Whether you are considering having children now or in the distant future, it is important to know the truth about your reproductive health. There is a lot of information out there to sort through, and there are plenty of unfounded myths you may believe. Read on to separate the fiction from the facts.
Don’t let this misinformation interfere with your reproductive health. Here are some common false ideas about fertility.
- Infertility is a Women’s Problem: Just as many men deal with infertility as women.
- Drinking Cough Syrup Increases Your Fertility: This myth was started in the 80s and was based on the properties of guaifenesin, one of the ingredients in cough syrup, but there are no studies that back up this claim. In fact, the antihistamines in cough syrup can actually make things worse.
- If You Aren’t Infertile, You Will Get Pregnant Quickly: Couples in their thirties have about a 15 percent chance of getting pregnant each month, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away.
- Birth Control Pills Damage Your Fertility: The hormones in birth control are given in a very low dose. Nothing has shown they will harm your fertility—they may actually help. Taking birth control can prevent ovarian cysts and endometriosis, both of which interfere with ovulation.
Fertility Depends on Age
One of the most important aspects of fertility is egg quality. While fertility testing can’t usually determine the quality of your eggs, there is a strong correlation between your age and the quality and number of eggs available. (Source: Santa Monica Fertility).
While it may seem like every celebrity under the sun is having babies well into their forties, the fact is that your fertility starts dropping before you leave your twenties behind. At about age 31, your fertility begins to drop more quickly at a rate of about 3% per year. It declines faster when you hit 35 and the decline speeds up even more between ages 39 and 42.
Your Overall Health Matters
While age is probably the biggest factor in determining fertility, don’t let your overall health slide. Stress doesn’t play a huge role in infertility, but since it does upset your hormonal balance, reducing stress is wise. Harvard conducted a study where they found that, “55 percent of women who participated in mind and body programs got pregnant, compared to 20 percent who didn’t practice.”
Maintaining a healthy weight is also important to your reproductive health. Being underweight can decrease your chances of ovulating regularly. Your body needs calories and fats to function properly. However, being overweight or obese will also harm your fertility because being obese can interfere with your hormones.
If you are struggling with infertility or considering starting a family, don’t let bad information send you down the wrong road. While some of the truth about fertility can be a bit discouraging, knowing the truth about how your body works is essential to making informed choices. Don’t be led astray by myths—know the difference between fact and fiction and make decisions that are best for your overall health and happiness.