The female reproductive realm has always held a bit of mystery, especially as a result of cultural taboos that have made talking about or learning about the realities of reproduction nearly impossible for many women. As a result, there are oodles of misconceptions, myths, lies and wives’ tales floating around about menstruation, menopause and pregnancy.
In order to share a little light on the subject, we have written two truths and a lie below. Can you tell which is which?
Two Truths and A Lie About Fertility: Which One is the Lie?
- You are most fertile the days prior to ovulation.
- Women who eat low-fat diets have a better chance of getting pregnant.
- Lack of sleep affects fertility.
Have you guessed yet? Numbers 1 and 3 are the truths and number 2 is the lie. Here is an explanation for each.
You are most fertile the days prior to ovulation. (True) All of the attention around having sex at a particular window of time when the stick says you’re ovulating may actually hinder your chances of getting pregnant. The human body is an amazing thing and women’s vaginal mucous changes structure and form during the days before ovulation. Male sperm has a lifespan up to about 5 or 6 days. These two facts mean that the best thing you can do is have sex every day for the days leading up to your ovulation day – and some extra sessions around ovulation won’t hurt either. This allows millions of sperm to continue making their way towards their target.
Women who eat low-fat diets have a better chance of getting pregnant. (False) This is a lie, but it’s easy to understand why it has gained momentum. Body mass index matters. Your diet affects your body mass index so, therefore, a healthier diet can certain help you to keep weight off. However, in most cases, it is the blood sugar and insulin resistant properties associated with obesity that are the real problem, and these are the result of high-carb diets. Your best bet is to eat lean meats and stay off the processed carbs altogether. Then, try to balance your protein and carb intake the end results will be better for both you and your unborn child.
Lack of sleep affects fertility. (True). There are a few reasons why losing sleep can hurt your chances of conception. The first is that our bodies were designed to operate on a circadian rhythm that mimics the daily sun cycle. As a result, your hormone production and levels ebb and flow accordingly. When you aren’t getting good sleep, or are exposed to artificial light after dark, it can alter your your melatonin production, which has a negative effect on fertility.
While artificial light has been wonderful for increased human productivity, it has not been helpful for women prone to reproductive issues. Studies performed on women who work swing- and night shifts have found correlations between artificial lighting, fertility issues and miscarriages. Try to keep off the electronics for at least 30 minutes prior to falling asleep and use red night-lights around your house as red light doesn’t interfere with melatonin production. If you work a swing or night shift, you may want to talk to your employer and see if you can change schedules for a while or get off those shifts altogether. Do your best to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
Don’t let fertility and pregnancy myths keep you from knowing what’s best for yourself and your baby. Schedule an appointment with Overlake OB/GYN and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions, no matter how silly they may seem. Empowered women make better mothers so we want to do all we can to help.