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Conception Myths & Old Wives Tales

Myth #1 – You can control the sex of your baby

False. While there are many theories about controlling the sex of your baby, there are no set in stone scientific results that you can rely on to pick the gender of your child. Here are the three most popular theories on gender selection that you can make up your own mind about.

Diet. While it is true that a healthy diet is important for both parents-to-be, the idea that consuming a heavily acidic or alkaline diet will result in a preferred sex is hard to prove. Some studies have shown a correlation between a woman’s diet pre-conception and the PH levels inside her reproductive tract, which in turn could provide a more preferable environment for a certain chromosome (X – Girl, Acidic & Y – Boy, Alkaline).

Sexual Position. It is true that some sexual positions can favour a certain sexed sperm’s chances of reaching the cervix first, but after that it is really all up to them again. The male sperm, or Y-chromosomes, are typically more aggressive and faster swimmers than the female sperm, or X-chromosome, who are heartier and more resilient. Some sexual positions that offer a deeper penetration can give a male sperm a head start over the slower females, while shallow penetration gives the advantage to the more robust nature of the X-chromosome as the males die out before they reach the ovum.

Timing and Frequency of Intercourse. Because sperm can stay alive inside a woman for up to (on average) about 6 days, the amount of time that passes between intercourse and ovulation can increase or decrease the chances of conceiving a particular sex. Again, this refers to the speed versus resilience of the different chromosomes.

Myth #2 – I will get pregnant as soon as I stop using contraception

True and False. You may well get pregnant as soon as you stop using birth control, but then again, it may take you several months or even up to a year to revert back to your natural fertility levels and conceive. The amount of time that it could take you to become pregnant depends of many factors, including age, natural fertility, general health and of course, the method of birth control you have been using.

Barrier contraception methods, such as condoms or a diaphragm do not affect your natural fertility and your body will be ready for pregnancy immediately after ceasing use.

Combination hormonal methods, such as the pill, contain both estrogen and progestin (a kind of synthetic progesterone) and may affect your natural fertility short term after ceasing intake, which is not to say you wont fall pregnant straight away, but it is more likely to take between 3-12 months.

Progestin-only hormonal methods (mini-pill, implant, shot) differ in the period of time you can expect to wait before your body is in its natural cycle, ranging from straight away to up to 18 months.

Intrauterine devices, or IUDs, come in 2 different types; copper and hormonal. In both cases fertility is expected to return with the first menstrual cycle after IUD removal.

Falling pregnant immediately after ceasing birth control does not increase the risks of miscarriage or fetal problems.

Myth #3 – If we don’t get pregnant in the first couple of months, there must be something wrong

False. While each person’s fertility is entirely unique, it is not uncommon for even a fairly fertile person to not fall pregnant straight away when you first start trying. Most doctors say that you shouldn’t worry too much until you have been trying for a year with no success. If you are worried that there might be a problem, you should definitely not hesitate to ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist for some tests. If there is a physiological reason for you not conceiving, the more time you have to explore your options the better. If you are over 35 and are having difficulty conceiving after just 6 months, most doctors recommend looking into the issue then.

Myth #4 – I only have to quit smoking and drinking alcohol after I am pregnant

False. While everybody knows that smoking and drinking alcohol while pregnant is detrimental to your baby’s health, continuing to smoke while trying to conceive can severely decrease your chances of falling pregnant, and the chemicals present in cigarettes and other smoking products can stay in your system for a significant amount of time, and continue to affect your baby once you do conceive. Quitting smoking will also be more difficult if you wait until after you are pregnant, and the risks associated with smoking during pregnancy are high – things like increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth. Your baby also might have a higher chance of developing behavioural problems, chest infections, severe asthma and heart defects as they get older.

While drinking alcohol while pregnant is also a no-no, drinking before conceiving will not adversely affect your baby once you do fall pregnant. Most doctors do however recommend reducing your al