Most people often misunderstand fertility. Just like Sarah, most women think that if they are healthy and in good shape, they should become pregnant immediately, but that’s not how things work in real life. But it doesn’t mean that if you have failed to conceive in a few months, you are infertile.
Today, there are many unnecessary and baseless myths about fertility and a lot of educated and uneducated women become a victim of these myths. It is the responsibility of every adult woman who wants to get pregnant to study, research and rectify any myth about fertility before believing it. Some popular myths about fertility prevailing in our society are:
Myth #1: Maternal Age and Fertility
The most popular myth about fertility is that if a woman crosses 35 years of age, she becomes infertile.
This is not true; as long as you are having your monthly menstrual cycles, you have the potential to conceive. Although it has been observed that some couples encounter difficulty in conception with age, the majority of women can still conceive if they follow basic fertility guidelines.
A woman develops the ability to become pregnant after puberty (around 12 to 15 years in most girls) and remains fertile until menopause or peri-menopause (around mid-40s). Even after 40, women can still become pregnant and give birth to healthy babies, but it is generally recommended to try earlier in order to avoid any likely complications, such as gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension.
Another popular myth is about maternal age and the high risk of genetic disorders and chromosomal aberrations.
Most chromosomal aberrations and genetic disorders are inherited in nature, and if there is a family history of genetic defects, the risk of inheritance in babies is always there, regardless of the age of mother.
It is, however, a fact that the risk of Down syndrome is high in babies born to mothers older than 35 years, but the risk of other genetic diseases is the same as that of any younger woman.
Age is an important factor only because with advancing age, most women become less capable of handling abrupt hormonal changes of pregnancy that may affect their health (while pregnant or after pregnancy). But age as a whole does not determine fertility as long as you have normal menstrual cycles.
Myth #2: Healthy Couples Always Conceive Without Difficulty or Delay
This is another popular myth that if a couple is apparently healthy, they should conceive immediately after a few attempts of unprotected intercourse.
Having irregular menstrual cycles or other systemic diseases indicate a clear risk or abnormality, and that’s why most women are mentally prepared to seek the treatment at the time of getting pregnant. However, a woman who is apparently in good shape takes no interest in learning tips that can increase the chances of fertility.
It is imperative to know that apparently healthy women may also have some minor hormonal aberrations that can affect fertility. Regardless of systemic issues, it is still important to follow some tips that can increase your chances of getting pregnant faster (discussed briefly in next section).
Statistics suggest that the chances of getting pregnant with each ovarian cycle are only 25 percent. However, by carefully studying your ovarian cycle, you can increase your chances significantly.
Myth #3: Sex Position Doesn’t Matter as Long as We Do It Frequently
A successful conception is pretty much dependent on the position of sex. Moreover, it is also very important to perform intercourse when ovulation occurs. Performing frequent intercourse throughout the cycle but not at the time of ovulation greatly limits your chances of becoming pregnant.
Moreover, there are certain positions that increase your chances of getting pregnant by ensuring a deeper penetration to deliver sperm directly to the inner vagina. Deeper penetration is helpful, especially in females who have a relatively acidic pH that limits the motility of sperm and damages the sensitive male gametes from reaching the fallopian tubes.
The primary reason I am discussing the popular myths is to enlighten couples to follow basic guidelines and authentic medical research instead of baseless myths that add to stress and worry.
To become pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy, it is very important that your body is in a state of biochemical equilibrium or harmony of different hormones. Stress, worry and anxiety increase the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, that have several effects on the body:
- Alteration of the release of sex hormones that may disrupt the ovarian cycle and ovulation.
- Increase the synthesis and release of sugars under the influence of stress hormones to raise blood sugar levels that also interfere with fertility.
- Imbalance of different hormones also causes changes in the pH of the vagina that makes the vaginal secretion more acidic and toxic for sperm.
All these factors eventually affect the hormonal rhythm and in turn may also lead to infertility. Besides causing hormonal irregularities, stress and anxiety also affect overall physical, emotional and psychological well-being that affects maternal health and relationships.