From viral Tiktok videos to well-meaning tips from friends and family, there’s no shortage of information on how to get pregnant. While the advice may be delivered with the best intentions, many myths and misinformation about conception continue to circulate and it can often be difficult to separate fact from fiction.
CCRM Fertility expert Dr. Stephanie Dahl breaks down five common myths and misconceptions about getting pregnant and what the science actually shows us:
1. Certain positions can increase your odds of pregnancy
Sperm are excellent swimmers. They can swim up toward a waiting egg no matter what position you’re in. In fact, seconds after ejaculation, sperm are already in the cervical canal. There’s no evidence that indicates sex position matters. This goes for keeping your legs up in the air after intercourse. There’s no harm in doing it, but sperm will head to the right place regardless.
2. You’re more likely to get pregnant if you orgasm during sex
You might have heard that having an orgasm helps to draw sperm into your uterus as it contracts. However, studies have shown this isn’t the case and there’s no link between orgasm and pregnancy success. Since sperm can hang around in the fallopian tubes for several days, an orgasm does not impact them.
3. Sex every day will increase your chances of getting pregnant
For some couples, daily sex when you’re trying to conceive may feel like a chore and could quickly become a source of stress in your relationship. Your best chance of getting pregnant is during your fertile window, the day the egg is released from the ovary (ovulation) and approximately five days beforehand. So, to take the stress out, try to just have pregnancy-focused sex every other day on these days.
4. Cough syrup can help you conceive
Guaifenesin, used to improve chest congestion, works by thinning mucous and is present in certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications. You may have heard stories about people taking Mucinex and Robitussin to thin out their cervical mucous to make it easier for sperm to travel to the egg. Unfortunately, there’s no reliable evidence for this. The only data referencing the link between guaifenesin and conceiving is from a flawed study from 1982.
5. If you wait too long, you’ll have to do IVF
While fertility typically starts to decline in yours 30s, not everyone will have to do in vitro fertilization (IVF). In fact, many people can and do get pregnant without fertility treatments. Those that need fertility support might take medications, such as Clomid, to increase their chances of conceiving or they might try intrauterine insemination (IUI). By age 44, getting pregnant with your own eggs is unlikely, in which case, donor eggs with IVF may be necessary.
Understanding your menstrual cycle and having sex during your fertile days is the most reliable way to achieve pregnancy success. If you are under 35 and have been trying to conceive without success for a year or are 35 and over and have been trying for six months, we recommend reaching out to reproductive endocrinologist. Women over the age of 40 should seek help after 3 months of trying to conceive without success, and women with underlying medical issues such as a history of cancer, women with gynecologic problems including irregular menstrual cycles, and women who are interested in donor sperm should seek help right away.
Call us today to make an appointment with a CCRM Fertility specialist to discuss your options.
Dr. Stephanie Dahl is a reproductive endocrinologist at CCRM Minneapolis. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and the subspecialty, reproductive endocrinology and infertility.