Studies show many American women are putting off pregnancy until their 30s – and even their 40s. This continuing trend is often driven by women’s career interests and their confidence in remaining fertile, medical professionals say.
But while many women are trying to time their pregnancy, that can be tricky due to the massive amount of conflicting information about fertility.
“Separating fact from fiction can be difficult, because there are many myths on the topics of ovulation, timing of intercourse, and charting fertility,” says Hethir Rodriguez, founder and president of Natural Fertility Info.com (www.natural-fertility-info.com) and a certified herbalist specializing in women’s health. “These myths have been repeated so often that we readily believe them.
“The best time to get pregnant doesn’t always mean it will happen right when you’re ready, but there are basic things to know and intelligent ways to prepare your body for pregnancy.”
Rodriguez debunks some oft-discussed myths about fertility:
- You can get pregnant only one or two days a month. There are six days of the menstrual cycle that a woman could possibly get pregnant. “Because a female egg lives 12-24 hours after ovulation and sperm lives up to five days in the female reproductive system, you can have baby-making sex up to three days prior to and the day of ovulation – even the day after,” Rodriguez says.
- All fertility apps are inaccurate. “The sheer numbers of different types are daunting, and there are doubters in the medical community,” Rodriguez says. “But a good number of apps get good results. There are numerous apps available to help chart basal body temperature, track their cervical mucus, monitor hormone fluctuations, and pinpoint the day of ovulation.”
- Women can ovulate twice in the same cycle. “In about 10 percent of cycles, you may ovulate twice,” Rodriguez says, “but it is going to be within a 24-hour period. Some people think they can ovulate on week two of their menstrual cycle and then again on week three, but that’s not possible.”
- Your diet does not have an impact on your fertility. “Diet makes a huge difference and is one of the most powerful tools you have for your fertility,” Rodriguez says. She suggests nutrient-dense foods, as close to their natural state as possible, because “the right diet can help regulate ovulatory function, increasing chances of pregnancy.”
- If you have a regular menstrual cycle you won’t have any problems getting pregnant. Rodriguez says that even with a normal cycle, there might still be underlying fertility health issues, especially if a woman has been trying unsuccessfully to conceive. “One such issue is Luteal phase defect, in which the period of time from ovulation until menstruation is too short – less than 12 days,” Rodriguez says.
- Infertility is a woman’s issue. “This is a myth that is underlying our culture,” Rodriguez says. “There’s a 40 percent chance the fertility health issue resides with the woman and 40 percent it’s due to male-factor infertility. And sperm health is equally as important as egg health because these cells equally provide the DNA that will make up your future child.”
“The dialogue on fertility issues is important,” Rodriguez says. “For a long time, it wasn’t discussed so publicly, and it can be a sensitive topic. But with so much information out there, it’s vital they seek the right professionals so they can make informed decisions.”