Your school might have poured considerable planning and resources into its sex education program, but chances are good it was similar to most sex ed classes. Designed to scare teenagers about unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, and chock full of information gaps in areas that could truly serve those teens when they become adults hoping to start a family.
Sex ed serves its purpose, but it’s not exactly a comprehensive study of the reproductive system and the things that can disrupt a couple’s plans for conception. So, for those who are trying to conceive and finding themselves going to school all over again, here are 5 important things about getting pregnant that they didn’t teach you in sex ed:
- You can’t get pregnant on just any day of the month. Teenagers being taught to avoid pregnancies are subject to this kind of misinformation, and some don’t learn about ovulation and peak fertility times for years. When trying to get pregnant, it’s important to know exactly when you can conceive. Did you know? Fertilization is more likely to happen when a woman is ovulating. But it doesn’t serve sex ed well to tell people that their chances to get pregnant are higher on certain days of the month, so they leave it out.
- Women can learn a lot by charting their monthly cycles. Charting is not complicated, and it allows women to understand their bodies and their fertility to make informed decisions. Most people in sex education classes would probably be surprised to learn that by tracking basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes, they can make informed choices to affect the likelihood of getting pregnant.
- Ovulation doesn’t typically happen on Day 14, and the most productive intercourse happens before ovulation. Even if the importance of knowing when ovulation occurs is emphasized, many people mistakenly think that sex before a woman ovulates won’t result in pregnancy. In fact, because sperm can live up to five days in a woman’s body, the most fertile time for intercourse is four days before ovulation and one day afterward.
- A surprising number of women will experience infertility, miscarriage or both. At least 1 in every 10 women will have significant trouble getting pregnant, and about 1 in 4 will experience miscarriage at least once. But until these situations become reality for you, they often seem like trials that only happen to someone else. It’s only when you embark on an emotional infertility journey or grieve a lost pregnancy that others who share your pain start to surface.
- Life is full of uncertainty, but the relationships you form will be your source of strength when things don’t go as planned. Few curriculums even touch on life lessons this valuable, but people should know – before they encounter losses like infertility and miscarriage – that we are designed to live in community and hold each other up. Friendships, family relationships, and your relationship with your partner – all can serve as lifelines when struggles inevitably come.
What is a lesson you wish someone had taught you in sex ed? We know there are a lot! Share it below.