For many, making a baby isn’t quite as easy as you might once have thought. To add to the confusion, there are tons of myths, old wives tales and overall just bad advice out there that can make a wannabe-momma’s head spin.
When it comes to rumors and myths, research and expert opinions are often the best sources to either prove, or disprove them. We spoke with Shefali Mavani Shastri, MD, FACOG, at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) for her expert insight.
Going gluten-free improves the odds of IVF
Often these rumors tend to focus on the ideal diet or specific diet restrictions for fertility, like going gluten-free. Dr. Shastri explains, “The basis for the concern around some of these foods is the presence of inflammation in women who are sensitive or allergic. At RMANJ, we found that while healthy eating, including a low-carb diet, is part of a holistic, evidence-based approach to treating patients with infertility at RMANJ, adhering to a gluten-free diet was shown to have no impact on increasing fertility for those trying to conceive through In vitro fertilization (IVF).”
Going dairy-free can be beneficial for fertility.
There is conflicting some conflicting data here. Dr. Shastri says, “In women with ovulatory dysfunction, there is a study which shows improved fertility when the diet is supplemented with whole milk. However, in women who are lactose intolerant of who have a casein sensitivity, dairy may cause significant GI bloating and inflammation.”
You should act as though you are pregnant during the “two week wait.”
During the time period known as the two week wait (AKA the time between ovulation and the potential positive pregnancy test), “it is recommended that you behave like you are pregnant, because you may be. Thus, it would be ideal to avoid alcohol use, excessive caffeine, raw fish or meats, or fish high in mercury during this time frame,” says Dr. Shastri.
You should start taking prenatal vitamins before you are pregnant.
Women who are wanting to conceive should begin taking the vitamins as soon as possible. Dr. Shastri says,“The fetal organ development starts within the first month of pregnancy and you may not even know you’re pregnant that early. One of the most important supplements is folic acid, which can help prevent neural tube defects, thus it is ideal to have a healthy storage of folic acid before conception actually occurs.”
Having too much sex can decrease your odds of conception.
“It is a complete myth that having too much sex will decrease your chance of conception. In fact, your chance of conception actually increases with more frequent intercourse,” says Dr. Shastri.
People with allergies have a harder time conceiving.
Dr. Shastri explains that women with significant allergic and immune responses to allergens may have a more difficult time conceiving. She says, “This has been shown in asthmatics, as well as in women with autoimmune disorders, such as ulcerative colitis. In a woman with an underlying diagnosis, it is ideal to attempt fertility treatment when their condition is best under control and there is no concern for a flair of symptoms.”
If IUI will work, it will work within three tries.
A couple’s best chance of conception with IUI is typically within the first three treatment cycles. “After the third attempt, the chance of conception drops significantly,” Dr. Shastri says.
Male underwear choices can impact fertility.
While Shastri says there is no head to head study comparing boxers (loose fitting) to briefs (tighter/fitted), “there may be some benefit in wearing loose clothes and to avoid hot tubs and saunas.”
You can't get pregnant in a hot tub.
“It is possible to conceive in a hot tub by having intercourse,” she says.