NPR reports that according to a study in Fertility & Sterility, more than half the 1,000 women ages 18 to 40 from different races, ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels surveyed didn't realize that folic acid supplements need to be taken at least a month before conception to prevent neural tube defects, and many didn't know that the older a woman is the higher the risk of miscarriages and chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. About a quarter of women didn't know that obesity, smoking and irregular periods can all decrease fertility.
So what does increase fertility? Elevating the pelvis during sex or using specific positions does not, which more than a third surveyed did think boosted the chances of conception. Only 10 percent of women knew the optimal time to try each month to get pregnant.
Dr. Jessica Illuzzi, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Yale University School of Medicine, says an astoundingly low number of women are aware that you have to have intercourse before ovulation to get pregnant. "About 60 percent thought the best time was after ovulation." But the ideal window of fertility is actually two days before you ovulate. Who knew? Um, I mean, of course I knew that. Didn't you?
Illuzzi goes on to say that it's probably best to have sex on both of those peak days rather than listening to doctors usual advice for couples trying to conceive—which is to have sex every other day—because then you might miss your fertile window. But don't get overly ambitious and have sex multiple times a day thinking more sperm means more chances of getting pregnant. In fact, Illuzzi warns, "If he ejaculates too often, his sperm count goes down."
So there you have it, some big baby-making misconceptions have been debunked!
TELL US: How do you think you would have scored on this survey? Did you learn anything new from the results?
Image of couple in bed courtesy of Shutterstock.