which contains the sperm, declines, as does the sperm’s ability to move towards the egg.

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    On the other hand, women are advised to have children before they turn 35. A woman is born with all the eggs she will have, so the age of her eggs are the same age as her. However, not only do the number of eggs decline as a woman ages; the quality of her egg deteriorates, too — not to mention, health issues that may affect fertility are likely to start appearing later in life.

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    Sex position

    A baby is conceived when the sperm meets the egg and the embryo implants on the uterus. So it’s a matter of the sperm getting to the egg at the right time that decides if a pregnancy will happen. Most medical practitioners do not believe that a specific sexual position is necessary to do this, but for women with an abnormally shaped uterus, or a short vaginal canal, finding the right position may be crucial.

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    Basically, variations to the missionary position like Leg on Shoulders or Raise It Up work best when the woman stays lying down for a few minutes after orgasm. Fertility specialist Sonia Elguero, MD, says about five to ten minutes is enough. In addition, placing a pillow under the woman’s pelvis helps lift the hips and improves the vagina’s reception of semen for higher chances of getting pregnant. 

    Rear-entry positions like the doggy style or Spooning and scissors may also help as they allow for deep penetration, making the sperm’s trip to the egg a lot shorter, which hopefully would result in pregnancy. For women with a retroverted uterus, it is said that the cowgirl or reverse cowgirl position where the woman is on top might work. Because the woman is in control of the thrusts, she is more likely to orgasm and aid the baby-making process.

    However, Dr. Serena Chen, MD, director of reproductive endocrine and infertility division at Saint Barnabas Medical Center says the result is the same, no matter the position.

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    “When a man ejaculates, sperm swims out, goes directly into the cervical mucus and into the fallopian tubes. This happens in a matter of seconds, regardless of the position during intercourse,” she emphasizes.

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    Timing

    Getting pregnant may seem simple enough if you think that all it takes is for a man and a woman to have sex and that’s it. However, it’s a lot more complicated when you realize that every little step requires perfect timing.

    A woman must first ovulate and release a mature egg into the fallopian tube. Ovulation usually occurs two weeks before a woman’s period. To get a more precise reading of your ovulation dates, you could track your basal body temperature or use ovulation strips.

    During intercourse, a man can ejaculate up to one billion sperm cells, all of which will be racing to make it to the egg — but there can only be one winner. The rest either die from the acidity of the vagina, or get lost somewhere trying to find the egg in the fallopian tube.

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    Here is when timing is crucial: the sperm can stay alive for 72 hours, but an egg only lives for 24 hours after ovulation. That small window is your only chance to get pregnant for that month.

    The sperm penetrates the outer protective layer of the egg, as it also rids itself of its extraneous parts so its chromosomes can join with those of the egg. When this happens, the egg becomes impenetrable for other sperm.

    The other consideration for timing when it comes to baby making sex is the frequency. Is it a case of the more, the merrier?

    Ob-gyn Hamed Al-Taher tells babycenter.com, sex every two to three days could give the best outcome when a couple is trying to get pregnant, except when the man has a low sperm count. 

    “If you’ve been told you have a low sperm count, having sex more than once every few days may make it more difficult to get pregnant. This is because your body takes up to three months to produce new sperm. So frequent sex may mean that your body can’t produce enough sperm for every ejaculation,” he explains.

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    Common mistakes of couples trying to get pregnant

    Thinking it is the woman who has a problem

    Dr. Chen says, “About half of infertility issues have to do with the woman, 40 percent with the man, and the other 10 percent is both or neither.” The best thing to do is for both the man and the woman to have a thorough check-up to be sure.

    Having sex at the wrong time

    Remember what we said about the egg cell having only a 24-hour window to be fertilized? Most couples miss this because their timing is off, thinking they have to have sex on the day of the ovulation. It’s better to do the deed in the days leading to ovulation day, since sperm has a longer life and can survive in there waiting for the egg.

    Seeing a doctor too soon

    Getting pregnant may seem easy for some, but in reality, a few months to a year of actively trying still falls within normal parameters. Don’t rush — sometimes it happens when you’re not too worried or stressed about it.

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    Neglecting your overall health

    Your body will be the vessel for that new life you are hoping to make. You should look at it as a whole, rather than in parts, and make sure you’re healthy from top to bottom — that means getting rid of vices like smoking, drinking, and adapting healthy lifestyle habits to prepare yourself for motherhood or fatherhood.

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