6 Pregnancy and Conception Myths

Ever wonder about common pregnancy and conception myths? If you have been trying to get pregnant and have not had any success, it is likely that those well-meaning sisters, girlfriends, aunts, and others close to you have been offering lots of input on your trials and tribulations.

Everyone has advice about getting pregnant…especially those who seemingly conceived at the drop of a hat! While they certainly wish the best for you, the reality is that there is a lot of misinformation that exists.

That misinformation comes not only from your friends and relatives but also from the internet. Remember, nearly anyone can write anything which they claim to be an expert about and publish it on the world wide web for all willing browsers to read. That is why it is extremely important to know which information is accurate, and which isn’t.

For this reason, as a service to our clients, prospective clients, and the internet in general, we have herein listed 6 of the most widely distributed myths about pregnancy and conception that need to be debunked.

  1. The use of birth control harms your ability to conceive and can ruin your fertility – There is no tangible proof that any type of birth control will make you infertile. There are, however, other things to consider once you stop taking birth control, be it oral contraceptives or a different form of birth control such as the Depo-Provera shots. Specifically, since hormonal birth control affects your period and the regularity of your menstrual cycle, it may take several months, depending on your underlying status, to upwards of a year (e.g. with Depo-Provera) for you to have regular monthly periods and thus regular ovulation again.

Research has demonstrated that approximately 85 percent of women whose ovaries are otherwise functioning well can get pregnant within 12 months of discontinuing oral contraceptives. However, if pregnancy does not occur and/or if your menstrual cycles do not seem to be back to normal, it is a good idea to schedule a gynecology appointment to test for other potential issues. Sometimes, birth control can mask underlying conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or other reproductive disorders, therefore it is wise to check for those if you feel as if you are not back to your normal state.

  1. If you used Plan B in the past, you won’t be able to get pregnant when you’re ready for children – Similar to Myth #1, the emergency contraceptive known as Plan B will not stop you from conceiving if you took it at a time when you were concerned about your readiness to have children. In fact, if you take Plan B and have unprotected intercourse a day or two later, you CAN get pregnant.

Plan B is an extra-high dose of the hormones found in regular birth control pills. What this contraceptive can do is stop the egg from fertilizing or stop the embryo from becoming implanted in the uterus. As a result, pregnancy should not occur. Those hormones, however, do not remain in your system thus they will not still be functioning several days later. They are essentially a one-shot option, and therefore will not result in infertility.

  1. If your mother got pregnant quickly, you probably will too – The ability to become pregnant quickly is unfortunately not one of those hereditary traits that are passed down from generation to generation. However, the opposite might be true. Some disorders that may affect the ability to conceive CAN be inherited, and those are the conditions you need to be aware of.

Examples of such conditions include both endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, which do in fact have some genetic components that can be inherited. Therefore, the statement is more likely to be true: “My mom had a hard time getting pregnant so I might too.” That is why it is important for your fertility doctor to know all about your family’s medical history. However, you must keep in mind that your mother’s, grandmother’s, or sister’s pregnancy experiences will likely have very little to do with yours.

  1. If your periods are regular, you should have no problem getting pregnant – While regular menstrual cycles are a good indication that you are likely ovulating every month, there is much more to the fertility equation than just this. In fact, it is quite possible to have a cycle that is “anovulatory”. That means you are not releasing any eggs even if you are bleeding. This can happen when you are on birth control pills, if you have an extremely thick uterine lining, or if you have uterine polyps or fibroids. In addition, you may also have blocked fallopian tubes or uterine abnormalities that you don’t yet know about, and which may hinder your fertility despite having clockwork menstrual intervals.

Apart from the above, not all infertility is due to the female partner having a problem. The inability to conceive may lie with the male partner, who could have a low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or any number of other issues. That is why fertility specialists will provide a thorough assessment for the male partner as well.

  1. Certain sexual positions improve your chance of getting pregnant – This is essentially an urban legend, similar to the notion that going outside in the freezing weather with wet hair will cause you to catch a cold. Once sperm is in the vagina, it immediately begins to swim in its quest to reach the woman’s reproductive tract. It does not matter how, or from which angle, it arrives, so to speak. Sperm moves very quickly, so you are also not “losing” sperm if you stand up immediately after sex rather than remaining in a reclined position for extended periods of time.
  2. You had an easy time getting pregnant with child number one. Getting pregnant again will be simple. – You may have never heard the phrase “secondary infertility” but it is indeed a real entity that affects thousands of women each year. In other words, easily having one successful pregnancy does not guarantee that you will have another…or another.

There is a multitude of reasons why a second pregnancy may be difficult to achieve. You are older than you were the first time (perhaps by a good number of years), you may now be over-or under-weight, you may be taking medications that impede conception, or you may have new reproductive system issues that you have not yet discovered.

Regardless of what the cause may be, it is important to remember that it is certainly not a hopeless cause. Each year, many women with secondary infertility successfully turn to In Vitro fertilization (IVF) and other infertility treatments to achieve their dream of having more children.

There are many other myths about achieving pregnancy that has no doubt been mentioned to you if you are having problems conceiving. Everything from keeping a certain diet, to using crystals, or acupuncture, are tips you might receive from well-meaning friends and family members.

However, it is important to remember that if you have been trying to get pregnant for the last year and it has not happened, the best advice and help that you can seek out is from an experienced fertility specialist. This doctor can offer you the examinations and testing necessary to determine what the obstacles are that you individually may be facing, why pregnancy has been so hard to achieve, and what the appropriate solutions would be.

At Advanced Reproductive Medicine, our physicians know the truths about pregnancy and infertility and will help you get the answers you seek. Let us assist you in realizing your dream of starting or growing a family of your own. For more information or schedule a consultation, call us at 732-339-9300.

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