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Hollywood movies make it seem so easy – one romantic, candlelit evening and bam – she is pregnant! But, the reality for many women is that becoming a mom isn’t simple or instantaneous. In fact, 1 in 8 couples has trouble conceiving – even celebrities like Gwyn Stefani, Kim Kardashian, and Jamie King, have shared their fertility troubles publicly.
With National Infertility Awareness Week here (April 22nd-28th), we’re debunking common fertility myths with leading fertility expert, Dr. Peter Rizk, head of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at the University of South Alabama.
6 Common Fertility Myths Debunked
1.Fertility is a women’s problem In many cultures, including here in the United States, infertility is largely thought to be a women’s issue. The stats just don’t support this view. In nearly 40% of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility!!
2.You can get pregnant at any time in your cycle, believe it or not, there are only 3 to 5 days in your menstrual cycle that having sex can lead to pregnancy. In each menstrual cycle, only one egg is released from the ovary, and this egg has a very short lifespan – it will live only up to 24 hours after it is released. Sperm must act quickly to fertilize the egg before it’s too late, so it is absolutely critical that healthy sperm are ready and waiting in your Fallopian tube at the time of ovulation.
3.Ovulation usually occurs on Day 14 of the cycle. Probably the most widely held fertility myth is the notion that women always ovulate on Day 14 of their cycle. If this were indeed true, there would be virtually no need for birth control, since couples could simply avoid that one day. So, how do you know when you will ovulate? You can look to your body for clues, such as changes in the quantity and consistency of your cervical mucus. Or, you can use one of the many available ovulation prediction tools, such test strips that detect the presence of the luteinizing hormone in your urine or a high-tech fertility monitor, like the OvaCue Fertility Monitor that connects to your smartphone.
4.If you have intercourse when you ovulate, you’ll conceive Your only chance to conceive is to have sex during your fertile window (the days just before you ovulate), but even with careful timing of intercourse, the average couple aged 29 to 33 has only about a 25% chance of getting pregnant during any given menstrual cycle, and this percentage declines steadily as the age of the couple increases. Poor sperm and egg health, as well as underlying issues like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can impact your fertility.
5.Only older women have fertility issues While it is true that female fertility declines with age, it is not uncommon for women under the age of 35 to have fertility issues. In fact, 10% of women of reproductive age have irregular cycles, making it very difficult to determine if and when ovulation is happening. And, it is important to remember that as your overall health goes, so goes your fertility.
Dietary and lifestyle choices, and stress levels can impact your chances of conceiving. Give your reproductive health a boost with these tips:
*Curb stress levels with at least 30 minutes of exercise every day
*Eat a balanced diet with whole foods and at least 8 glasses of water a day
*Switch to decaf
*Limit alcohol and stop smoking
6.If you’ve been trying to get pregnant without success for a few months, you need IVF or IUI IVF and IUI are often considered to be last resort options, and most doctors won’t even discuss these procedures until you have been trying to get pregnant the old-fashioned way for about a year. So If you are just starting off on your trying-to-conceive journey, be sure to make the most of your efforts to get pregnant naturally. Many doctors are recommending dietary supplements containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and herbs – like FertilAid for Women and Men – as a natural, non-invasive way to support optimal reproductive health and fertility.
My advice for women trying to conceive: take a hard look at your lifestyle, reduce stress, clean up your diet, and exercise; see your doctor to talk through your concerns and map out a plan tailored for you and share these 6 Common Fertility Myths Debunked with your friends who are currently trying to conceive or want to start soon.