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Are you trying to get pregnant? Don't fall into the trap of old wives' tales and urban myths. Here are some common conception misconceptions. BUSTED!

Unprotected sex can get you pregnant, at any time of the month

Back in high school, your biology teacher probably hit this myth into you with a hammer. Telling teenagers any sex at any time at all (even with contraception) can get them pregnant may be a vaguely effective way to promote abstention, but it is hardly actually true. Some women with really strange menstrual cycles can get pregnant if they have sex during their periods, but that is very rare. In order to conceive, you have to have sex during your ovulation, or during the five or so days before it.

The missionary position is best

Wondering how to get pregnant in what sexual position? Many couples who are trying to get pregnant have heard that man-on-top sex increases the odds of conceiving quickly. It is true that the missionary position gets the sperm closer to where they are supposed to go than many other sexual positions. However, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that having intercourse in the missionary position boosts a couple's chances of having a baby. If you stick to this myth, you may get bored though.

Just relax...

And it will happen. If you can let go surrender to nature, or God, or whatever you believe in and enjoy the process of trying to conceive without worrying about ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, and early pregnancy signs, good for you. You may feel happier, have a better relationship, and a more satisfying sex life. One thing "relaxing" won't do is improve your chances of getting pregnant. And, there is a huge difference between being stress about getting pregnant and being proactive. Monitoring your most fertile days will definitely swing the odds in your favor.

Having intercourse every day?

Sex makes you pregnant, so your chances of conceiving go up if you have sex every day. Right? Unfortunately not. Having sex every day decreases a the sperm count of a single ejaculation, because semen takes a while to develop. You may get "two for the price of one" if you have sex every day. Go for it if you both want to, but don't think it increases your chances of conceiving.

Nutrition doesn't matter

Many people claim that some women's decisions to eat the healthiest foods possible does not influence their conception odds positively. Some even go as far as to say that quality of nutrition in the prenatal period does not improve birth outcomes except in developing countries. Of course, nutritional deficiencies and either fewer or significantly more daily calories than recommended influences both fertility and prenatal health. Take a good prenatal supplement that includes folic acid a B vitamin that has been proven to decrease the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Male smoking is OK

Nearly everyone knows that smoking can have a very negative impact on a fetus, and that it can even lead to stillbirth. It's less well-known or at least less commonly accepted that a woman's smoking can negatively impact her fertility as well. Male smoking is something most people don't even think about. That's a shame, because men who smoke have lower sperm counts and have fewer healthy sperm than those who don't smoke. Men who smoke also risk exposing their potentially pregnant partners to cigarette smoke. Second-hand smoke is nearly as risky as first-hand smoke.

You can determine your baby's gender

"Natural gender selection" methods are very popular among couples who would like to conceive a baby of a specific gender for whatever reason. Some of these methods claim to have a basis in science, particularly the Shettles method "conceived" (excuse the cheesy pun) by Dr Shettles. The thing is, his results could not be replicated in by anyone else. Anyone who wants to try these methods anyway is, of course, free to do so. You may even find the method "works" you have about a 50 percent chance of the method "succeeding"; the same odds as in nature. If you exclusively want a baby of a specific gender for social and emotional reasons, see a counselor. If you have a genetic reason, inquire about gender selection methods that actually do work. Do you have your own conception misconception to share? Please do comment!

  • Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/pipiten/2503747029/
  • Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/pipiten/2503747029/

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