Starting a family is not always as straightforward as it seems. While movies and health class made it look like anytime you have sex you’re likely to get pregnant – that’s usually not the case. The journey of getting pregnant can come with heartbreak, excitement, uncertainty, frustration, guilt, and so much more.
One part of the process that can lead to confusion is a lack of clear information. It can be difficult to discern what is and isn’t true when navigating conception. Much of the information that is spread is based on superstitions. We’re here to set the record straight and clarify some of these misnomers.
Here are seven of the top fertility superstitions…
Can I Get Pregnant if I was on The Pill?
With hormonal birth control (HBC) pills being so widely prescribed amongst teens, many people were on the pill for years and may have only gone off of it when they decided to try to get pregnant.
The pill works by suppressing the body’s ability to ovulate. When you go off of it, it can take time for you to fall back into rhythm with your natural cycle. While it could just take a few short weeks, most experts say it will regulate within three months.
Getting pregnant can take time, and if you’ve been on HBC for a while, you may not be familiar with your regular pattern and ovulation timing. Don’t lose hope! One study found that 80% of women successfully became pregnant within a year of going off of the pill.
Can an STI Affect my Ability to Get Pregnant?
Yes and no.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than one million new STI infections are acquired daily around the globe. STIs are a normal part of being a sexually active being, and are not something to be ashamed of.
The most common STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis are easily treatable if caught early on. In the long term, if left untreated, they can potentially cause difficulty conceiving or affect birth outcomes.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the most common preventable causes of infertility. They can be easily treated with antibiotics, however, many people go undiagnosed because they are often asymptomatic.
Here’s your reminder to get tested if it’s been a while!
Can Having an Abortion Can Affect My Ability to Get Pregnant in The Future?
The American College of Obstretrics and Gynecology, ACOG, claim that generally abortions do not affect someone’s ability to get pregnant in the future.
While incredibly rare, there is a slight risk of damage to surrounding reproductive organs during a surgical abortion. Other potential complications can come from infections post-abortion. If left untreated, this could potentially lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, PID, which can affect the reproductive organs and lead to infertility.
Infertility is a Permanent State
For the most part, fertility is a more of a spectrum of less fertile and more fertile, than someone being completely infertile. Age of course comes into play, where someone may be seen as “no longer fertile”.
A person’s menstrual cycle is often seen as a reflection of their vitality. When someone’s health is compromised, it can affect their ability to conceive. For some people, making certain lifestyle changes is enough to allow them to get pregnant after a period of infertility.
I’m too Old to Get Pregnant
This is a tricky one. Like we mentioned before, there is typically a point in a menstruating person’s reproductive journey where they are “no longer fertile”. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict exactly when that will be.
With so many people waiting longer and longer to have babies, this is becoming a more commonly occurring issue. For the average menstruating person, fertility declines after age 35. The risk of miscarriage also increases with age, complicating conception even further. Many people in this position turn to egg stimulating medication or IVF, In Vitro Fertilization.
While age can definitely factor into someone’s ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term, it’s helpful to remember that people do it all the time. There are so many positive examples of women in their late 30’s, 40’s and even later having babies.
IVF is My Only Option
Science offers so many incredible advances that help expand options for people throughout their reproductive years. For some people, IVF is a life-changing last resort, but it’s not always the only option.
Many people have success by utilizing natural remedies or turning to holistic healthcare providers.
Acupuncture can help relieve stress, increase blood flow to reproductive organs, and increase someone’s overall health – which can help when it comes to getting pregnant. Some providers even specialize in women’s health and fertility issues. It may be used in conjunction with herbal remedies and dietary changes.
Some people also turn to Naturopathic doctors, who use a variety of treatments to help support their client’s fertility. Treatment plans may include dietary changes, herbal support, supplementation, emotional and psychological support
Daily changes like eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting enough sleep and exercise, limiting screen time, and decreasing stress can help increase someone’s chances of becoming pregnant. Of course, this is easier said than done and can be minimizing or harmful to hear for someone who has had difficulty conceiving for a while.
If you’re having difficulty with conceiving, you are not alone. We understand how hard this journey can be, and hope that you are able to access the resources you deserve to support you on your journey.
Natasha’s passion for reproductive health began at age fourteen, when she was present for the birth of her youngest sister. Her incredible experiences as a birth doula, has given her hands on insight into the magical realm of birth, pregnancy, and all things in between. Her role as a birth worker, is her way of serving as an activist. She uses writing as a key educational tool for creating change in how we view reproductive health as a whole.