“Getting pregnant is very easy”, “Cured woman, pregnant woman”, “Relax and you will do it.” Who has not ever heard these topics from the mouth of his neighbor, his brother-in-law, a known or unknown person? Phrases that, in most cases, are repeated trying to encourage but that can end up hurting. And that, furthermore, they are not true.
Around fertility, as in everything related to motherhood and parenting, there are many myths or false beliefs. Phrases made without any scientific basis and that should be avoided when talking to women or couples who are seeking pregnancy, as they can be tiresome and even painful. Because you don’t always have to give an opinion, especially when they don’t ask for it. Sometimes, almost always, it is better to shut up, listen and empathize rather than have a topic prepared for each situation.
1. Getting pregnant is easy. First and foremost: no, getting pregnant is not easy. We spend the first few years of our youth trying to avoid an unwanted pregnancy and it is not until we decide to have a child that we realize how complex it is. You can try for months – even years – without success, whether or not there are pathologies. And the fertility window is just six days a month. That is why it is not advisable to try to encourage someone trying to get pregnant with a “Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult.” Because sometimes it can be.
This is how the psychologist, sexologist and clinical embryologist Nagore Uriarte explains: “If we tell someone who tells us that they are having a hard time having a baby that getting pregnant is very easy, we are not just telling them that they are lying or that it is an exaggeration, rather, we are invalidating their experience and their emotions when precisely what they need is support and understanding, “he assures.
In addition, infertility is a reality: it is estimated that between 16% and 20% of people have or will have problems having a baby, according to data from the Spanish Fertility Society. And the real percentage could be higher, since these data are calculated based on the people who come to a center to ask for help and many people do not.
2. You cannot get pregnant if you have your period. Yes of course you can. Just because the fertility window lasts only a few days does not mean that the rest of the cycle time you cannot get pregnant. It’s difficult but not impossible. That is why the experts agree that the first thing, before even attempting pregnancy, is to fully understand our menstrual cycle in order to act accordingly.
3. Each month one ovary is ovulated. This is another of the false beliefs associated with the menstrual cycle of women, based on ignorance of its operation. According to Dr. Elena Pau, from the Equipo Juana Crespo assisted reproduction clinic, this is a widespread popular false belief that is not true. “In theory, each month both ovaries work to produce an optimal ovum. It can also happen that ovulation occurs several times followed by one ovary and then alternate”, explains Dr. Pau.
4. The more you practice the better, and raise your legs when finished. There are no magic formulas for getting pregnant: not having a lot of sex, not trying different positions, not putting your legs up after intercourse, not the lunar calendar, or anything. Knowing your own body and fertility helps but, even without having diagnosed problems, pregnancy can take months, years or not to occur. It is the so-called “sterility of unknown origin”, which accounts for 10% of infertility cases.
5. Infertility is hereditary. No, it isn’t, or it doesn’t have to be. At this point there are nuances, according to Nagore Uriarte: “There may be cases in which we have some chromosomal alteration or some factor that may be hereditary, but that does not mean that all people who have a fertility problem are going to transmit it to their offspring. Not at all. Each case is unique and it must be studied in depth to be able to identify and solve those fringes that prevent pregnancy from being achieved, “he explains.
6. Infertility usually comes from women. As with almost everything in life, women are blamed or blamed for any fertility-related problems, whether due to advanced age, low ovarian reserve or for any other reason. And this is not real. There are many causes that influence whether or not to achieve a pregnancy. In Uriarte’s words: “Infertility affects all people, regardless of their sex or gender. A few years ago, women tended to be blamed for the lack of offspring, but little by little we are overcoming that belief thanks to the data And it is that, broadly speaking, 30% of infertility cases are related to female factors, another 30% to male factors, another 30% would be mixed factors (that is, both female and male factors) and then we would have 10% would be sterility of unknown origin, “says the embryologist, citing data from the Spanish Fertility Society.
7. Cured woman, pregnant woman. Who has not ever heard this phrase addressed to a woman who has just had an abortion? As unfortunate as she is, she is false. Curettage is an operation that involves scraping the wall of the uterus to clean the remains of a pregnancy that has not reached term. Dr. Juana Crespo, who runs her own assisted reproduction clinic, argues that it is just the opposite, since an abortion can complicate things for a future pregnancy: “You have to be very careful when choosing the procedure to finish a pregnancy that does not evolve normally. In the event of the slightest doubt, one must be very empathetic with the patient’s uterus so as not to force a single muscle that is essential for pregnancy, “explains Crespo.
8. Having a baby is a guarantee of success for the second. Neither is it. Sometimes fertility problems appear after having one or more children. It is the so-called secondary infertility, which can lead to major psychological problems as it is difficult to assimilate. Phrases like “At least you have another child” or “I’m sure you get it” don’t help.
9. When you relax, you will. “Easy, woman, you are very stressed. Relax and you will get pregnant.” A most generalized opinion, a phrase that seeks to encourage, but that can do a lot of damage. Because, although the mother’s psychological situation may influence conception, the relationship is not direct. Nagore Uriarte emphasizes that this relationship cannot be established: “Wanting to have a baby is one of those vital goals that many people have, and not achieving it can generate stress, but this does not mean that stress is causing us infertility Beware of mixing correlation with causality! ” In addition, and in line with previous myths, these types of phrases can add pressure: “Telling someone that if they relax they get pregnant is like telling them that if they are not pregnant it is their fault, that they do not know or cannot relax enough We are putting all the burden and responsibility on a factor, stress, which does not have to be the cause of the baby not arriving, “says Uriarte.
10. Assisted reproduction guarantees ending up with a baby. No fertility treatment has a 100% guaranteed success, despite what some clinics insist on promoting. According to data from the Ministry of Health, 9% of Spanish babies are the result of assisted reproduction treatment. That is why for some women or couples it is uncomfortable and unpleasant to hear phrases such as “When you hold your baby in your arms you will forget everything” or “It is worth it to be a mother”. Because perhaps that woman is undergoing a complex process or because perhaps, despite her desire and all her attempts, she may never be able to get pregnant.