The Do’s and Dont’s of Timed Intercourse

The Art of Having Sex for Achieving Pregnancy

Timed intercourse, pregnancy calendars, ovulation windows. When did having sex for getting pregnant get so complicated? Trying to do the right thing can make couples go crazy with all the advice available from friends, family, and online sources. Some propose a holistic approach to achieving pregnancy through acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Others suggest a concerted qualitative approach by timing ovulation and calculating your most fertile days for having sex. The words “information overload” come to mind, and they’re certainly relevant here.

A healthy pre-pregnancy diet and proper self-care for conception are undoubtedly important for boosting your fertility and increasing your chances of getting pregnant. Then there are the more “alternative” methods for getting pregnant. Have you tried standing on your head afterward? Raising your pelvis? We’ve all heard all the crazy pregnancy tips, tricks, and more.

Here is a simple guide on the do's and do not's of timed intercourse, so that you can calm your mind and focus on what matters. We have highlighted the things that matter for actually getting pregnant so that you can let all the other suggestions wash away.

1 . Should we have Sex for Pregnancy every day?

No. Men make sperm every day, but having intercourse daily has been shown to decrease the amount and quality of his sperm. Furthermore, sperm survive for up to 72 hours inside a woman’s body. The optimal conception plan includes having intercourse during your peak fertility window every other day.

2. For Timed Intercourse, when should we Have Sex?

Your peak fertility window is prior to and during ovulation. In a classic 28-day cycle, a woman ovulates on “cycle day” 14. The exact day that you ovulate can vary from month to month, and this is important to know for timed intercourse. However, without this prior information, start having intercourse on cycle day 10, and continue every other day until ovulation and for one session of intercourse after ovulation. This increases your chances of conception without an exact ovulation calendar. For example, if you ovulate on cycle day #15, begin intercourse on day 10 and continue on day 12, 14, and 16.

3. How should I Detect Ovulation?

Ovulation predictor kits are the best way to detect when you actually ovulate in real time. Basal body temperature charting also informs you of ovulation, but your temperature also rises after ovulation has already occurred. Therefore, it is difficult to use to plan intercourse in any given cycle. Luteal phase (or Cycle day 21) progesterone blood levels lets you know whether you have ovulated or not. However, it does not tell you when you ovulated for the purpose of aiding timed intercourse. For women that have a typical 28-35 day cycle, start using ovulation predictor kits to test on cycle day 10 and continue until you get a positive result.

4. Are there Positions that Improve the Sperm’s Ability to find the Egg?

Absolutely not. There are no positions that improve pregnancy rates, despite popular myths to the contrary. Furthermore, there are no sexual positions which can help determine the gender of the baby. Finally, there are no successful ways of processing sperm that improve the ability to predict or detect the gender of the baby either. This is a common misconception of having sex for achieving pregnancy. Don’t fall for it!

5. How long should we have sex before getting help?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, if a woman is less than 35 years old, couples can intelligently try for a year if no complicating factors are known. Complicating factors include low sperm count, blocked fallopian tubes, fibroids, irregular menstrual cycles and known family history of early maternal menopause.

If a woman is 35 or older, the couple can try for 6 months before seeking help with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. For a woman 40 years of age or older, it is appropriate to immediately seek help from a reproductive endocrinologist.

Now you’re ready! One of the most important things to remember is to keep this stress free and fun, which is not easy to do. Remember that there are many benefits to refreshing and maintaining a good relationship with your partner. Finally, always try to remember why you wanted to start a family with your partner in the first place!

 

This is a revised article based on “Having Sex” by Dr. Jennifer Agard, M.D. in the Summer 2015 Issue of Lane Fertility Magazine.

Author
Dr. Danielle Lane Danielle E Lane, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist

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