There are so many old wives’ tales surrounding fertility and conceiving a child. And let me tell you, when you want a baby, there aren’t many things that you won’t do! I’ve tried them ALL and none of them worked, but hey, it was fun trying (at first).
Here are some common myths and wives’ tales about conception and the truth behind them. Some of them are bizarre, while some could actually reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
Myth: Put your legs in the air or do a headstand immediately after sex to help sperm move in the right direction.
I don’t know if I should admit how many times I have tried this, and guess what? I never got pregnant.
While it seems logical that holding your legs in the air or doing a headstand would help the sperm to move in the right direction, there is no scientific proof to suggest that this is true. It is important to remember that each male ejaculation contains millions of sperm so it is simply not possible that all of them would disappear if a woman was to immediately stand up.
Myth: Chugging cough syrup will increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Been there, done that, and, ummm, I do not recommend this! Cough syrup is disgusting, and it doesn’t work!
The belief is that one ingredient which is commonly found in cough syrups, Guaifenesin, can thin cervical fluid – allowing the sperm to travel up the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. Once again, this does nothing to increase your chances of conception. The cervical mucus actually plays a fundamental role in the conception process by nourishing and protecting sperm as it makes its way through the female reproductive system to meet the egg. In fact, Clomid, the medication often used to treat infertility, actually thickens the mucus.
Myth: Wear warm socks to keep your uterus warm.
Who doesn’t like to have warm feet? I was always down to try this one, but surprise, it never worked!
In Chinese Medicine, the temperature of your feet is related to the temperature of your womb. Keeping your feet warm keeps all of the energy meridians in your legs warm. These meridians bring energy up to your uterus and entire pelvis area. They believe, if your feet are cold, your uterus is cold, which can be a cause of infertility. However, your core temperature stays pretty stable. Even if you feel cold, most likely, your core is probably still a normal temperature.
Myth: Eating the core of a pineapple increases the chances of implantation.
Ummm brb, you can find me in the fruit aisle. Ugh, I wish this one actually worked because I love pineapple.
This is one of the most common fertility myths. The theory is that pineapple, especially the core, contains something called bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that helps us break down and digest our food. When taken on an empty stomach, bromelain can act as a blood thinner and an anti-inflammatory, and all of this may help an embryo implant into the uterus. While there are lots of stories out there about the wonders of pineapple, there just isn’t a lot of scientific data to back this one up.
Myth: Having sex every day will increase your chances of conceiving.
The more you have sex, the higher your chance is to get pregnant, right? Wrong. In fact, too much sex can lower a man’s sperm count. Plus, this takes the fun out of it. Instead, try every other day and give those sperm a chance to build back up.
Fertility isn’t as much about frequency as it is timing. Women are most likely to conceive on the day they ovulate and during the five days leading up to ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs somewhere between days 10 and 17 of your cycle. Having sex during that time is helpful but certainly not a guarantee.
Myth: Stop and smell the roses.
So cliché, when struggling with infertility, everyone says stop and smell the roses! When you slow down and stop thinking about it, it will happen. But anyone who struggles with infertility knows that 1. this is impossible and 2. it doesn’t work!
While we all will try the myths, because let’s be honest, when trying to conceive you will do ANYTHING. But, reality is, none of them actually work and you could be wasting precious time. Here are some tips that will actually help you conceive.
Reality: Chart your periods.
Paying attention to exactly when you get your periods, their duration, along with how regular they are is key to helping you conceive. This will help you track your ovulation better and keep track if your cycle is regular. Keep in mind, everyone’s cycle is different, and if you are experiencing abnormalities in your menstrual cycle, definitely talk to your doctor because it could be a sign of a bigger issue.
Reality: Use sperm-friendly lubricants.
Make sure you use sperm friendly lubricants. Some lubricants are known for decreasing the movement of sperm, lowering your chance of fertilization. If a lubricant is needed, First Response makes a fertility-friendly lubricant called Pre-Seed Personal Lubricant. There are also natural options that are safe and sperm-friendly, such as, olive oil, egg whites, vegetable oil and baby oil.
Reality: Acupuncture can help with fertility.
Acupuncture is known to reduce stress, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and balance the endocrine system, which are all a recipe for conception and creating a stronger chance for an egg to be nourished and carried to term.
Reality: Quit smoking!! Duh.
If you need get another reason to quit smoking this is a good one! Smoking habits may be responsible for fertility struggles in as many as 13% of couples – and it’s something you may not think about. All the gross chemicals and junk in cigarette age your ovaries and deplete your egg reserve faster. There’s also an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. It is recommended to stop smoking three months prior to trying to conceive.
Reality: Maintain a healthy BMI.
It’s important to be at a healthy BMI. Women should aim for a BMI of 20-24.9 for optimal fertility. If you are too low, you can stop ovulating all together. If you are on the high side, you can have increased levels of estrogen, which messes with your ovulation. Losing even 5% of your bodyweight can significantly improve fertility.
Reality: Make an appointment with a fertility specialist if you haven’t conceived after 6 months of trying, and you don’t need a referral.
The common myth is to wait a year before going to see a fertility specialist. This is what we are always told and even many doctors still say. However, in going through our infertility journey, I learned two very important things. First of all, you don’t need a referral from your doctor to see a fertility specialist. You can simply make an appointment yourself. Next, a fertility doctor once told me that after the six-month mark, you should see a specialist because, from the 6-12 month mark, you only have a 10% chance of getting pregnant if you haven’t already. So most likely, these additional six months won’t matter – you will simply waste more time and become more frustrated. Also, as you get older, time is of the essence so you will want to get all the information and facts as quickly as you can!
Reality: The Ava bracelet can help you find your fertile window.
As I mentioned, fertility is more about timing than frequency. The Ava Fertility Tracker is a great tool for women who want to monitor their health for trying to conceive. While you’re sleeping, Ava’s sensors collect data on seven physiological parameters and then the tracker uses an algorithm to detect your fertile window. Ava detects the very first signs that the fertile window is beginning and confirms when it ends. Unfortunately, Ava can’t resolve fertility issues. However, if timing is your issue, Ava can definitely help.
Through the app, you can see insight about your menstrual phase, sleep, stress and resting pulse rate. If you do become pregnant, you can continue tracking this data during pregnancy, along with weight tracking and weekly pregnancy content.
Ava wouldn’t have helped me personally, as Kyle and I both had issues that prevented us from making a baby no matter the timing, but I’m so happy that women who are trying to conceive have this tool available to help them be their own advocates when it comes to their reproductive health.
I’m excited to team up with Robyn during National Infertility Awareness Week to give away 20 (yes, 20!) Ava bracelets to my followers. Head on over to my Instagram to enter the giveaway and be sure to share with anyone who might benefit from a fertility tracker.
I’d love to hear any other crazy old wives’ tales you may have heard about trying to conceive – or if you have a reality that may help someone else. Comment here or on my social and keep the conversation going!