For those who are desperately trying to get pregnant, fertility can be something that can get easily misconstrued. When you want something so badly, you will try just about everything. It could be old wives’ tales or trying some random tip, anything to help raise the chances of becoming parents.
But as well-meaning as some of the advice you might receive, even if backed by uncanny success stories, they are still mere myths that are not proven by science. Some might think, oh no harm done; the couple can try something else then. But it does matter because myths like these create false hope.
Here are some of the most common fertility myths that are totally BUSTED:
#1 You just need to relax
Although you can up your chances of conceiving when you’re more relaxed, going on vacay doesn’t guarantee more sex. There are plenty of couples in high-stress jobs who still manage to conceive.
They just tend to take a little longer. Therefore, stress does not directly cause you to be infertile. Instead, stress tends to mess with hormone levels and sleep, which then could lessen the mood for sex. What about a bit of alcohol help to set the mood? A little is fine, but too much alcohol will either leave you unable to do the deed or damage eggs and sperm. So if you want to give your efforts the best chance, you need to hold off popping that bottle.
#2 Birth control pills can affect fertility
Now when have we heard this one before? Oh yes, when a kepo relative felt it was their business to intervene because you’re on the pill. So we’re here to set things straight. Contrary to popular belief, the pill has no negative impact on fertility. But we can see why it is easy to blame birth control pills since some women would experience a delay in resuming ovulation and menses after prolonged use. Sometimes up to several months before their menses return to what they used to be.
#3 You’re “doing it” wrong
Is it missionary? And then after that lie down with your legs pointing upwards so that you can keep everything in? Howleh if reverse cowgirl? Or wheelbarrow position?
Truth be told, experts still lack conclusive evidence on the best positions to get pregnant since there isn’t a whole lot of science to back things up. But we do know that sperms are designed for swimming, and swim really well, which is why every single one of them is equipped with a tail. They are also very good at finding their way up through the woman’s cervix and locating an egg to fertilise. So, unless proven otherwise, there is no such thing as “doing it” wrong.
#4 Miscarriages are hereditary
This myth is completely untrue. Just because there’s a history of miscarriage in the family doesn’t mean you are destined to have one, too. Medical experts say that the contributing factor for genetic miscarriages only amounts to 5%, which is relatively insignificant. However, if chromosomal abnormality runs in the family, then this will increase your risk of a miscarriage. Luckily it is easily detectable through genetic testing.
#5 Fertility is always a woman’s fault.
Sadly, the stigma that women are to blame remains to this day, despite years of trying to educate the masses.
Experts have been trying to explain that both males and females each share an equal 30% chance when it comes to infertility cases. The remaining 30% involves problems in both sexes, and another 10% of cases were due to “unexplainable situations”.
Men can just as easily reduce their own sperm counts with extended and regular use of hot tubs, tight briefs and excessive alcohol. So even if it might hurt a man’s pride to admit it, sadly infertility is not always a woman’s fault.
#6 Irregular cycles equal infertility
Even if you experience irregular cycles, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have infertility problems later. Irregular cycles are very common and can be caused by other factors like lack of sleep, how vigorous your exercises are and stress levels. However, not having a fixed cycle can post challenges when you’re trying to conceive because the best chance at conceiving is during the window that ovulation is at its peak. For most women, that is around 14 days before their next period. So if your cycle tends to be random and is not fixed, then it would be a little more tricky to set the right time for sex.
#7 40 is too old
No matter what everyone says about your ticking biological clock, 40 is still not too old. Although the chances of conceiving will start to lessen after the age of 35, it is still possible to get pregnant even when you’re 40 years or older.
Of course, you will need to consider the risks that come with late pregnancy. Also, while men over 40 can still father children, the health of their sperm would start to decline at that age. That’s why sperm donors in other countries must be healthy men under the age of 39.
Still, it doesn’t discount the fact that it is still possible to become pregnant later in life. As long as you’re still ovulating, having sex, and your partner has no fertility issues, then conceiving should not be a problem at all.
#8 You just need to have sex every day
Of course, if you feel like it, why not. But you don’t actually need to have sex every day just to get pregnant. Instead, you only need to do the deed when it really counts, and that is during ovulation. You ovulate around day 14, and your most fertile days are days 12, 13 and 14. So to make full use of that fertile window, you can focus on having a lot of sex on those days.
#9 You won’t get pregnant during periods and when breastfeeding
Although breastfeeding can indeed be used as a method of birth control, several
compulsory conditions must be met for it to be effective. First of all, your baby must be 6 months of age or younger. Secondly, you must be exclusively breastfeeding your baby, and lastly, you must not have your period. In fact, once your period starts, you will need additional contraceptive methods if you want to avoid getting pregnant too soon.
#10 You need to ovulate before you’re able to conceive a baby.
This is not true because your eggs are still capable of fertilisation even though it has been 24 hours after ovulation. Also, sperm can live for up to 72 hours. So even if you have sex a couple of days before ovulating, there’s still a chance for you to conceive.
So get the facts
Because even old-wives tales and pregnancy folklores like taking a dip in Tasik Bunting, are just common tips and a bit of fun.
To conceive a baby naturally, you need to be:
- ovulating and your partner needs to be producing sperm.
- have at least one ovary, a functioning fallopian tube as well as a uterus.
- having regular sex during your fertile window.
To obtain more information about your menstrual cycles, and how to determine your fertile window, you can always speak to your GP or discuss with your obstetrician about your chances of conceiving.