What’s the best time to conceive? Many women might not know the answer.
Only 50 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.
The 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.
Knowledge 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.
“We 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.
Six out of 10 women surveyed thought intercourse should happen after ovulation, instead of before, in order to increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
Dr. John 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 fertile time.
What 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.