What to Do After Sex When TTC? Peeing, Laying Down, and Other Tips
When we were young, we were taught that getting pregnant was an easy task. All you had to do was have unprotected sex, and suddenly you would become pregnant! (Cue years of fear of unwanted pregnancy.)
But when you begin trying to conceive (TTC), you realize that conceiving a baby is much harder than you thought when you were young. Unfortunately, getting pregnant isn’t always as simple as getting down with your partner – there are many moving parts to think about! For example, as you probably already know, you need to time sex with your fertile window in order to get pregnant.
You’ve probably done a lot of research (and found a lot of conflicting opinions) about what to do before and during sex to help your pregnancy chances. You may also be wondering what to do after you’ve finished doing the deed. Maybe you heard an old wives’ tale that holding your legs up after sex will help you get pregnant, or you’re wondering if peeing after sex will kill your partner’s sperm.
Sadly, we aren’t taught much about how fertility works in school and your questions may have gone unanswered for months or even years. If you’re wondering what to do after sex when TTC, look no further: read on to discover which tips work according to science — and which pieces of wisdom may be more fiction than fact.
After sex TTC tips
Read on as we explore some of the myths you may have heard about peeing, laying down, and using a menstrual cup to help your chances of conceiving.
Should I pee after sex if trying to get pregnant?
Many medical experts recommend peeing after sex to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Others, however, say you should stay laying down for at least five minutes after sex when TTC to increase the odds of sperm fertilizing an egg.
So, will getting up to go pee hurt your chances of getting pregnant? Probably not. Pee comes from a tube called the urethra, which is connected to the bladder. Because sperm is ejaculated into the vagina during sex, not the urethra, peeing will not flush sperm out of the vagina.
Will peeing after sex kill the sperm?
No, peeing after sex will not kill the sperm. According to Planned Parenthood, urinating after sex does not kill sperm and will not prevent you from getting pregnant. So, if you’re TTC and dying to pee after having sex, feel free to get up and go!
What are the benefits of peeing after sex?
Peeing after sex won’t hurt your chances of getting pregnant — and may even boast some health benefits like preventing UTIs.
When bacteria get trapped in the urethra (the tube that connects your bladder to the urethral opening, where pee comes out), it can travel to the bladder and cause painful infections. Many people believe that peeing after sex works to flush out bacteria from the urethra, preventing UTIs. While there is no solid evidence to back up this practice, experts say it isn’t harmful, so you might as well try it!
It’s important to note that while peeing after sex does help flush bacteria out of the urethra after sex, it will not prevent you from contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). To prevent STIs, you will need to use a barrier method, such as a condom. However, if you are trying to get pregnant, you have to have unprotected sex. So, if your partner has an active STI, you should refrain from TTC until they are treated.
Is there an exact time period for when I should pee after sex?
Again, there is no scientific evidence that peeing after sex will prevent UTIs. But, anecdotally, some women say that peeing within 30 minutes of having sex is helpful, and the sooner you pee after sex the better.
Does holding your legs up help you get pregnant?
You’ve probably seen it onscreen in television shows like Bridgerton: when a woman is trying to get pregnant, she lays down and holds her legs up in the air after sex to encourage conception. The idea is that the position facilitates the travel of sperm into the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg. This tip has been around for centuries — but will it actually help you get pregnant?
Despite what your grandmother may have told you, there is no evidence that laying down after sex, either flat on your back or with your legs up in the air, will improve your odds of conception. According to the University of Southern California, sperm moves through the fallopian tubes so quickly (in under two minutes!) that your body’s position after sex does not matter.
How long should you lay down after sex?
There is no scientific evidence that laying down after sex will help you get pregnant. That being said, there are no risks associated with laying down after sex, so there is no harm in trying it! Anecdotally, some say that laying down for at least 15 minutes after sex prevents gravity from pulling sperm away from the cervix.
Can a menstrual cup help keep sperm in after sex?
Menstrual cups have become popular as an eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. However, some women are also using them as a DIY fertility solution. They may insert a menstrual cup filled with ejaculate or insert a menstrual cup after sex to prevent ejaculate from exiting the cervix. So, is this tip legit?
There aren’t any studies showing that using a menstrual cup after sex increases your odds of pregnancy. That being said, studies show that less than 1% of a man’s sperm stays in the reproductive tract after sex. It may only take one sperm to fertilize an egg, but it also reasons that increasing the amount of sperm at the cervical opening could improve the odds of that single sperm making it.
Because menstrual cups are affordable and safe, some women’s fertility experts encourage their use after sex to keep sperm at the cervical opening, especially before trying more expensive fertility treatments. As long as you follow the general guidelines for use — a menstrual cup can be safely worn for up to 12 hours — it may be worth a shot!
Can an orgasm increase the chance of pregnancy?
The orgasm gap is real — less than half of women always or nearly always have an orgasm during sexual intercourse, compared with more than 90% of men. All women deserve to have an orgasm during sex, but is it necessary for pregnancy? The answer is a strong “maybe.”
If you have trouble reaching the finish line, don’t worry: conception is definitely still possible without an orgasm. While some experts believe the uterine contractions that occur during the female orgasm help propel sperm into the fallopian tubes, studies have not been able to consistently replicate these findings.
That being said, science does show that orgasms (besides being pleasurable) may play a functional role in helping you get pregnant — just not in the way we thought. Having an orgasm results in the release of a feel-good chemical called oxytocin, which may slightly improve the odds of conception.
Studies show that when oxytocin is administered, women retain more sperm. However, the amount of oxytocin administered in the study was up to sixty times higher than the amount released during orgasm, so it’s unclear just how pronounced this effect could be in real life.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG
Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treating couples and individuals with infertility since 2014. Prior to joining Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, she was practicing as a top fertility specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County and Reproductive Fertility Center. Dr. Kashani has received numerous awards throughout her years of study and medical training.
Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation. Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.
Dr. Kashani is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS). She is also a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).