I wanted to discuss this antidotal story from one of my readers concerning birth control myths. Olivia wrote:
I really enjoy reading your About Contraception Newsletter. I look forward to getting it…. I need to tell you a funny anecdote about my conception of my daughter in July, 2011. I had been trying desperately to get pregnant. It took me so long that I believed that I was infertile. We tried and tried, but nothing was happening.
Then this day in July. . .the night I got pregnant, I’d something much different after intercourse than I was able to do. That night, rather than getting up after making love and going to the restroom to clean up and pee, that night I laid in bed, then rolled over and went right to sleep.
About a month after , I discovered I was pregnant and that I truly believe I got pregnant because I did not get out of bed to go to the toilet. I didn’t stand up, and so the sperm was able to get to the egg in a better fashion. Doesn’t that sound like a myth to you…, but for me….It worked!!
I wanted to spend a minute clarifying the reality in Olivia’s statement in addition to the myths claiming that your sexual position could prevent you from getting pregnant. A recommendation when trying to get pregnant is to get a woman to stay lying down for approximately 30 minutes, after sex, with a cushion under her buttocks to elevate the pelvis.
This allows for gravity to help”pull” the sperm down to the egg. From Olivia not getting up to later having sex, this enabled the sperm to more easily and quickly reach their destination. If you stand up after sexual activity, gravity might help to pull a few of the semen away from the egg. This being said, simply being in an erect posture isn’t enough to prevent pregnancy.
Sperm are demanding swimmers and will work against gravity. They are also fast, so by the time that the woman would get up following horizontal sex, millions of semen will have made great strides towards their hunt for an egg.
The ethical to Olivia’s narrative: staying in a horizontal position after sex can aid in getting pregnant, yet this doesn’t then imply that being at a vertical (vertical ) position will prevent a pregnancy. A woman can become pregnant no matter sexual position and immediate”toilet runs” after intercourse.
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