When you were younger, you wondered where babies came from. Was it some sort of magic? Were they delivered by storks? By now, though, you’ve left those childish fantasies in the past and you have a much better understanding of what it means to have a baby. Well—sort of.
The truth is most women still have a ton of questions when it comes to the whole baby-making process. And if you feel this way, you aren’t alone. In fact, several recent studies show that a majority of women still have misconceptions about fertility and pregnancy.
So, let’s get real about pregnancy. Here’s the inside scoop on some of the most common myths and the helpful information you actually need to know (and have always wondered about).
Myth #1: Your period is irrelevant.
While a regular menstrual cycle is typically 28 days, most cycles may not fit into this schedule—and that’s okay. It’s completely normal to start a few days early or last a few days longer. However, if you’re cycle varies and is somewhat unpredictable, this may make getting pregnant more difficult.
It’s not only about timing, though. The intensity of your period can shed some light into what’s going on. For instance, if you are experiencing a heavy menstrual flow, you may have high amounts of progesterone, and if it’s really light, you may not have enough estrogen. Both of which can impact pregnancy.
Myth #2: Your body clock isn’t ticking.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should rush to get pregnant before you reach a certain age, but it’s important to recognize that it does get harder as you get older. This applies to all women because you are born with all of the eggs you will ever have in your lifetime—1 to 2 million total—and every month you lose approximately 1,000 eggs. The older you get, the fewer viable eggs you have.
To give you an estimate of what this means—it is estimated that only 7% of women in their 20s have difficulty getting pregnant, where as 20% of women 35 and older have difficulty. That does not mean that getting pregnant in your late 30s and 40s is impossible, it means it can be a little more difficult.
Myth #3: More sex makes conception more likely.
The old adage, “it only takes one,” is true in this case. While it may seem like simple math—more sex means a higher chance of conception—this isn’t the case. For example, men release millions of sperm in one sex session; however, more sessions per day decreases the amount of sperm released each time. So, more sessions doesn’t necessarily equal a higher chance of getting pregnant.
Instead of focusing on quantity each day, which can increase stress, focus on quality and timing in respect to ovulation. The ideal would be to have sex every few days starting 18 days before your next menstrual flow. Also, it is important to note that trying certain positions, crossing your legs or elevating your lower body to keep sperm in place longer, have no bearing on your chances of getting pregnant.
Myth #4: That past STI doesn’t matter.
When it comes to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), most women know that prevention is key, as well as regular screenings. Fact remains, even after being treated, STIs can still impact the reproductive system. Some of the most common infections, chlamydia, gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease, can cause lasting damage to your fallopian tubes, impacting your fertility.
By getting routine pap tests, your doctor is able to visualize changes of the cervix and vagina and detect any inflammation, infection or abnormalities, all of which are key indicators of STIs.
Myth #5: Your doctor is focused on fertility.
While your OB/GYNcan help you understand your reproductive health, including fertility, they do not necessarily prioritize that above cervical cancer screening or identifying any abnormalities.
If you’re interested in learning more about your fertility, or addressing any concerns, talk with your OB/GYN. Even if you aren’t planning to have a baby for several years, it can still be beneficial to talk through your plans.
Conceiving expert care.
Whether having a baby is just a distant thought or in the near future, finding the right OB/GYNcan make all the difference. With the personable, experienced providers at Gwinnett Physician’s Group OB/GYN, you will receive the customized care you deserve. Start your journey to better reproductive health with GPG OB/GYN.