Your biggest babymaking sex questions answered

When you’re trying to conceive, you can read a lot of different opinions and advice online about how and when to have sex. It’s confusing! We decided to get our facts straight and asked Dr. Shannon M. Clark, a double board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, for her best tips to try while babymaking:

Should I have sex every day while ovulating?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that having sex all the time will increase your chance of becoming pregnant. The key is to have sex every other day during your ovulatory period. This is because it typically takes 48 hours for a man’s sperm count to regenerate.

What sex position will work best to conceive?

There is no one position that is definitively better than the others. However, it is believed that the typical missionary position may have a slight advantage over other positions.

In addition, any maneuvers that allow gravity to work in your favor may help. For example, placing a pillow under your hips for several minutes after intercourse and lying flat may help. Overall, having sex in positions that allow gravity to assist in getting sperm to where they need to be are the most beneficial.

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Is it okay to use lubricant during sex while we’re trying to conceive?

Sperm-friendly lubricants (avoid water-based lube and instead use those that are hydroxyethyl cellulose-base) without spermicide. Avoiding douching after intercourse is recommended.

Also, it is commonly thought that a woman must have an orgasm in order to enable sperm to enter the cervix and reach the egg. While this may in fact occur, it does not necessarily improve a woman’s chances of conceiving.

During ovulation, the thickened cervical mucus does a good job of enabling the sperm to get to where they need to be.

How does the timing of ovulation work?

A woman’s menstrual cycle typically lasts between 28 to 32 days. Women with a regular menstrual cycle can find out their fertile days with the use of an online ovulation calculator or fertility chart. She can put the start dates of her previous 2-3 menstrual cycles into an online calculator to see when ovulation should occur.

The first day of a woman’s period is taken as the starting point of the menstrual cycle–and if the cycle is a 28-day cycle–the 14th day after a period is estimated to be her ovulation time. In this case, days 12 to the 16th (from the day of last period) are the most fertile days for the woman. Having sex on days 10 to day 18 may increase the chances of conception.

Ovulation in general can occur between day 10 and day 19 of the menstrual cycle, or 12 to 16 days before the next period is due. This depends on each individual woman’s cycle. More specifically, ovulation typically occurs at day 14-15 of the menstrual cycle; approximately 10-12 hours after the LH (luteinizing hormone) peak occurs and 24-36 hours after peak estradiol levels are obtained. The LH concentration should remain elevated for 14-27 hours to allow for full maturation of the oocyte.

Bottom line—when is the absolute best time to have sex during ovulation?

The chances of pregnancy are maximized during the five days before ovulation through to the day of ovulation. These six days are the ‘fertile window’ in a woman’s cycle, and reflect the lifespan of sperm (5 days) and the lifespan of the released oocyte (24 hours).

The likelihood of actually becoming pregnant is dramatically increased if you have intercourse in the three days leading up to and including ovulation.

In summary, if a couple is trying to conceive they should start having sex two days before the expected start date of ovulation and then every other day. The reason for adding a day or two surrounding the predicted ovulation time period is that some women ovulate earlier and some later than expected.

Shannon M. Clark, MD is a double board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist focusing on the care of women with either maternal or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark is also an Associate Professor at UTMB-Galveston and the founder of Babies After 35.

Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.

This article was sponsored by Earth Mama Organics. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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