When I was ready to have kids, I was ready. I mean, I was counting down the days until my husband and I could start trying. I didn’t know how long it would take to get pregnant, but I wanted to do everything I could in advance of trying to bone up on the specifics. I knew how it worked — I’d known since the birds and the bees talk when I was like 6 years old (kudos to a mom who didn’t try to sugar coat things like that!) — but I wanted to do what I could to make sure I timed it right and had the most odds of succeeding, quickly, to quench my baby fever. So I started charting to keep track of my cycles and read the fertility bible — Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which I’ve talked about before here.
I found the book fascinating. I didn’t know you could learn so much about your fertility by simply paying attention to your body, and the book was not only a good way to neurotically pass the time before trying to conceive a child but also super informative. So informative that I would seriously recommend it as a read to all women, not just those trying to get pregnant, to help them understand their bodies better.
When I saw the clicky headline recently over on Time.com called “What Women Still Don’t Know About Getting Pregnant,” I, of course, clicked. The article reported on findings from a journal study with a few jaw-dropping stats, like half of women don’t know that prenatal vitamins and folic acid help prevent birth defects, or that 20 percent didn’t know that age affects fertility and miscarriage rates. And one in 10 didn’t know they should have sex before ovulation — rather than after — to increase the chances of pregnancy. These are so obvious to me, someone who has read all the “do-this-before-getting-pregnant” articles that exist, that it was shocking to me that other women — so many other women — don’t know the basics.
Who knows where the ball is getting dropped on learning about our own bods — maybe it’s that we’re busy giggling through sex education or we missed that day in biology class or that your mom wasn’t candid like mine. But knowing your own basic biology and being educated on how our own reproductive systems work is hugely empowering. Not to mention that it can both help you get pregnant and avoid pregnancy should you choose to. If you’re feeling iffy on your basic fertility knowledge, hit up your library. Hit up a bookstore. Hit up Google. But if you read that Time article and think “I didn’t know that either!” you should hit up something so that you can pass along your knowledge to the many others out there who are thinking about getting pregnant. After all, every mama should know to take those prentals!
Do you think your fertility knowledge is up to par? Need a biology refresher, too? —Erin