I started to research what is true and false concerning getting pregnant; when Apple mentioned the temperature sensing feature of the Apple Watch Series 8 and its ability to track ovulation.
True or false: Sperm can survive in the uterus for up to five days. TRUE!
Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant, it is important to understand the truth about a female’s fertility.
I must start off by debunking the myth that a woman can’t get pregnant on her period… If you are a female and have sex while on your period, you could become pregnant. The timing of your ovulation determines your capacity to become pregnant, but it is not directly related to menstruation. The truth is, a female is most likely to get pregnant a few days before and during ovulation, however, it is still possible to get pregnant during her period.
Sperm can survive in the uterus for up to five days, so it is possible sperm can fertilize an egg; it’s more likely to occur in females with shorter menstruation cycles.
There is a misconception that if a female is experiencing period symptoms they are not in the “fertile window” yet and therefore can’t get pregnant. But menstruation does not “clean out” sperm, in fact, sperm will continue to swim up to your reproductive system despite your menstruation.
The time period of a menstrual cycle can vary but it averages every 28 days. Most people think ovulation occurs exactly on the 14th day of the cycle, although research shows that ovulation can start as soon as 10 days and up to 16 days before the next period. Other research indicates that ovulation can start as early as seven days and as late as 20 days.
So, if you have sex before ovulation_ which can happen anywhere between seven to 20 days before your next period_ the sperm can actually survive by sitting in the uterus or fallopian tubes until you ovulate. (Talk about getting a life am I right…)
Jennifer McBlaine, PhD stated it’s her understanding that “reproduction, biology, and intercourse are intertwined. When a biological male and female are having intercourse biology takes over meaning it presumes you want to reproduce and create a child; it is not focused on the enjoyment aspect of having coitus. Getting pregnant is a possibility at any time during the month even though certain times of the month are more likely than others.”
**There is no pain associated with ovulation. If you begin to feel pain during these cycles, seek help from a medical professional.
Sex Ed and getting pregnant
I think a lot of myths about pregnancy and fertility revolve around sexual education or lack thereof.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) discloses that 47% of schools in the United States teach sexual education as abstinence-plus, while 20% teach that “responsible decisions about sex were more important than abstinence.” Fewer than half of high schools and a fifth of middle schools teach the sexual health topics that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers “essential” for healthy young people. Middle schools are also more likely to teach abstinence-only than high schools.
Planned Parenthood reveals that 37 states have laws requiring abstinence to be included in sex education and 18 states require educators to also share information about birth control. The truth is, young people are not well-educated about sex. I remember being taught in school these “horror stories” about unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Those tactics do not educate developing minds and leave young people in the dark about the truth.
Important note for females:
It is normal to want to have sex before you ovulate. Your hormones will make you more eager to
have sex before the ovulation cycle begins. Appetite for sex increases during your most fertile
period. This is a major factor if you’ve ever questioned why your desire for sex fluctuates throughout the month. Make use of this knowledge and pay attention to your body. If you have desires to have sex, then do it— safely.
Couples who are actually trying to get pregnant can be caught off guard when they cannot conceive right away. In high school health class, you are taught that if a male and a female have sex without protection then BAM! you’re pregnant. This takes couples who are trying to conceive by surprise since they are constantly being taught “how easy it is” to accidentally get pregnant. This stuff can take time. One study found, “After three months of trying, 68% of the couples were pregnant. After a year, 92% conceived.”
**Whether you have symptoms of infertility or not, if you can’t conceive after one year, talk to a healthcare provider. If you’re older than 35, see a healthcare provider after six months of trying to conceive. Delaying help can decrease your chances of successful treatment.
When Am I Most Fertile for getting pregnant?
While women are the most fertile in their 20s, the decline often begins in the late 20s and early 30s, but it proceeds to decline significantly quicker after age 35.
A healthy 30-year-old female’s probability of becoming pregnant within a month of trying is 20%, whereas for a 40-year-old woman this chance decreases to 5%. Once a woman reaches their mid-40s, very few years before menopause, the majority of women find it difficult to conceive.
Another common misperception is that people think deeper penetration in positions like missionary and doggy style will improve their chances of getting pregnant. Nevertheless, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim. The fact of the matter is pregnancy can occur through any sexual position that permits semen to come in contact with the cervix.
Some experts have asserted that placing a pillow under your hips after sex could better the chances of fertilization. If you want to increase your chances to conceive, here are some steps to follow:
- Keep track of menstrual cycles
- Monitor Ovulation periods
- Have sex every other day during the fertile window
- Strive to have a healthy body weight
- Take vitamins and eat healthily
- Cutback or stop smoking and drinking habits
True or False: I won’t be capable of conceiving because I’m stressed. FALSE!
Stress is never good for anyone, but it won’t prevent you from getting pregnant unless it interferes with your sex life.
Pregnancy and ovulation are topics that have a lot of half-truths and falsehoods surrounding them. Incorrect information on conception can even make it harder for people trying to get pregnant. There is a lack of sexual education taught because it is thought of as a taboo topic, yet a lack of knowledge can end up doing more harm than good.
If you ever have a question about fertility, ovulation, menstruation, etc… remember medical professionals are a great source of information. Do not be scared to ask— they want to help you.