7 Fertility Myths that Could Be Keeping You From Getting Pregnant

You may not have put a lot of thought into getting pregnant. Not everyone plans, charts, or tries to predict ovulation. A lot of couples just let nature take its course and see what happens. On the other hand, some couples purchase BBT thermometers, ovulation kits, and plan intercourse on a schedule but still don’t get pregnant. There are several misconceptions about ovulation and when to have intercourse. These myths and misconceptions could be keeping you from getting pregnant.

1. You Should Have Sex on Day 14 of Your Cycle to Get Pregnant

You have probably heard that most women ovulate on day 14 of their cycle. This is simply not true. It is based on the calendar method of predicting ovulation. If you have a perfect 28 day cycle, where your luteal phase (the second half of your cycle) is exactly 14 days long, you would likely ovulate around day 14. Most women, however, do not have perfect cycles, and even the women who do have regular cycles usually do not ovulate at exactly the same time each month.

2. You Should Have Sex 24-72 Hours After You Ovulate

young couple trying to conceive

There is some confusion over when to have sex if you are trying to get pregnant. Yes, it is true that you want to time intercourse very close to ovulation. Where many couples go wrong, is they only have sex when they think they are ovulating or they have sex after they ovulate. There are two problems with this strategy, the first is that once you ovulate, your egg will only survive for about 12-24 hours (not 72). If you do not start having intercourse until the day you ovulate, you may be only giving yourself a 12-hour opportunity to get pregnant. Sperm can live for up to five days so having sex before (not after) ovulation is important. Ideally, you want to have intercourse one or two days before you ovulate.

The other problem with this strategy is that many women cannot tell when they are ovulating. If you are not sure when you are ovulating or if you miscalculate your ovulation day, you could be having sex on all the wrong days. Having sex regularly - three times a week - is one of the best ways to be sure you are having sex at the right time.

3. You Are Most Fertile the Day Your Temperature Rises on Your BBT Chart

BBT charting is a great way to learn about your cycle and to determine if you are ovulating. However, it is not the best way to predict ovulation. By the time you see your temperature rise on your BBT chart, you have already ovulated. Even though temperature charting isn’t helpful for predicting ovulation, it is useful for confirming ovulation. It can also be useful for detecting fertility problems such as anovulatory cycles or luteal phase defects.

4. Infertility Is Not Treatable or Too Expensive to Treat

couple at fertility doctor

A lot of couples mistakenly believe that they are infertile. Before consulting a doctor, they make assumptions that there isn’t anything that can be done about it or if they were to see a doctor it would be incredibly expensive to treat. This misconception can keep many couples from seeking medical advice for problems that could easily be treated. If you have not gotten pregnant after a year of trying to conceive, you should seek medical advice. If you have irregular menstrual cycles or are having anovulatory BBT charts, you should consult a doctor. Although some infertility treatments are costly, many are not and many can be covered by health insurance.

5. A Doctor Won’t See You for Treatment Until You've Been Trying for a Year

Not true. Some doctors may not offer infertility treatments such as fertility medications until you have been trying for one year, but it is a good idea to see a doctor if you are trying to conceive. Plan to have a gynecological checkup as soon as or before you plan to start trying. He or she can make sure that you are in good health, screen for any obvious issues, and give you some guidelines for trying to get pregnant. You may want to start taking prenatal vitamins before you start trying.

6. You Should Have Sex as Many Times as You Can on the Day You are Ovulating

While this won’t really hurt your chances, it won't necessarily increase them. Even if you have sex all day long on the day you think you are ovulating, you may not get pregnant. During each cycle, you have about a 20-30 percent chance of getting pregnant. One of the biggest mistakes couples make is trying to cram all their lovemaking into the one day they think is best to try to conceive. Well, what if this is not the right day? Some women have a difficult time predicting ovulation, so one of the best things you can do is to have sex regularly three to four times a week.

7. Generally, Women are the Ones that Have Fertility Problems; Men Rarely Have Problems

woman with conception kit

For some reason, women tend to think that only men that abuse drugs or are impotent have fertility problems. This is not true. Infertility is a problem that affects both men and women equally, with about 40 percent of infertility being linked to male factors, 40 percent to female, and 20 percent to a combination of male and female factors.