Fact or Fiction? 10 Myths on Getting Pregnant

Feb 2018 Pregnancy

Contributed by: SMG Women's Health Editorial Team

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While we all know how the baby-making process works, there are still many popular old wives’ tales and misconceptions out there surrounding fertility and pregnancy.

If you are planning to conceive or start a fertility treatment in Singapore, make sure to separate the facts from fiction surrounding fertility and pregnancy.

Myth #1

“I can expect to get pregnant very quickly once I start trying for a baby.”

Truth

If there are no complications, couples have a 25% to 30% chance of conceiving every month. Over 80% of couples will get pregnant within a year of trying for a baby. If you and your spouse have been having regular, unprotected sex for more than a year without conceiving, you may have a fertility problem.

Myth #2

“I should not seek help despite trying for years because there are no other abnormal symptoms.”

Truth

Even if you do not experience any abnormal symptoms, an underlying problem may be present and early recourse to fertility treatment may be necessary. Couples who have not had success conceiving should see an obstetrician and gynaecologist after a year, or after 6 months if they are older than 35.

Myth #3

“An inability to conceive is always the women’s problem.”

Truth

Infertility is not solely a women’s problem – 1/3 of cases are due to female infertility, while another 1/3 are due to male infertility causes. A further 20% are due to both female and male infertility while the last 10% of cases is unexplained.

Myth #4

“Having a regular menstrual cycle means I ovulate regularly.”

Truth

Having a regular cycle does not imply there may be no ovulatory problems. A woman may continue to have her menses even if ovulation has not occurred. Likewise, ovulation can also occur even if a menstrual period has not occurred.

Myth #5

“All infertility issues are due to irregular or no ovulation.”

Truth

Apart from ovulatory disorders, female infertility may be due to blocked fallopian tubes (usually caused by infection), abnormality in the uterus (e.g. fibroids or congenital problems of the uterus), and endometriosis. Male infertility may be due to low sperm count and quality, and may be caused by congenital problems, infection, tumours, and varicoceles. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity can increase risk of infertility in both males and females as well.

Myth #6

“Taking fertility pills will help me get pregnant easily.”

Truth

Not everyone will benefit from fertility pills. Fertility pills are mainly useful for women who have ovulation problems. Other treatment options may be necessary depending on the cause of infertility.

Myth #7

“Lying with your legs up against the wall or elevating the buttocks after sex will increase the chance of pregnancy.”

Truth

This technique has not been proven to have any impact on getting pregnant. Position during sex is also not an important factor in increasing the chances of pregnancy.

Myth #8

“To get pregnant, I should only have sex when ovulating.”

Truth

Ovulation signifies a peak in a woman’s fertility cycle and having sex during ovulation can increase chances of pregnancy. During ovulation, the released egg only survives for 12 to 24 hours in the uterus. However, sperm is able to survive in the woman’s body for 3-5 days, making it possible to get pregnant if one has sex a few days before ovulation begins.

Myth #9

“Ovulation always happens on Day 14 or in the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle.”

Truth

The timing or occurrence of ovulation can vary and depends on a woman’s menstrual cycle. In general, it usually occurs between Day 11 – 21 of a woman’s cycle, or about 2 weeks prior to the onset of the next period. However, factors such as stress, weight, extreme exercise, illness, or disruption of the usual routine may affect ovulation.

Myth #10

“With fertility treatments like IVF to help me get pregnant, I can delay childbearing till I’m older.”

Truth

Even with assisted reproductive techniques, age remains the largest factor for fertility in women. Just like with natural fertility, the success rate for fertility treatments such as IVF also decreases with age and is much lower in older women. While women below 35 have a 40% success rate with IVF treatment, women above 40 years old only have a 10% – 15% chance of success with the same treatment.

For more information on pregnancy or fertility concerns, make an appointment with our O&G specialists for more information on pregnancy or fertility concerns.

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