Top 10 myths about conception

March 11, 2013 by

Top 10 myths about conception

People like to talk to each other, and sometimes, despite their best intentions, they end up telling the wrong information. How else do you think silly myths about conception and pregnancy came about? Just because you heard it from your sister, best friend or mom doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Take these top 10 myths about conception, for example. Have you heard any of them?

1. Certain sex positions make it easier to conceive

While it seems like some sex positions might make it easier for your man’s sperm to make it to their destination and result in a pregnancy, like the deep penetration of missionary, the reality is that sperm are naturally programmed to head that way anyway, no matter what your body’s doing or how your guy entered you. Babies have probably been conceived from every type of sex position you can think of.

2. Doing a handstand after sex will increase your chances of conception

If this sounds silly, it’s because it is. Sure, gravity would be in the sperm’s favor if you did a handstand, but as mentioned in the previous myth, sperm are good swimmers already and don’t necessarily need any help. However, it’s not a bad idea to lay in bed for a while after having sex: If you want to give every last sperm a fighting chance of reaching your egg, you don’t want any to leak out when you get up. Twenty or 30 minutes is all you need.

3. Cough syrup can help you conceive

This sounds weird, but there is some science behind this myth. Some cough syrups contain an ingredient called guaifenesin that thins the mucus in your lungs. It can also thin the mucus in other parts of your body, like in your cervix and vagina, which supposedly makes it easier for sperm to travel. Sperm don’t need extra help moving up to your egg, but some doctors have prescribed guaifenesin to women who have fertility issues because of excessively thick cervical mucus. While this definitely doesn’t work for everyone, you could ask your doctor if this might be the reason behind any infertility issues.

4. Riding a bike will reduce your guy’s sperm count

Unless your dude is a hardcore bicyclist who spends the majority of his time on a bike riding long distances, there’s no evidence that a leisurely ride here and there will affect his sperm count. Theoretically, the extra heat, friction and jostling of the testicles that would result from frequent long rides could negatively impact sperm count (though there’s no scientific proof), but for most men, there’s nothing to worry about.

5. You need to have an orgasm in order to conceive

Some people think that the uterine contractions caused by a woman’s orgasm can help the sperm successfully travel to the egg. Obviously, this is untrue, which is good news considering that it’s difficult to orgasm at the same time as your partner, which is what would need to happen if this were the case. So, if you don’t quite get there next time you try, relax. It might still happen!

6. You can’t get pregnant during your period

Men and women sometimes think that a woman can’t get pregnant if she’s on her period because she finished her cycle and ovulation won’t happen for a couple of weeks. While this is partly true and it is rare for a woman to conceive during her period because those aren’t the best days to get pregnant, some women have shorter cycles that do make it possible to conceive at this time. It’s better not to take any chances.

7. If your man doesn’t ejaculate inside you, you won’t get pregnant

This may seem like it would be true, but it’s actually not. The pull-out method of birth control has failed time and time again because even though there’s no sperm entering you when your man ejaculates elsewhere, the pre-ejaculatory fluid that your guy excretes while you’re having sex can still contain sperm. That means those little guys can still make it to your egg and fertilize it.

8. Frequent ejaculation decreases male fertility

Some women who are trying to conceive tell their partners not to masturbate during the process because of this myth. Studies have shown that the quality and quantity of sperm isn’t affected by how often a man ejaculates, however – even if he does it daily. Actually, not ejaculating for more than 5 to 10 days can decrease the number of healthy sperm cells, so do it as often as possible!

9. You can control your baby’s sex based on when you conceive

Sorry, but you have no control over the sex of your baby. Medical trials haven’t been able to prove that the timing of sex relative to ovulation has any effect on whether a fetus will be a boy or a girl.

10. If you don’t get pregnant in the first few months of trying, there’s a problem

While your sex education teachers might have led you to believe otherwise, conceiving is actually harder than it seems. While you might get frustrated after a few months of trying, couples aren’t officially considered infertile until they’ve failed to conceive after a whole year of trying. Keep at it! For 80 percent of couples, pregnancy occurs within a year of trying.

Lizzie Goodman is a writer living in the Midwest. Since becoming a mom, she's learned to do everything one-handed, often while letting her baby daughter pull her hair and poke her in the face. She believes in the strength and power of women - and really enjoys writing about pregnancy and motherhood.

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