Trying to get pregnant is stressful enough, so the last thing you need is everyone and their neighbor offering you unsolicited advice. Sure, they mean well, but with so much contradictory information out there it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. The best advice? Forget everyone else’s take on how to appease the fertility gods. Read on to find out which factors really contribute to infertility issues in order to boost your chances of starting, or growing, your family.
1: CONCEPTION OCCURS ONLY DURING INTERCOURSE.
Think you can only get pregnant while having sex? Believe it or not, a man’s sperm can survive for three to five days in a woman’s reproductive tract, says Dr. Boyle. So, even if you’re not ovulating during those moments of passion, his little swimmers can still fertilize an egg if you start ovulating a couple of days later. In fact, says Dr. Brasner, a woman’s optimal window for fertility starts three to five days before ovulation and ends soon after, so “having sex in the few days leading up to ovulation, in addition to when you actually ovulate, is important for increasing your odds of conception.” And when it comes to getting pregnant, timing really is everything.
2: A WOMAN’S FERTILITY BEGINS TO DECLINE AT 35.
According to Shari Brasner, MD, ob-gyn at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and contributor , a woman’s fertility peaks earlier than most would imagine: between 22 and 26, and begins to decline soon after. That’s not to say women need to hop on the baby-making train as soon as they’re of legal drinking age, says Karen Elizabeth Boyle, MD, fertility specialist in Baltimore, who lays out the not-so-scary stats for us. Among women trying to get pregnant, 75 percent of 30-year-olds will conceive within a year. That number falls to 66 percent at the age of 35, and 44 percent at the age of 40. After that is when your chances really start to decline, says Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Domar Center for Mind Body Health at Boston IVF, and author of Conquering Infertility.
3: YOU SHOULD HAVE SEX EVERY DAY WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO GET PREGNANT.
You probably think the more sex you have, the greater your chances of getting pregnant. While that may sound like a fun (or exhausting!) theory, it’s not true, says Dr. Boyle. “If a man with a normal sperm count ejaculates every day or multiple times a day, it can actually drive sperm counts down,” she explains. If you’ve been trying for awhile, and your guy has an especially hearty sexual appetite, tell him to hold off a little. Instead, aim to have sex.
4: TIGHT UNDERWEAR CAN IMPACT A MAN’S FERTILITY.
It’s the age-old debate: Boxers or briefs. But, will dictating what type of underwear your man wears increase your chances of conceiving? “Heat definitely affects the testes, and any activity that increases body temperature too much can kill sperm and drive down its production,” says Dr. Boyle. However, she says, working out in spandex and wearing briefs is fine, since it won’t drive up the temperature in the area too much. When you’re actively trying to get pregnant, the heat-inducing activities men should avoid include saunas, hot tubs, hot yoga and placing a laptop directly on the lap. Though the effects are reversible, it can take three to four months for his sperm to recover.
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