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How to Have the Best Sex … for Pregnancy

Let’stalk about sex.

When it comes to starting a family, you and your partner probably want to make everything right to hit the jackpot. For most couples, it’s often easy, but for others, unfortunately, it can take several months – maybe even years before the baby wish is fulfilled.

Fertility problems are very common and affect about 10% to 15% of couples trying to conceive. A study in Denmark from 2012 with over 4000 men, it concluded that approximately 15% of the men in the trial had a sperm quality so low that they would have a high risk of needing fertility treatment to father a child, and another 27% of the men would have a prolonged time to pregnancy [1].

Therefore, a bit of planning to have the best and when doesn’t hurt.

Timed sex

There are many factors that may impact a couple’s ability to conceive and one of these may be incorrect timing of sex– or having too little sex to actually hit the woman’s fertile period. Timing is critical when you’re trying to conceive.

Many of us got the impression in school that sex any time can get you pregnant. This isn’t entirely true. Conception is only possible from approximately 5 days before and up to several hours after ovulation. This means that there are only a few days in a whole month where you can hit the right timing and it is, therefore, important to know when these days are if you are not already having sex several times per week. Many women believe that they are ovulating when they are actually not, and this can prolong the process of conceiving.

However, knowing the female fertility window might be a bit difficult. There are many “ovulation prediction kits” and other methods that women can use for guidance to timed sex – some methods are more reliable than others.

How to predict ovulation?

  • Urinary fertility monitoring
  • Measuring basal body temperature.
  • Calendar charting

In 2015 a big study was published where the purpose was to assess the benefits and risks of ovulation prediction methods for timed sex with couples trying to conceive. The conclusion was that timed sex may improve pregnancy rates compared to sex without ovulation prediction, but the data was not strong enough to support this conclusion completely.[2]

Having too little sex means that your chances of hitting the right timing are low. Having too much sex, multiple times a day or even every single day could cause “burnout” where one or both partners may not be interested, resulting in a missed opportunity. Another bad thing of too much focus on sex and baby making is that sex becomes a chore and could cause unneeded stress.

With all the above said, our conclusion and advice is to have sex approximately every other or third day, paying special attention to the few days before and during ovulation. Remember that there is nothing wrong in having regular sex – in fact, it keeps the sperm production stimulated and the sperm cells fresh for fertilization.

Ejaculation

Sperm quality is important for chances of getting pregnant, and most important is how many moving and healthy sperm cells there are in a semen sample. This parameter can be affected by many different factors such as lifestyle and environmental toxins. Although it has also been suggested that ejaculatory frequency might also affect semen quality [3].

In a 2016 study with 43 male participants, it was shown that ejaculates obtained after 2h of abstinence had lower volumes, sperm concentration, total sperm and total motile sperm counts but higher percentages of progressively motile sperm when compared with samples obtained after 4–7days of abstinence. This indicates that sperm stored for too long may take damage that reduces the motility. Another study showed that it takes approximately 3 days to gain a full load of sperm.

Ideally, you would, therefore, space ejaculations with at least 24 hours, but still, maintain frequent ejaculations (3 times per week) to maintain production of new sperm cells. But if you feel like having sex several times a day during her ovulation, we think you should go for it, since no current literature suggest that this should harm your chances of getting pregnant!

What about orgasms?

Well, for the male part the orgasm is most often associated with ejaculation, so it is very important that the male gets his sperm deposited in the female’s reproductive tract. For the women, on the other hand, there is no existing scientific evidence showing that the female orgasm can improve pregnancy rates.

Lubricants and fertility

Many couples assume that lubricants do not influence the chance of conceiving. But even though they do not necessarily contain spermicidal agents they may be detrimental to sperm quality when they come in contact with sperm. Lubricants can impact sperm motility, DNA fragmentation, and their ability to survive. Therefore, finding a safe lubricant may benefit your chances of conceiving.

It seems that hydroxycellulose-based lubricants do not harm fertility. The most commonly fertility friendly lubricants include PreSeed, Concieve+ Plus and Yes™ Lubricant. Alternatively, it seems that the use of natural oils like canola oil and baby oil also does not harm fertility chances. Although these lubricants are safe for fertility they have not been tested for fertility testing or treatment and should not be used before producing a sample for either.

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.

Stress

Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.

Nutrition

Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.

Heat

Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.

BMI

There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  

Alcohol

A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.

Age

Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.