Baby making is for some a mindful choice or surprise, and for others a creative journey through uncharted waters. If you are embarking on this path of trying to conceive (TTC), having an educated foundation can aid you in having a supportive start. There tends to be heaps of misinformation and myths around fertility and TTC, which is why we want to help you build your Brood!
It is essential to recognize that getting pregnant is not often an instantaneous process for most folks. On average, the probability of conception in any given menstrual cycle ranges between 15% and 20% — this means that even in optimal conditions, conception may not occur immediately. It is normal for it to take several months or even longer to conceive, we hope this information helps you give yourself grace as you navigate this journey.
Let’s explore the reality behind some common myths surrounding conception and provide insights to help you navigate this path with clarity and confidence.
- You can get pregnant on any day of your cycle: Nope. In fact, once an egg is released from the ovary it is only viable to be fertilized by sperm for 24 hours! So technically, there are only 24 hours each month where conception can actually occur. However, sperm can live in the uterus or nearby reproductive organs and systems for up to 5 days. There are 5 – 6 days each month when a trial of conception can lead to pregnancy (since the sperm can be waiting for the release of the egg).
- You can’t get pregnant during your period: Although the chances of getting pregnant while menstruating are quite low, if you have short cycles (less than 28 days) or irregular periods, you may be able to get pregnant if you try to conceive during your period.
- Your ovaries take turns releasing eggs: Not necessarily. Your ovaries can alternate releasing an egg each month, but that’s not always the case. Ovulation occurs when one of your follicles matures enough to release an egg, and sometimes that can happen from one ovary more often than the other.
- If you get your period, that means you ovulated: Nope. There are two main instances when you might bleed without having ovulated. First is if you are on hormonal contraception (which typically prevents ovulation), you can experience withdrawal bleeding each month from the hormones.The second most common instance is called abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) or anovulatory bleeding which causes bleeding even if ovulation has not occurred.
- Ovulation happens around day 14: Not necessarily! Although ovulation typically occurs mid-cycle, the length of an average menstrual cycle is dictated to when ovulation is likely to occur. Since not everyone has a 28-day cycle, not everyone ovulates around day 14.
- Your temperature rises when ovulation is happening: Basal body temperature (BBT) monitoring is a great tool to help cycle track, however, the spike in temperature actually indicates that ovulation occurred, not that it is about to occur. Therefore, relying on BBT monitoring alone can be risky and is best used to help identify patterns that can predict ovulation in people with regular predictable cycles.
Recognizing the statistics related to timing, age, fertility challenges, and medical interventions can help manage expectations and guide decision-making when you’re trying to conceive. While the path to conception may have its ups and downs, it is important to remain hopeful and seek support from healthcare professionals and your community who can provide personalised guidance and support. Remember, each family’s journey is unique, and staying informed can empower you to navigate the process with resilience, optimism, and the knowledge that you are not alone.
These myth busters were created in partnership with our friends Ovry for our Endometriosis & the Path to Parenthood Workbook.