When you’re trying to conceive, and especially if you are trying to overcome fertility struggles to do so, it can be easy to get caught up in online articles, blogs and personal stories. While researching your fertility options can be a helpful approach to finding the path that is best for you, it is important to weed out the wrong information and avoid fertility myths that can impede your journey. While there are many false fertility claims out there, here are some of the most common myths when it comes to female fertility.
Fertility Myth #1: Missionary Position is Best
One common myth is that the missionary position is the best for conceiving. The fact is, there is no scientific research that proves the best position, but rather that pregnancy can occur regardless of the position you use.
Fertility Myth #2: Putting Your Legs Up After Sex Will Increase Conception Chances
Like the myth about missionary position, there is no scientific evidence that lying down with your legs up in the air increases your chances.
Fertility Myth #3: Infertility is a Women’s Issue
This is probably the most common fertility misconception out there. The reality is that one-third of infertility cases involves the woman, one-third involves the man and one-third is due to both partners or unknown causes.
Contrary to popular belief, the inability to become pregnant is not predominantly due to female reproductive issues. In fact, over 40 percent of infertility cases are due to sperm disorders and male factor infertility, and in up to 20 percent of cases, causes of infertility can be equally attributed to both the man and the woman.
Fertility Myth #4: You Should Begin Prenatal Vitamins Once You Become Pregnant
Prenatal vitamins are essential micro- and macro-nutrients necessary not only for a healthy pregnancy, but for healthy fertility and conception as well. Women can benefit from taking a prenatal vitamin before they get pregnant, as these vitamins can help improve egg quality and proper fertility vitamins can also have a positive effect on men’s reproductive health as well.
Fertility Myth #5: Regular Monthly Periods Mean You’re Fertile
While many women are aware that an irregular period can be a sign of fertility issues, that doesn’t mean that a regular cycle means you’re in the clear. Even if you’re regularly getting your period, the simple occurrence of a monthly menstrual cycle does not necessarily mean you’re ovulating. This is why tracking your ovulation as well as your periods is important to understanding your most fertile times and to identify if there are inconsistencies with ovulation times.
Fertility Myth #6: Men’s Fertility Doesn’t Decline
Contrary to popular belief, women aren’t the only ones who see a decline in fertility as they get older. Although men constantly produce sperm, the reality is that sperm quality can decline with age.
Fertility Myth #7: Stress Causes Infertility
Everyone deals with stress on a daily basis, and infertility causes stress. It is true that stress can have an impact on getting pregnant. From decreasing the desire to have sex, causing performance issues, or leading to problems with ovulation, stress can impact your ability to conceive, but for the vast majority of couples, stress is not the direct link to the cause of their infertility. For those who are led to believe that if they meditate and de-stress, pregnancy will occur, typically there’s more to it than that.
Fertility Myth #8: You’ll Get Pregnant as Soon as You Stop Taking Birth Control
This myth is two-fold. While there are some women who can get pregnant soon after stopping their birth control measures, for many women it can take up to a year for the body to regulate itself after taking hormonal contraception.
Fertility Myth #9: Having Sex Every Day Increases Your Odds
If you’re having trouble conceiving, being told to simply have more sex isn’t the answer, (although if you’re feeling up to it, go for it!) The truth is, when trying to conceive, striving for every other day, or every two days before, during, and after your peak fertility window is the time to try.
Fertility Myth #10: Miscarriages Are Genetic
Another myth that is more complex than believed. In short, no, miscarriage doesn’t run in families. Just because your mom or sister had a miscarriage does not mean you are destined to have one, also. Genetically speaking, only five percent of miscarriages are due to genetic factors. However, when it comes to genetic chromosomal abnormalities, an increased risk of pregnancy loss is common.
Fertility Myth #11: It’s Impossible to Conceive After Age 40
A common fertility myth is that women over age 40 cannot conceive. Although it can become more difficult to conceive naturally after age 40, women can still get pregnant past the age. Even women who are in perimenopause can still get pregnant, just showing that turning 39 is by no means your last chance to have a baby.
Fertility Myth #12: Pregnancy After Baby #1 is Easy
At similar rates as primary infertility, about 10 percent of couples’ experience what is known as secondary infertility, or the inability to get pregnant naturally after successfully having a previous clinical pregnancy. The same factors responsible for primary fertility problems are often to blame: lifestyle factors, reproductive complications, previous underlying issues, and so forth. Whatever the cause, the condition can have either developed or worsened since the first pregnancy. That doesn’t mean couples are locked in at one child however, as treatments for secondary infertility are the same as those for primary infertility.
Fertility Myth #13: Egg Freezing and IVF are Guaranteed
While egg freezing and IVF are incredible developments in reproductive science, the fact is nothing is fail-safe. Success rates for these approaches vary and depend on a number of factors, including the clinic performing the procedure, the infertility diagnosis, and the underlying conditions associated with the woman undergoing the procedure.
For more statistics on IVF, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a published list of success rates for all fertility clinics in the United States and offers a digital IVF Success Estimator to estimate the chance of having a live birth using IVF based on couples’ specific characteristics.
Fertility Myth #14: If you Can’t Get Pregnant in a Year, You Won’t
The medical definition of infertility is the inability to conceive via unprotected sex over the course of one year. About one in six couples is unsuccessful when trying to get pregnant for the first time, but that doesn’t mean that pregnancy is impossible as fertility concerns can often be addressed by simple changes in lifestyle or nutrition, and couples can receive a number of medical assisted approaches to having a healthy pregnancy.
Fertility Myth #15: Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use is Fine Until I Become Pregnant
When it comes to fertility health, for men and women, this is not true. Besides the well-known negative impact of smoking, excessive alcohol intake and drug use on overall health, these vices can result in a faster decline of semen and ovarian reserve, a decrease egg and sperm health, and lead to negative impacts on hormonal balance and menstrual cycle. In addition, they can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, and lower the chance of a successful outcome with fertility treatments.
Knowing about the common fertility myths can help you get an edge when you’re trying to conceive. Hopefully by avoiding falling prey to these common falsehoods, you are better prepared to take the necessary steps to overcoming fertility struggles and successfully achieving a healthy pregnancy.