How do you protect yourself from fertility and pregnancy myths or deceptions? By knowing how to find good online help for fertility and pregnancy. There are so many fertility myths, fallacies, and outright lies on the internet. For instance, a reader recently asked me if eating a can of peas after intercourse increases your chances of pregnancy. No, it does not.
Another reader asked if saliva kills sperm. No, it does not. There is a lot of good, accurate, medically correct information online about fertility and pregnancy – but you have to know where to look. And, you have to remember that research can render useless what was once a good tip about fertility and pregnancy.
And be aware that some websites and online stores may try to sell you a fertility or pregnancy product that doesn’t work for everyone. The product may work for some men and women, but nothing works for everyone. These tips on how to find fertility help online that you can trust will increase your chances of success.
“People are well aware that infertility is a very painful situation and some may try to take advantage of people coping with this situation,” writes Iris Waichler in Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster: A Guide to Educate And Inspire. “Be sure you check any information you are given with an appropriate professional or a trusted and knowledgeable confidant.”
Never, ever take online information as a medical fact that applies to you and your body. What may be true for the general population (eg, fertility and pregnancy is related to age and fitness level) may not be true for you (no matter how young or fit you are, some health issues make it impossible to get pregnant).
How Do You Find Trustworthy Fertility Help Online?
I can’t believe how many people ask me for medical and health advice! This concerns me. I’m not a doctor; I’m just a health blogger and writer. I do have a Master of Social Work, but I definitely can’t offer online fertility and pregnancy help. I know if people are asking me for health tips here, they’re asking elsewhere.
Never, ever ask for personal medical health advice on the internet. It doesn’t matter if you describe your health condition or problem in the fullest detail; an online “diagnosis” can never replace an in-person physical examination. The internet is great for getting general information about health topics such as fertility and pregnancy. But, it can never replace the help you can get from an in-person doctor or health practitioner.
If you’re searching for fertility and pregnancy tips online, make sure you…
1. Ask your gynecologist or urologist for confirmation of information
If you find interesting fertility information — such as fertility supplements that help you get pregnant — do your research before buying the product! Find people who have tried it. Ask about the supplement or remedy on fertility forums and infertility blogs. Talk to your doctor, infertility specialist, or naturopath. Don’t believe everything you hear – but be open to listening to almost everything.
Do your own research, too. Researching the best ways to get pregnant on the internet is fine, but double check everything you learn. Not everything you read is true. Not all tips for getting pregnant apply to all women. For instance, some pregnancy websites say that increasing zinc will increase sperm production. But, if a man isn’t producing sperm in the first place, then all the zinc in the world won’t help. Read books like Taking Charge of Your Fertility for good fertility help and pregnancy information.
If you’re looking for a fertility clinic or doctor, ask people you know for a referral. The reputable, trustworthy organizations are happy to connect you with patients they’ve treated.
2. Remember that anything “guaranteed to get you pregnant” is misleading
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees to increasing your fertility or getting pregnant! If a fertility product, doctor, or clinic promises that you’ll get pregnant, proceed with caution. Despite all that we know about fertility, getting pregnant is still an inexact science. Some would say it’s a mystery.
Learn about your body — talk to your doctor. It amazes me how many women want to get pregnant, but don’t ask their doctors for help. One of the best ways to get pregnant is to figure out if a health issue is preventing pregnancy. Low or no sperm count makes pregnancy more challenging — but there are infertility solutions for sperm problems. Endometriosis or fibroids can impede fertility in women, but there is help (not online, though! That kind of help needs to be done in person, by a gynecologist). The only way to find out your best way to get pregnant is to talk to your doctor. Never hesitate to get a second opinion.
3. Participate in online fertility or pregnancy forums, but be cautious
“There are a lot of people doing a lot of risky things to get pregnant,” says Toronto-based acupuncturist Nancy Winlove-Smith. “Every client I see is different. Everyone has different anatomical considerations and individual sensitivities to hormones, drugs and infertility treatment plans. What worked for someone else may not work for you. Consider alternative treatments (such as fertility yoga or acupuncture for infertility), but do your own research. Visit a professional, certified naturopath who is educated and experienced.”
What helped one woman increase her fertility or have a healthy pregnancy may not work for you, because your bodies are different. The people who give advice on online fertility and pregnancy forums may be sincerely trying to help, but they don’t know your body and specific health issues. Always proceed with caution.
Remember that not getting pregnant isn’t just a “female problem.” Infertility seems like a woman’s issue, but at least 33% of problems getting pregnant are due to male infertility. About 33% is due to unexplained infertility, and 33% is because of female infertility. If you can’t get pregnant, take a few fertility tests — there are even some at-home male and female fertility tests that are effective and easy.
4. Do your research before buying fertility and pregnancy products
Online fertility and pregnancy supplements or products may be “duds” – or they could be downright harmful.
“Adulteration with pharmaceuticals, expired plant material, wrong species material, and heavy metals have been found in foreign manufactured products,” says Winlove-Smith. “You could be taking drugs, or ingesting melamine or toxic plant parts all of which could affect a developing fetus. It’s just not worth the risk. You might get pregnant and find out six years later that your child has a severe health condition or learning disability. How will you know if the ‘mystery’ herbs were not the cause?”
Some fertility products and supplements are good and effective — but you need to do your research first! An in-person infertility support group and/or a fertility doctor can help you figure out if the online fertility or pregnancy information is good.
5. Be wary of the success rates that fertility clinics share
Do fertility clinics post only their success rates? What about their IVF failure rates and IUI mistakes? When you’re finding fertility help on the internet, remember that statistics and pregnancy rates can be misleading. Some fertility clinics only treat women who have a strong chance of getting pregnant, and don’t count certain factors in their statistics. This skews the results of fertility success rates.
“Fertility clinics don’t always post if acupuncture was also used, especially if they have a “secret” cocktail they are using to enhance fertility,” says Winlove-Smith. “Clinics have become big business, and are becoming competitive as more couples seek help getting pregnant.”
Decide if it’s time to see a fertility specialist. There’s a big difference between your family doctor and a fertility specialist at a clinic that offers specialized testing, in vitro fertilization treatments, and other infertility solutions. You might consider seeing a specialist such as a reproductive endocrinologist if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for at least a year, you’re over 35, and you suspect or know you have health issues that are affecting your fertility.
6. Double check everything you read about getting pregnant
What have you been hearing about fertility and getting pregnant? Go to the major government or health websites and search for specific information about getting pregnant. For instance, if you’ve heard that you should avoid soy when you’re trying to get pregnant, search the Mayo Clinic online for soy and fertility. Then search WebMD, then perhaps even ScienceDaily. That’s how I find trustworthy fertility and pregnancy help online.
Trustworthy Sources of Online Health Information
- National Institute of Health
- The Merck Manual Online
- Mayo Clinic
These major health websites don’t specialize in fertility or infertility, but they’re good online sources of general health information. Also — remember that there is a difference between general fertility and pregnancy tips that involve overall health and wellness, versus specific information that is designed to sell products or services!
Are you worried about your fertility? Stay as healthy as possible. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, getting enough sleep, eating the right foods, taking vitamins and supplements, not smoking, not drinking, and staying spiritually and emotionally balanced. Being healthy doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get pregnant, but it will keep you in good spirits. And that goes a long way to protecting your mindset – and even your fertility.
Do you need help because you can’t get pregnant? Here’s a good online source of information: Doctor’s Orders! 7 Things to Avoid if You’re Trying to Conceive.
If you have any tips or websites for finding good fertility and pregnancy help online, please share below!