10 misconceptions of conception and childbirth

Thursday, October 31st, 2019 07:22 |

It is almost that time of the year that couples dread; when families grill them and ask why they do not have babies yet. It is not uncommon for a well-meaning aunt to look at her niece’s wide hips and wonder why she is not utilising them as they look perfect for conception and childbirth, writes Nailantei Norari 

Men do not have a biological clock

Women are normally advised to get children as early as they can as their fertility dips when they get closer to menopause. Men, however, on the other hand are perceived to be eternally fertile. While this might be the case, the motility of the sperms and the sperm count dips with age making it harder for men to sire an heir. Also, the declining quality of the sperm increases the chances of a miscarriage or the newborn having mental and growth disorders.

Wide hips are correlated to fertility and an easy birth

Many people believe that the wider the hips, the easier it will be for the woman to conceive and give birth. There is no research done to support this. Moreover, the size and shape of the pelvis, which determines ease of delivery does not determine how wide or small hips are and hence there is no guarantee that a woman with wide hips will have an easy delivery. 

Men can keep their pre-conception misbehaviours

While women quit smoking and alcohol when trying to get a baby, there is a common belief men can continue doing so. Unfortunately, smoking and alcohol can reduce a man’s sperm count. Not only are men supposed to quit such health risks, they should also quit wearing tight briefs, using laptops on their laps for prolonged periods and saunas and baths as all these activities kill sperm and inhibit more production of the same.

One cannot conceive when breastfeeding

Many people who have successfully conceived and given birth take breastfeeding as a family planning method. However, this is not a foolproof plan as once the body gets back to normal hormonal levels, the woman will conceive whether breastfeeding or not. Similarly, couples stop trying for a baby during menstruation as there is a common myth that one cannot get pregnant from period sex. If the woman’s cycle is short enough, sex during menstruation can lead to successful conception.

Sex positions determine the sex of the baby

Many men believe that the missionary position is best for making babies. Others say that shallow thrusts guarantee a boy while deep ones guarantee a girl as the Y chromosome, the one that begets a boy, swims faster than the X chromosome, the one that begets a girl. This is a fallacy as no matter how close or far in the man gets the sperms, they still have to race, a race that cannot be levelled out by proximity to the fallopian tubes.

Feet up in the air guarantee

The woman is supposed to have her feet up in the air for about two minutes post coitus, so as to increase the chances of conception, they say. This is to ensure that none of the baby making goodness ooze out. There is no scientific research to support this claim. The sperms will swim to their target whether the woman is standing, kneeling or inverted.

Lubricants should be used when trying for a baby

Most lubricants contain spermicides, which kill sperms, the all-important holder of the X and Y chromosomes. It is, therefore, counterintuitive to use lubricants when trying for a baby. One should also not use saliva as saliva is also a sperm killer. There are, however, some lubricants in the market, which are touted as having calcium and even being able to aid with conception.

Cough syrup can help with conception

Cough syrup helps loosen chest mucus in order to clear the chest. Some people believe that if taken when trying to conceive, it can help loosen cervical mucus, which will make it easier for the sperms to swim. There is no scientific research to support this. As earlier stated, the sperms do not need help to swim. They can do their own job by themselves, thank you very much.

More sex equals baby?

More sex during the ovulation period equals baby is the truth. However, more sex throughout the female cycle is just tiresome and not very efficient. Similarly, holding off sex for a while in a bid to increase the man’s sperm count is not effective if done for long. Research has shown that having sex a day keeps the sperm spry while if the sperms stay cooped up in the testes for long, their motility and genetic damage increases. 

Orgasm is necessary for conception

This is clearly a myth as there are more babies being born every day than there are women reaching orgasm. As much as the uterus contractions that happen during the female orgasm help the chromosomes to move in the direction of the eggs, orgasm is not a necessary pre-requisite for conception. The sperms would still move unaided.

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