When you’re trying to conceive, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by baby books, health brochures, and Internet forums all promising to have the secret to what works and what doesn’t.
“For years, there have been myths about fertility and conception that simply aren’t true,” says Jie Xu, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist at Riddle Hospital, Main Line Health. “In fact, following some of these guidelines might actually hinder your chances of conceiving.”
If you’re one of the many women, or men, who is struggling with separating conception fact from fiction, see a list of common myths below for clarification from Dr. Xu.
Relaxing brings results. False. You may have heard that you have a better chance of conception once you stop thinking about it. While a lot of stress can affect your ability to ovulate in rare cases, having conception on the mind isn’t enough to deter your ability to conceive.
Conception won’t happen after age 35. False. Your fertility starts to decline around age 30, but that doesn’t mean that conception is impossible.
“Fertility issues can arise at any age. There’s no reason to think that if you’re age 35 and over that you can’t conceive,” explains Dr. Xu.
Timing is everything. True. The chances of conception are best when a woman is ovulating, the time when an egg is available to be fertilized. Ovulation occurs at a different point in every woman’s cycle, but is typically anywhere between 11-21 days since her last menstrual period. If you’re unsure about when ovulation occurs, talk to your gynecologist.
While the timing of ovulation does make a difference, other factors such as how frequently and what times of the day you are trying to conceive do not, says Dr. Xu.
Second time’s a charm. False. Many women who have already had children expect a second conception to be a simpler process. But that’s not always the case.
“Most people associate infertility with your first try at conception,” says Dr. Xu. “But the possibility of infertility still exists for a couple who is trying to conceive again, and it can be a very stressful process.”
If you’re struggling with conception or fertility, talk to your obstetrician, who can help you determine whether you and your partner are healthy and ready for conception, and can answer any of your questions.
Questions about fertility and conception? Visit the Main Line Health website to find a doctor near you and request an appointment.