Can You Get Pregnant Right After S*x? Does Lying Down Help?
How Quickly Does Conception Happen and Does Remaining Horizontal After s*x Help
You already know that s*x leads to pregnancy. But how quickly does conception happen after intercourse? And can lying on your back help you get pregnant faster? Fertilization can occur within minutes of s*x. However, it’s also possible to have intercourse on Tuesday, but not conceive until Friday!
As for lying on your back after having s*x in hopes of helping conception occur faster, it makes sense.
Sperm need to swim through the reproductive system. Perhaps it’s easier for them to make the journey if they don’t have to swim up—and can just swim horizontally.
Things are slightly more complicated than that…
Can You Get Pregnant Right After s*x?
Just how quickly do sperm swim? And how soon after Release can fertilization occur? These are two different questions.
Studies found that sperm take between 2 and 10 minutes to travel from the cervix through to the fallopian tubes (where they hope to meet an egg.) This is regardless of gravity. They will swim “up” through the uterus whether you’re on your feet or standing on your head.
If there is an egg waiting, conception can occur as quickly as three minutes after s*xual intercourse.
However, sperm can survive inside the female reproductive system for up to five days. If you had s*x on Monday, and you ovulate on Thursday, conception can occur days after you had s*xual intercourse.
Sometimes, a doctor will estimate the day of conception based on how many weeks the fetus measures in an ultrasound, and this conception date doesn’t match up with a day the couple had s*x. This possible delay between intercourse and fertilization explains how that can happen.
While you’re more likely to get pregnant if you have s*x two to three days before ovulation, you can get pregnant from s*x that occurs up to six days before an egg is released from the ovary
Does Lying on Your Back After s*x Help You Get Pregnant Faster?
Just about every woman has received advice to remain on her back after s*x, in hopes it’ll make it easier to get pregnant. There’s no research specifically on lying still after s*x to back up the claim.
However, there is research on the fertility treatment intrauterine insemination (or IUI). During IUI treatment, specially washed sperm are transferred directly to the woman’s uterus via the cervix through a thin catheter. In one study, researchers wanted to know if IUI treatment would be more effective if the woman remained on her back for 15 minutes after the procedure.
Researchers found that the women who remained on their backs for 15 minutes after the sperm transfer had a 27 percent pregnancy rate after three cycles.
The women who were encouraged to get up right after the treatment had an 18 percent pregnancy rate after three cycles.
Remaining horizontal did improve pregnancy rates. Whether that would translate to s*xual intercourse, no one can say.
For How Long Should You Lie on Your Back?
If you’re going to lie on your back, how long should you stay there to reap any benefits?
Again, there’s no research on s*xual intercourse to give us an answer.
However, we have another study on IUI that may give us a clue.
In this study, 396 couples having IUI treatment for male factor infertility, cervical issues, or unexplained infertility were randomly assigned to a post-IUI “rest” group. Women were either asked to remain horizontal for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes post-insemination.
In this particular study, the clinical pregnancy rates were dramatically different between the 5 and 10-minute group.
Clinical pregnancy rates per cycle:
4.5 percent for those who remained horizontal for 5 minutes
15.9 percent for those who remained horizontal for 10 minutes
19.7 percent for those who remained horizontal for 20 minutes
The difference between the 10 and 20-minute groups was not considered to be statistically significant.
Therefore, the researchers suggest women remain lying down for at least 10 minutes after insemination.
[Note: don’t compare these results to the first study referenced above. This study looked at the pregnancy rate per cycle, while the first study mentioned in this article was looking at cumulative pregnancy rates after three treatment cycles.)
How Soon After Conception Will I Feel Pregnant?
Whether fertilization occurs within minutes of s*x or days later, will you be able to feel you’re pregnant when it happens? Unfortunately, no.
Some women claim to have “known” they conceived within minutes of s*x. The truth is that it’s scientifically impossible. Any potential pregnancy symptoms won’t appear until embryo implantation (at the very, very earliest), and that doesn’t happen for another 7 to 10 days. It takes time for the fertilized egg to travel from the fallopian tubes and find a soft landing area in the uterus.
Having pregnancy signs at the time of implantation is also unlikely. Most women don’t start to experience pregnancy symptoms until they are a few days past their expected period. Some women never “feel” pregnant.
A Word From Verywell
With IUI, the sperm get a helpful push ahead into the uterus. But even with the push, lying down afterward seemed to boost pregnancy rates. Perhaps it is a good idea to lie still for about 10 minutes after s*x.
That being said, don’t stress over it. The research was on IUI, not s*x. If you do want to try lying on your back, there’s no reason to remain there longer than 15 minutes.
Also, standing up right after s*x can’t prevent pregnancy. Even if you had s*xual intercourse and then jumped up and down right away, the sperm will swim up, and you can get pregnant.
If you need to use the bathroom right after s*x (especially if you get frequent urinary tract infections), get up and go ahead. You’re not going to ruin your chances of conception.