Most women no doubt know how babies are made. But a new survey suggests many are confused or misinformed on some of the fine points.
Researchers from Yale University who surveyed 1,000 women ages 18 to 40 found that:
• Half wrongly believed that having sex more than once a day would increase their chances of conceiving. Sperm counts actually decrease with such frequent sex, the researchers say.
• About 40% wrongly believed that using certain sexual positions and lying on one's back with raised hips after sex would help. There's no scientific evidence for that, and sperm reach the cervix within minutes "regardless of coital practices or positioning afterwards," the paper says.
• Nearly two-thirds wrongly believed that having sex in the two days after ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary) would increase chances for conception. It's actually better to time sex a day or two before ovulation.
• More than 25% did not know that sexually transmitted infections, obesity, smoking or having irregular periods could decrease pregnancy chances.
• Half did not know folic acid can prevent birth defects and that folic acid supplements are recommended before conception.
The study also provides one possible explanation for these knowledge gaps: 50% had never discussed reproductive health with a health care provider.
The impact of such confusion is unclear: 58% of women said they had children and 7% were pregnant at the time of the survey
The women in the online survey were broadly representative of women nationwide, but somewhat more educated than average, with 80% having attended college vs. 65% nationally.
The study was published Monday in the journal Fertility and Sterilityand was funded by the makers of First Response home pregnancy and ovulation tests.