Misconceptions about Preconception


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What the Statistics are (not) telling us:

The statistics of fertility do not match with what we have been taught to believe about getting pregnant.  The latest CDC statistics show that 1 in 8 couples will experience infertility. Infertility is defined as one year of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant or 6 months unsuccessfully if you are over 35.  

The Reality of Fertility:

But the story we have all been told and believed, is that we can/will get pregnant anytime we have sex.  That anyone who is not preventing pregnancy will get pregnant, and sometimes even those prevention measures fail.  So, we spend years in fear of getting pregnant. We take hormonal birth control pills but still worry if we are “late”  Then, when the time comes that we are ready to start a family, we expect that since we are no longer preventing pregnancy, we will get pregnant easily.  

This is where belief and reality come crashing together…  

The statistics show that any given cycle, a couple has about a 25% chance of getting pregnant, and this number drops as you get older.  Reproductive medical clinics have lots of confusing statistics about chances of conception with medical assistance, but even those percentages are not much higher.  So we have been taught that it is easy to get pregnant, but the reality is, it’s not.  

5 common misconceptions about conception…

If I go off birth control, I will get pregnant right away because I am no longer preventing pregnancy.

The cultural myth that many of us buy into is that pregnancy is something to be feared, especially unplanned pregnancies.  Even the language we use promotes that feeling of fear. We talk about a pregnancy “scare” and live in fear of the pill not working or the condom breaking.  Even if we are taking measures to prevent pregnancy, our heart races if our period is a few days late.

I went on the pill to “fix my period” so when I come off the pill my body will be ready to have a baby.

 Many of us are told that the hormonal birth control pill will “fix” whatever difficulties we are having with our periods.  Whether that is heavy periods, PMS, acne, PCOS. The truth is, the hormonal birth control pill disrupts the communication between our brain and ovaries.  If we start taking the pill in our teens, that pattern of communication never gets well established. Then, when we go off birth control to try to get pregnant, the brain and ovaries have to start communicating again (or establish that communication in the first place).  It can take 6-12 months after coming off the birth control pill to have an ovulatory cycle. And, if there were underlying conditions (which the pills were supposed to “fix”) it can take even longer to resolve those issues so the body is ready to conceive.

All I need to do to get ready for pregnancy is to start taking a prenatal vitamin.

If I asked you 3 things you should eat or stop eating when you’re pregnant, you could probably rattle them off quickly.  Don’t eat raw fish or soft cheeses, stop eating lunch meat, don’t drink coffee. But, can you name 3 things to do to get your body ready to conceive.  Chances are the only one you can come up with is to start taking a prenatal vitamin.

Don’t get me wrong, starting a prenatal vitamin is great, but that may not be enough.

Hormonal birth control, stress, eating packaged/processed foods all contribute to the way our body is able to absorb and use nutrients.  In fact, those things can leave us depleted in many nutrients that are essential for conceiving a healthy baby.

Problems with fertility are all because my body is broken, my partner’s health has little to do with fertility.

We are often lead to believe that if there are problems with conception, it is because of our body.  I know that when I first discussed my fertility problems with my OB/GYN, he told me that 1/3 are because of the female body, 1/3 are for male factors and the rest are a mixture of both or unknown.

But what he offered as a solution was for me to take Clomid (a drug used to help me produce more eggs).  He did not offer any solutions for my husband, or even check his sperm!

More and more research has shown that sperm health is vitally important for fertility and many of the strategies to improve egg health also improve sperm health.

My app tells me when I ovulate.

There are so many apps available out there to help track our menstrual cycle so we know when is the best time to conceive.  You just add the start day and end day of your cycle and the app tells you when you ovulate so you know the best time to try.

Unfortunately, many of those apps use an algorithm to predict your ovulation, but guess what, your body does not follow an algorithm.

To track your cycle, you need to be taking your basal body temperature, checking your cervical fluid and tuning in to your body throughout your cycle.  The more information you can put into the app, the more accurate it will be about your fertile window.

The good news is, there are things you can do to get your body in an optimal place for conception.  

There are choices you can make to be empowered in your fertility journey.

  • You can choose to get to know your own body and your own cycle.  You can learn when/if you ovulate and when your fertile window is.  

  • You can choose to nurture your cycle with nourishing food.

  • You can choose radical self-care, finding activities that nurture you and feed your soul.

  • You can choose to buy products which support your hormone balance 

You have the power to influence your fertility journey.  

To get started today, sign up for my free 14-Day Fertility Challenge and get 2 weeks worth of tips and strategies to get your body ready for pregnancy.