Are you trying to get pregnant but finding it difficult to sort fact from fiction?
With so much fertility advice on the internet, it’s hard to know what information you can trust and what your next steps should be.
Here are the top 5 biggest myths and misconceptions about fertility:
Myth #1. Fertility Starts With the Woman
Women are generally the target of pregnancy topics, but infertility affects men and women equally. Men and women have their own set of symptoms that may suggest infertility. After the age of 40, a man is likely to start experiencing decreases in semen volume and motility. It is vital that men be tested early during the infertility evaluation. Infertility diagnosis is one third male factors, one third female factors, and one third unknown causes.
Myth #2. You Can’t Get Pregnant After 35
Yes, you can! It is absolutely possible to become pregnant over the age of 35 or until you no longer have eggs being released for ovulation. Typically this will occur during menopause or with certain medical conditions. There are risks with age, such as miscarriage and stillbirth. In addition, multiple pregnancies are more common. This occurs because as the ovaries age, they are more likely to release more than one egg each month.
Myth #3: Being on Birth Control for Too Long Leads to Infertility.
There are several viewpoints to this myth we will look at. One thought is that being on birth control is a good thing to preserve one’s fertility by saving ones eggs from ovulation. The other side is being worried that the pill harms their fertility, especially if they’ve been on them for an extended time. There is no reliable research supporting either of these statements. My recommendation is if you have not had a spontaneous period within three months of stopping your birth control pills, seek care for a further workup by your health care provider.
Myth #4: You can Relax Your Way to fertility
Stress alone does not cause infertility, but rather it can push us toward unhealthy behaviors that can affect our health and fertility. One way this occurs is when you’re feeling anxious or stressed, your nervous system releases stress hormones such as cortisol. This in turn, causes a fight or flight response that shuts down any system that isn’t necessary for survival ie the reproductive system. This is why we see our cycles become irregular when you’re experiencing high levels of stress. Let’s pause and remember that “simply relaxing” does not impact our fertility. It is a matter of hormones returning to a normal level and reproductive health falling back to baseline. Things you can do to assist in caring for your overall health include good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and cognitive behavioral therapy work.
Myth #5. Your Health Doesn’t Impact Fertility
Healthy lifestyles are recommended to everyone. It is important to try and maintain a healthy weight prior to conception and during. Obese women have a higher risk of complications when they do become pregnant. Studies have demonstrated obesity is associated with a mild increase in early pregnancy loss however, weight loss does NOT prevent pregnancy loss. Enhanced preconception counseling is recommended, not just weight loss. This looks at the overall lifestyle and takes a team approach to care.
Hopefully busting these myths helps you avoid the common misconceptions about fertility. Please let me know if I can help you sort fact from fiction and determine the next steps.
Also Read: Is Infertility Traumatic?