the best time to conceive? Many women might not know the
percent of women discuss their reproductive health with
medical providers, according to a recent study by the Yale
School of Medicine. However, 75 percent of the 1,000 subjects
identified women’s health care providers as their top source
of reproductive health-related information. Researchers
believe this lack of dialogue has led to a number of
misbeliefs about conception.
never ceases to amaze me how many women don’t know when they’re
fertile and don’t understand how health matters can affect
their ability to conceive," said Terry Jakovac, a nurse
practitioner at Adagio Health, a nonprofit serving women and
their families at sites throughout Western Pennsylvania.
large proportion of women who don’t know about fertility
risk factors caught researcher Lisbet Lundsberg’s attention.
Twenty-five percent of women in the survey are unaware of the
effects of smoking, obesity, irregular periods and sexually
transmitted infections on fertility.
gaps exist across all ages, researchers found. Younger women
knew less about conception, fertility and ovulation while
older women were more likely to count on myths.
need to create strategies to improve education in new and
existing venues," Lundsberg said, adding that pregnancy
websites were another popular source of information. She is an
associate research scientist in obstetrics, gynecology and
reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine.
of 10 women surveyed thought intercourse should happen after
ovulation, instead of before, in order to increase the chances
of becoming pregnant.
Fisch, division director of Magee Womancare Associates, found
this result interesting but less concerning than others. Women
still conceive despite not understanding the ovulatory cycle
because they are more receptive to intercourse at their most
does worry him is the lack of knowledge women in the study had
about folic acid. Half of the subjects did not know it is
recommended to prevent birth defects. The vitamin has been
found to greatly reduce the chance of having a child with a
neurotube defect such as spina bifida, according to the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
women of childbearing age, regardless of their current plan to
become pregnant, should be consuming 400 micrograms of folic
acid each day. The recommended amount can be found in many
majority of women think having sex more than once per day will
make them more likely to become pregnant, but this can be
overkill. Sperm count decreases after intercourse, so sex more
than every other day is actually counterproductive, Fisch
try not to have people obsess," he said. "It’s
usually just a matter of time."
of infertility in the United States is 10.9 percent, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the
study found 40 percent of women worry about their ability to
conceive. Jakovac’s patients struggle with this fear when
they first start planning to have a baby.
difficult for some women to understand that we don’t see it
as a problem until they’ve been trying for one year,"
she said. "They think that as soon as they come off their
birth control they can conceive."
are having trouble becoming pregnant, Jakovac reminds them
that their partner’s well-being can be a factor. Healthy
sperm is a necessary part of the process.
only see one person in the office, but there is someone else
involved," she said. "It takes two to
and Jakovac said the medical community should be aware of the
gaps in reproductive knowledge and be proactive.
patients may not know as much as we think they do," he
said. "We have to do a better job of educating
HEALTH TIPS FOR WOMEN TRYING TO CONCEIVE:
400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day if you are
planning or capable of pregnancy to lower your risk of some
birth abnormalities of the brain and spine, including spina
bifida. All women need folic acid every day. Talk to your
doctor about your folic acid needs. Some doctors prescribe
prenatal vitamins that contain higher amounts of folic acid.
smoking and drinking alcohol.
you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control.
Some conditions that can affect pregnancy or be affected by it
include asthma, diabetes, oral health, obesity and epilepsy.
to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription
medicines you are using. These include dietary or herbal
supplements. Be sure your vaccinations are up to date.
contact with toxic substances or materials that could cause
infection at work and at home. Stay away from chemicals and
cat or rodent feces.
of Women’s Health (HYPERLINK "