Conception Myths

Young woman contemplating an unplanned pregnancy

Believing inaccurate conception myths may cause you to become pregnant when you don't want to be or, on the flipside, inhibit your ability to get pregnant when you are trying to conceive.

Conception Myths

Conception myths range from plausible to completely odd and inaccurate. Myths about getting pregnancy are especially believable when we are in the throes of passion and allow logical thought processes to take a back seat. Teenagers, in particular, are vulnerable to inaccurate conception myths because sex is new and mysterious and they may be relying on information passed on to them by equally ignorant friends.

Most Common Myths

  1. You can't become pregnant the first time you have sex is the biggest and most harmful conception myth. Young and inexperienced teenage girls are especially vulnerable to this myth and may wind up pregnant the first time they have intercourse.
  2. You won't get pregnant if he pulls out before ejaculation. The 'pulling out' method is not reliable. Males do have small amounts of semen that leaks out during intercourse and it may contain sperm. Additionally, he may not be able to pull out in time, which could result in having semen ejaculated inside.
  3. You can't get pregnant during your period. This conception myth is inaccurate because you may ovulate during your period or quickly after the end of your period. Sperm can stay alive and viable for three days (or even longer) after ejaculation inside the vagina. If you ovulate a few days after your period and there are still viable sperm, fertilization of the egg can occur.

Quick List of Myths

Following is a list of conception myths that are completely inaccurate. Many of them are laughable, but some people follow them anyway, especially if they did not make plans for birth control before a sexual encounter. The following list is full of myths and misconceptions.

  • Jump up and down after sex to shake the sperm lose from the egg.
  • Sneeze after sex.
  • Douche with Coco-Cola, 7-Up, or Dr. Pepper to kill the sperm.
  • Washing the semen out afterwards in a bathtub prevents pregnancy.
  • Douching after sex kills the sperm.
  • Taking an excessive amount of aspirin will halt fertilization of the egg.
  • If both partners keep their underwear on, conception won't occur.
  • If he pulls out before ejaculating you won't conceive.
  • If the woman stands up immediately, the semen will spill out and no pregnancy will occur.
  • If the woman is on top during sex, she can't get pregnant because the sperm will not reach the egg.
  • Placing a heating pad on your stomach will stop pregnancy.

What if You are Trying to Get Pregnant?

Most people think conception myths are only applicable when you don't want to get pregnant, however there are many beliefs that may interfere with your expectation of becoming pregnant when you want to. Here are a few:

  • I can get pregnant right when I stop using birth control.
  • As long as I try to get pregnant before I am 35, I should have no problems.
  • We are both healthy, so we should have no problems getting pregnant.
  • I will get pregnant on the 14th day after my period because that is when I ovulate.
  • If we keep having sex one day a week, we should be able to get pregnant.
  • Masturbation and oral sex do not interfere with sperm count.
  • I conceived my first child easily; the rest should be no problem as well.
  • Infertility treatment is embarrassing or too expensive, especially for the male (remember this is an inaccurate myth--no one needs to be embarrassed, and there are inexpensive fertility options).
  • You can't go in for fertility treatment until you have tried for a year with no success (another inaccuracy--go in for a gynecological exam to make sure there will be no issues right from the beginning).
  • The female is usually the one with the fertility problem (statistically, the male has a fertility problem 40 percent of the time and the female has a problem 40 percent of the time, with 20 percent of couples sharing a combined problem).

Facts About Sperm and Eggs

Understanding basic reproduction facts will help you avoid the pitfalls of an unwanted pregnancy or increase your chances of a wanted pregnancy.

  • Ejaculate may contain up to 300 million sperm.
  • Sperm is attracted to the egg and will swim towards it.
  • Eggs can live for 24 hours after being released from the ovary.
  • A sperm can reach the egg within 20 minutes of release.
  • Sperm can live for3 or more days in the vagina or uterus.
  • All women have a different ovulation cycle and it may change from month to month.
  • Finally, pregnancy can occur when you least expect it!
Conception Myths