Trying to conceive can be a difficult task, and it seems as if everyone has advice. Put your feet up, stand on your head, drink this drink, take Geritol, lose weight, gain weight, eat this diet or that, if you have ever decided to have a baby, you have heard them all. Sometimes, getting pregnant isn’t as easy as a little playtime with the spouse. It can be hard work. Many women and men experience fertility or just delays in conception. I would like to take a look at a few myths and truths surrounding pregnancy and conception. I have conceived children after primary and secondary infertility and know that it can be a daunting task to decipher what information is good and what is useless.
Sometimes we hear things like my aunt, or my cousin, or so-and-so did this and got pregnant, but what many of these people don’t understand is that proximity does not always equal causation. Coincidence isn’t the same as causation. This brings me to
Myth #1: About Getting Pregnant
Putting your legs on a wall or the headboard will help you conceive. This one looks and sounds plausible except, it doesn’t shift anything. I tried this one myself until someone pointed out that it wasn’t tilting my pelvis, therefore the sperm wasn’t getting any help from gravity. My pelvis was in the same position. If you want to try this one, it’s good for circulation and general health, but not helpful for conception.
Myth #2: About Getting Pregnant
You can only get pregnant in the missionary position.  While this position is good for conception, you can conceive in any position that results in ejaculation inside the vagina. Some positions have better angles for penetration, therefore making them more optimal for conception. If you’re bored with one position, by all means, try another. I wholeheartedly believe I know which sex act resulted in conception both times, and one was missionary and the other was not. This is not to give too much detail into my sex life, but it is designed to let you know that these are not just theories.
Myth #3: About Getting Pregnant
Taking geritol, drinking cough syrup with guaifenesin, or taking prenatal vitamins will help me conceive. The truth is that Geritol and prenatal vitamins may contain vital vitamins and nutrients for women of childbearing years. There is nothing at all wrong with taking them, but they do not directly promote fertility. They might improve overall health if you are slightly deficient in one vitamin or mineral, and that might help you to conceive, but there is nothing in these vitamins that improve fertility. Even if your grandma swears “There’s a baby at the bottom of every bottle of Geritol.” It’s not a scientific fact.
Myth #4: About Getting Pregnant
If I don’t get pregnant in a month, there must be something wrong. The truth of this one is that it takes everyone a different time frame to get pregnant. If you have never tried to conceive, you should first see your doctor and he or she will tell you how long to expect to take. Many couples do achieve pregnancy within 6-8 months, but others find it takes more or less time. There’s nothing necessarily wrong if it takes you five months. Be patient.
Myth #5: About Getting Pregnant
The woman must orgasm to become pregnant. Ladies, I understand why you might want to tell your partner this, but it simply isn’t true. The theory for this one is that it helps the sperm move through the canals and tubes making up the vaginal opening, cervix, fallopian tubes, and uterus. The contractions of orgasm are nice and may help pull a few sperm along, but most of the swimmers know the route. Now, if you want a little added attention and want to perpetuate this one with your partner, who am I to stop you?
If all of these are not ways to get pregnant, then how exactly do we improve our chances of conception? Conception is fairly simple in theory, but in reality, it can be one of the most frustrating things we will ever do. Sex is the greatest chance of conception. Even clinical methods can’t beat sex. It may have a higher success rate, but it is often easier on a marriage. Before exhausting clinical treatments such as IUI or IVF. So, what can I do to improve my chances?
Tip #1 : To Get Pregnant
See your doctor. Doctors can help evaluate you for any underlying problem and help you make sure that you are healthy enough for pregnancy. They can also prescribe prenatal vitamins and provide literature on sexual health and parenting. Trying to get pregnant with an underlying problem is not going to help you if you aren’t aware it’s there. If you have been trying already, and you haven’t seen your doctor, at least give them a heads up. There may be nothing to be concerned about but a prenatal vitamin might be in order. He or she may also want to run tests before continuing.
Tip #2: To Get Pregnant
Start tracking your cycles. There are many ways to do this. You may want to start low key with the calendar method. This method can use something as simple as a $2 planner from Dollar General. You could also get an app or use your calendar app. You track days you start and stop your period. This will help you see how many days your entire cycle is and how many days your period tends to last. Theoretically, you could have sex during the middle of this cycle to improve your chances of pregnancy. If simple tracking doesn’t work you might want to try tip 3.
Tip #3: To Get Pregnant
Ovulation and symptom tracking. Fertility Awareness Method. This method is sometimes used as birth control, but it provides valuable information for tracking cycles and ovulation. First, the woman will begin by tracking her temperature first thing in the morning. This should be done before sitting up or getting out of bed. Symptoms of fertility should be tracked as well. These symptoms include the height of the cervix, the type of cervical mucous, and cervical softness. Each will give a sense of what the body is doing at each time of the month. The book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler  can be an invaluable tool for learning about this method. I used the method with both pregnancies and predicted my due date fairly accurately. I had two premature children, though.
Tip #4: To Get Pregnant
Cut out bad habits now! Smoking, drinking, drugs, and being overweight can all affect fertility. It is no secret that these things are also bad for fetuses. Before you get pregnant cut out the bad habits and maintain a healthy weight.
Tip #5: To Get Pregnant
Enjoy sex, but don’t overdo it. Sex for pleasure is great when trying to conceive. Do keep in mind, though, that it does temporarily deplete the sperm count. Men recover fairly quickly but sex three or four times a day does not increase your chances of conception and may decrease them. Healthline  suggests waiting a few days between ejaculations or at least a week before the time you ovulate. This will allow the sperm to build up to a healthy count and motility.
Bonus Tip: To Get Pregnant
Lube can be good, but be careful. Some lube has spermicide in it. This will hinder conception. Use spermicide-free lubrication that is made for couples trying to conceive. This will ensure that you have less irritation and aren’t killing sperm in the process.
These tips are by no means an exhaustive list. They are the most recommended ways to increase your chance of pregnancy. Few other tips on conception and healthy pregnancy are covered in one of our previous post.
Remember, this should not take the place of medical advice from a medical professional, and you should always see your doctor before trying to conceive a child. You should also immediately contact your doctor if you suspect you have a problem or you may be pregnant. Good luck. May you soon achieve a healthy pregnancy.
 Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge of Your Fertility Harper Collins 2015
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