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Women may lack knowledge about getting pregnant, research indicates

By Sara Payne, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

What’s the best time to conceive? Many women might not know the answer.

Only 50 percent of women discuss their reproductive health with medical providers, according to a recent study by the Yale School of Medicine. However, 75 percent of the 1,000 subjects identified women’s health-care providers as their top source of reproductive health-related information. Researchers believe this lack of dialogue has led to a number of misbeliefs about conception.

“It never ceases to amaze me how many women don’t know when they’re fertile and don’t understand how health matters can affect their ability to conceive,” said Terry Jakovac a nurse practitioner at Adagio Health, a nonprofit serving women and their families at sites throughout western Pennsylvania.

The large proportion of women who don’t know about fertility risk factors caught researcher Lisbet Lundsberg’s attention. Twenty five percent of women in the survey are unaware of the effects of smoking, obesity, irregular periods and sexually transmitted infections on fertility.

Knowledge gaps exist across all ages, researchers found. Younger women know less about conception, fertility and ovulation while older women were more likely to count on myths.

“We need to create strategies to improve education in new and existing venues,” Lundsberg said, adding pregnancy web sites were another popular source of information. She is an associate research scientist in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine.

Six out of 10 women surveyed thought intercourse should happen after ovulation, instead of before in order to increase the chances of becoming pregnant.

Dr. John Fisch, division director of Magee Womancare Associates, found this result interesting but less concerning than others. Women still conceive despite not understanding the ovulatory cycle because they are more receptive to intercourse at their most fertile time.

Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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