There are various schools of thought about how to help couples conceive—two new studies published in Fertility and Sterility and Physiology and Behavior suggest that the more sex you have at anytime during your cycle, the more likely you are to get pregnant.
The studies, both conducted by researchers at the University of Indiana, found that women who were having sex throughout their cycle had changes in their immune system that researchers think could prime the body for pregnancy. The researchers took saliva samples from around thirty women for each study – a group who was sexually active and a group who was abstaining – at various points during their cycle.
For the first study, researchers looked for T-cells, which are helper cells of the immune system that direct what the immune system targets in the body. The researchers found that sexually active women had higher levels of T-cell activity at certain points in their cycle, leading doctors to conclude that these cells may be priming and encouraging the woman’s body to accept the sperm and fertilized egg rather than reject them as invaders.
The second study focused on women’s antibodies and found differences in antibody levels that could also suggest a woman’s immune system primes the body for pregnancy.
Because the findings were both small and observational, the medical community won’t yet embrace the research as definitive. But the study does raise interesting questions about the role the immune system plays in pregnancy and fertility. And the advice to have more sex isn’t terrible either. In addition to increasing your chances of pregnancy, research shows that sex improves immune system function, sleep quality, and can lower blood pressure and anxiety levels. Plus, it counts as exercise!
If you think you’re having trouble getting pregnant, the compassionate pregnancy doctors at All About Women in Gainesville and Lake City can help. Contact us today, or visit our Knowledge Center to learn the basics about infertility.