‘Have sex, get pregnant.’ Many people think it’s that easy, and for some lucky couples, it is. But there are a few that find themselves waiting far longer than they thought for that positive pregnancy test. They may not have serious fertility issues. However, they may be holding on to a few fertility myths and misconceptions that are preventing them from taking advantage of that ‘golden window’ for conception.
Fertility Myth # 1: Have sex on the 14th day of your cycle.
This myth is based on the typical ovulation cycle described in textbooks: 28-day menstrual cycle, with a 14 day luteal cycle, which opens the ‘perfect’ time to conceive. But the fact is that most women don’t have a 28-day cycle. And, your cycles can be disrupted by stress, lack of sleep, illness. You may not always ovulate the same day every month.
Fertility myth # 2: Have sex in the three days after ovulation
Many couples who are trying to conceive will try to ‘schedule’ their sex at the time of ovulation or right afterwards. But it’s actually better to have sex before ovulation. Why? An ovum will only survive for about 12 to 24 hours. Sperm, on he other hand, can survive for about 5 days. So it’s better to have the ‘troops’ lined up and waiting for the ovum.
But here’s the thing. It’s hard to completely predict when you ovulate (see Myth # 1). So it may be better to have sex at least once every 3 to 5 days so there’s always a ‘reserve’ of troops waiting for the egg.
Myth # 3: You should time sex according to your BBT chart
Basal body temperature can be a good indicator of fertility, because it charts the rise and fall of temperature that naturally coincides with ovulation. However, the chart isn’t meant to be a map. It can’t predict ovulation (by the time temperature rises, you’ve already ovulated). It can only confirm it, and alert you to any problems in ovulation (such as anovulatory cycles).
Myth # 4: Fertility treatments are too expensive
Many people will decide not to see a fertility specialist because they don’t think they can afford it. They decide to ‘wait and see’ instead of actively seeking advice or medical treatment for fertility issues. Or, they go only after several years of waiting, as a last resort.
However, not all fertility treatments are expensive, and sometimes knowing you have fertility issues can help you take certain steps (diet, lifestyle, etc.) that can improve your fertility on your own. So see a fertility specialist if you haven’t gotten pregnant after a year of trying.
And anyway, it’s a good idea to see a gynecologist when you want to try to conceive. She can check your health, prescribe vitamins that will be good for you and your baby (like folic acid, which is most important in the first 6 weeks gestation, before you even realize that you’re pregnant)
Photo from jamiegisby.co.uk