First Response™
Mary Jane Minkin, M.D.

POPULAR CONCEPTION STRATEGIES: FACT OR FICTION?
Q&A With Specialist Dr. Mary Jane Minkin

Dr. Minkin looks at popular conception advice in order to separate fact from fiction.

Q: I've been trying to get pregnant for 8 months and I'm worried that it hasn't happened yet. Is worrying preventing me from getting pregnant?

A: There's no research or clinical evidence to support that "worrying" hinders conception. Extreme stress can affect your ability to ovulate in very rare cases. "Worrying about it," on the other hand, can be useful if it moves you to action in the form of determining your ovulation and then timing intercourse to coincide with your most fertile time.
Identify Your Most Fertile Days


Q: Should my husband start wearing boxers now that we're trying to start a family?

A: Boxers are less constricting than briefs. They allow testicles to hang loose, away from the body — and keep cool. Testicles should stay a couple of degrees below normal body temperature to function optimally. While it's true that sperm counts rise in cooler temperatures, it takes at least two months for cooler temperatures to positively affect the sperm — so rapid cooling, as with an ice pack, won't help. However, staying out of the hot tub and sauna, avoiding long, hot baths, tight jeans and pants, and yes, wearing boxers instead of briefs may help.


Q: Does having sex more often increase my chances of getting pregnant?

A: Frequency of sex around ovulation is important and I advise my patients to have sex at least every other day during this time. I stress, unless you're ovulating, you won't get pregnant. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a major study found no difference in pregnancy rates between couples who had sex daily and those who had sex every other day.
Ovulation Calculator


Q: Does having sex early in your fertile period result in having a boy; later will result in a girl?

A: It is thought that sperm with Y chromosomes (male) swim faster than sperm with the X chromosomes (female), and are able to reach the egg earlier in its journey to the uterus (i.e., right after ovulation). Although it sounds believable, a New England Journal of Medicine study found nothing conclusive to this theory.1


Q: I keep telling my husband that since we're trying to have a baby we should stop having sex in the morning. Is this true?

A: Actually, some studies claim that a man's sperm count may be higher in the morning. Furthermore, having sex with the man on top is recommended. The missionary position allows for the deepest penetration, placing sperm closer to the opening of the cervix, which will allow easier access to the egg.
1 AJ Wilcox, M.D., PhD., CR Weinberg, PhD., & D Baird, PhD., Timing of Sexual Intercourse in Relation to Ovulation - Effects on the Probability of Conception, Survival of the Pregnancy, and Sex of the Baby, New England Journal of Medicine, 1995.
Mary Jane Minkin, M.D. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D.
Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician/ gynecologist in private practice in New Haven, Connecticut, and a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. She is lead author or coauthor of articles in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Obstetrics and Gynecology and Journal of Reproductive Medicine, as well as coauthor of A Woman's guide to Sexual Health (Yale University Press, 2005) and A Woman's Guide to Menopause and Perimenopause (Yale University Press, 2005). Dr. Minkin is a recipient of the Irving Friedman Award, given by Yale School of Medicine's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for excellence in clinical abilities and patient care, and has been awarded the Resident's Teaching Award three times for best community attending physician.

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin receives compensation for her participation in FIRST RESPONSE™ communications.