Conception Facts And Myths You Need To Know!

preparing for a baby

Conception is an area that many claim to know. The sharing session often comes with elaborate tips and ‘proven remedies’ that work. You may have heard some common ones such as having sex with hips raised, to having sex on the 14th day after period to increase the chance of pregnancy. There are also some common ones on how to not conceive. Fact or myths or plain superstition? Let’s unravel the top ten conception myths!

Myth #1 Certain pelvic postures increase the chance of conception

Some couples think that when they have sex in certain positions (mainly those that ‘invert’, in the hope that semen will be assisted by gravity to travel to the egg), the chances of semen staying in the vagina and reaching the fallopian tube will be higher.

Fact: Studies do not support that sexual position nor staying in certain positions help increase the likelihood of conception. Moreover, the sperm count is 60 to 200 million and the sperms are designed to be able to ‘swim’ towards the egg, without the help of gravity (even a woman on the top position works!).

Myth #2 A woman is most fertile on the 14th day after period

Fertile window refers to duration the sperm survives and the date of ovulation, when the egg is released to the fallopian tube for fertilisation. Many women often think of her most fertile day to be the 14th day of her menstrual cycle.

Fact: Ovulation day varies from woman to woman, depending on the length of her menstrual cycle and also from month to month. For a woman with regular 28-day cycle, ovulation day would be around day 12 to 17. It is also a myth to have sex right after ovulation given that the sperm needs time to travel to the fallopian tube and may just miss the timing.


Myth #3 Daily sex increases the chance of pregnancy

It is true that having regular sex increases the chance of pregnancy but that does not mean having sex every day.

Fact: Due to the fertile window and in general, the difficulty of estimating ovulation day, having more frequent sex around the time of your estimated fertile window increases the chance of pregnancy. It takes the stress and pressure off timing your sex. Furthermore, it is studied that statistically there is no difference between having daily sex and sex every other day.

Myth #4 Having orgasm increases the chance of conception

This is false but definitely motivates the male partner to do his best!

Fact: An orgasm may cause the uterus to contract which could help the sperm travel faster toward the fallopian tube. However, the likelihood of pregnancy depends on many other factors, mainly having sex during the fertile window.

Myth #5 Lubricants help the sperm to travel faster

Given that sperm requires a medium to ‘swim’ to the egg, it is thought that applying lubricants can help.

Fact: It is true that cervical mucus is required to help the sperm get to the fallopian tube but the same does not apply to lubricants. Lubricants can alter the pH of the vaginal tract, making it an unsuitable environment for the sperms. Check with your doctor or pharmacist on the brands that are safe for sperms.

angry couple

Myth #6: Infertility is due to the woman

Given that woman carries the baby, failure to conceive used to be attributed to the woman being ‘barren’. We know that this is not true. Conversely, having conceived also does not mean there will be no problem conceiving in the future.

Fact: There are many factors affecting infertility or subfertility and around half the factors are attributed to men or factors from both male and female. Age can play a role in future conceptions, for instance, reduced productive capacity for women with age and health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, thyroid and kidney issues. Weight gain and thyroid issues may also affect a man’s fertility.

Myth #7 Pregnancy can be avoided by “pull-out” method

For couples having sex who do not want to have a baby, some may use the method of the man withdrawing before ejaculation to avoid pregnancy.

Fact: This is unreliable because of pre-ejaculation fluids that can be deposited in the vagina and this fluid also contain sperms. As such, it is not full-proof!

Myth #8 You cannot conceive if you use the birth control pill for too long or right after stopping the pill

Some believe that there is a time frame where conception is not possible after stopping the pill.

Fact: Stopping the birth control pill will allow a woman to ‘recover’ her ability to conceive. However, for some women, it takes a few months after stopping the pill for the cervical mucus to reduce viscosity to a level that allows the sperm to travel.

sex after birth

Myth #9 You cannot get pregnant if you have sex during your period

It is thought by some to have sex during period to avoid pregnancy, but it may not be so.

Fact: The sperm can survive for five days and if you have sex during your period and ovulate within the five days, conception is still possible. Moreover, if you mistake mid-cycle spotting for period, the chances of conception are higher.

Myth #10 Quit smoking only when pregnant

Smoking affects fetus in the womb, but that does not mean it is ok to smoke if you are only just planning to be pregnant.

Fact: Smoking affects fertility for both male and female, and also affects the transport of the egg into the womb. Even second-hand smoke can affect your fertility, so do ask your family member or room mate not to smoke in the house if possible.

If you are not sure if you’ve miscalculated and missed the fertile window for months or that there is some existing issue affecting the both of you, consult a medical expert who can help to fix the issue. At the very least, it will relieve the anxieties and worries you’re facing.

By Mei

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