fertility myths

There is a lot of misinformation about conception. As a fertility specialist, I hear my share of myths about trying to conceive.

To that end, here are few myths that I want to take the opportunity to debunk right here and now:

Myth #1: You need to lift your legs in the air after sex to get pregnant.
Nope. This position is unnecessary. While studies have shown that staying horizontal for about 15 minutes is helpful, having your legs in the air is not. If you want, put a pillow under your hips while you are waiting. But your legs can stay comfortably down.

Myth #2: This position is better than that position to become pregnant.
Again, nope. There is no position that is better than another for getting pregnant.

Myth #3: Eat [this food], and you will have a boy/girl/twins/a baby.

Extreme diets with [fill-in-the-blank-food] are not effective for getting pregnant. That is not to say that what you eat doesn’t have some effect on your ability to get pregnant, however. You should eat a well-balanced diet full of whole, nutrient-dense foods with plenty of lean proteins and organically grown fruits and vegetables. But yams won’t get you twins, and pineapple is great but won’t get you two lines on the next pregnancy test.

Myth #4: Have sex every day, and you improve your chances of getting pregnant.
This one seems like it would be true, but it isn’t. The best strategy for sex is to know what week you are approaching ovulation and time your sex for every other day for that week. Why every other day? This gives the sperm the best chance to replenish and still be at their most vital for their big task ahead.

Myth #5: Only have sex the week you are ovulating to get pregnant.
This one also seems like it could be true, but it isn’t either. While we recommend having plenty of intercourse when the woman is ovulating to achieve conception, we also recommend having sex throughout the cycle to keep the sperm as vital as possible. Sperm loses vitality over time in waiting, and many of them die. Think of it as turning over the sperm inventory. The old joke is that practice makes perfect. The intercourse you have in the “off times” is just practice for the big week.

Myth #6: You only have to quit drinking and smoking after you get pregnant.
Smoking and drinking (to excess) are not good for anyone’s health, whether they are trying to get pregnant or not. But when you are trying to get pregnant, they are especially damaging to your fertility health. So if you have bad habits, quit them today.

These are but a few of the myths fertility specialists hear. One of the best things you can do when trying to conceive is to get the facts about conception. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what you can do to help make your dreams of a family a reality.