Does Sex Position Matter in Conception?

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Trying to conceive can feel a little like a game of Guess Who?. You might find yourself asking wildcard questions—like when is the best time of day to have baby-making sex—in an attempt to hopefully find the one magic answer that gets you a baby. Of course, it's never that simple, and it can take some trial and error, but asking those questions is a step in the right direction to meeting your goal.

Remember that any unprotected sex or artificial insemination around the time of ovulation may result in pregnancy for a fertile person, regardless of the position used. While there is no evidence-based research that suggests that certain sexual positions can improve your chance of conceiving, experts tend to agree that positions that allow for deeper penetration may help place sperm marginally closer to the cervix than others. 

We turned to some of those experts to learn more about the role sex position plays in conception, along with positions to avoid, and how this applies to queer couples, too.

Is There a "Best" Sex Position for Conception?

If you're on a Trying To Conceive (TTC) journey, you probably know that the timing of sex is quite important. From the time of the month to the frequency, there is an optimal point approximately halfway through the 28-day menstrual cycle to have unprotected sex. This is called the fertile window

In order to make a baby, sperm needs to be ejaculated or inseminated near the cervix. This allows it to travel up the fallopian tube, where it can, hopefully, fertilize the egg. So, is there a "best" sexual position to help this happen? 

The short answer is no. “There is no known sex position associated with a better chance of conceiving,” says Lucky Sekhon, MD, an OB/GYN, reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist, and board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. However, positions that allow for deeper penetration may place the sperm closer to the cervix.

Are Some Sex Positions Better Than Others?

Without concrete scientific studies to explore the link between sexual positions and conception, there is no definitive answer to whether certain ones can help you get pregnant faster. However, the general consensus from fertility experts is that it can’t hurt to experiment, provided that you want to.

“There are no known Cirque du Soleil sexual positions that have been medically proven to help get you pregnant [faster], but there is a healthy intuition that certain positions improve the fertility footprint in helping the egg and sperm meet up in the fallopian tube,” says Sherry Ross, MD, an OB/GYN, reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist, and women's sexual health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. "Since the cervix is the gateway into the uterus and fallopian tube, it would make sense to have the sperm as close as possible to the cervix to help it swim up toward the eggs."

For heterosexual couples, positions with deeper penetration often include rear entry or "doggy style;" missionary, with the male partner on top; or cowgirl, with the female partner on top. However, these positions are not necessary for conception to occur, so don't put yourself under any pressure to use them if you don't want to. The positions that bring the deepest penetration will be different for each couple, so feel free to experiment.

Sex Positions to Avoid When Trying to Conceive

As long as ejaculation or insemination happens high up inside the vagina around the time of ovulation, conception can theoretically occur in any sexual position. With this in mind, the only sexual positions to avoid should be ones that you or your partner don’t enjoy. 

Instead of focusing on the positions themselves, consider placing more emphasis on getting pleasure out of sex. It can be a contentious topic among academics, but the general hypothesis is that the female orgasm can aid conception by drawing sperm up into the fallopian tube.

"When a woman orgasms, strong muscular contractions help propel sperm, through the cervix and uterus, placing them in the fallopian tube where fertilization occurs," explains Dr. Ross. "Even though an orgasm isn’t a prerequisite to getting pregnant, it does seem to help increase the likelihood of conception."

As such, avoid sexual positions that you don't enjoy and opt for the ones that bring you pleasure. If nothing else, regular orgasms can lower stress and improve emotional well-being, which in turn can improve your chances of conceiving.

What About LGBTQ+ Couples?

Of course, heterosexual intercourse isn't the only way to make a baby. But intrauterine insemination (IUI), a process where semen is placed in the uterus or at the entrance to the cervix via a catheter, can feel fairly clinical for some.

While IUI—which is occasionally referred to as artificial insemination—is usually performed by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, at-home insemination is sometimes available. "DIY insemination kits that can be done in the privacy of your own home allow the partner, if one exists, to place the sperm in the vagina," says Dr. Ross.


Always discuss the option of at-home insemination with your healthcare provider first and never attempt to place sperm inside the cervix or uterus without medical guidance.

At-home insemination might be an attractive option for those looking to bring intimacy to the procedure, provided that you've discussed it with your OB/GYN or healthcare provider beforehand.

If it is recommended that insemination occurs in a medical setting, a partner can potentially inject the sperm into the uterus once the catheter has been placed by a medical professional. "Discussing more personal strategies to bring a partner into the insemination process can be done with a receptive healthcare provider," explains Dr. Ross.

What About After Sex?

In the immediate moments following sexual intercourse or insemination, you may find yourself wondering if you should lay very still and, if so, for how long. "Sperm are rapidly moving cells that can navigate the twists and turns of the reproductive tract," says Dr. Sekhon. "Laying flat on your back is unnecessary."

However, a 2009 study of prospective parents undergoing IUI found that laying on their back for 15 minutes after the insemination slightly improved their conception chances, compared to those who got up and walked around afterward. So, if it's convenient, lying on your back immediately after sex or insemination can't hurt your conception chances.

"Do not stand or sit up after having sex," Dr. Ross suggests for those who want to try this method. "Lie flat on your back and tilt your pelvis upward with a pillow under your hips for 20 to 30 minutes. [This] allows the sperm time to swim up into the fallopian tubes where fertilization takes place." There is even some evidence to suggest that having a female orgasm after male ejaculation or insemination has occurred may help propel sperm in the right direction.

A Word From Verywell

Sexual positions that allow for deeper penetration may help place sperm marginally closer to the cervix than others, which—in theory—may help with conception. However, there is no specific scientific evidence to support this. So, the best positions for you and your partner to try when hoping to get pregnant are ones you both enjoy. 

For healthy, fertile couples, it’s normal to take up to a year to become pregnant (which can add up to a lot of baby-making sex!), so prioritize your comfort and pleasure to ensure that sex doesn’t start feeling like a chore. Regardless of your position of choice, regular unprotected sex or insemination around your fertile window will give you the best chance of conceiving. 

9 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Nicola Appleton
Nicola Appleton is a UK-based freelance journalist with a special interest in parenting, pregnancy, and women's lifestyle. She has extensive experience creating editorial and commercial content for print, digital, and social platforms across a number of prominent British and international brands including The Independent, Refinery29, The Sydney Morning Herald, HuffPost, Stylist, Canva, and more