Do You Know When You’re At Your Most Fertile?
You’re taught about family wellness and the birds and the bees when you’re still in secondary school, but does that mean that wellbeing of future generations is secure? Perhaps not. According to data from the National Survey of Reproductive and Contraceptive Knowledge, two-thirds of 18-29 year olds, both men and women, did not know when a women was most likely to conceive during her cycle, and 13% didn’t think there was a time at all when it was more likely.
The survey asked 1800 unmarried 18-29-year-old men and women in the US if the time when a woman is more likely to become pregnant if she has sex is ‘a) just before her period begins; b) during her period; c) right after her period has ended; or d) halfway between two periods?’. If you didn’t know, the answer for most women is d), though it might not be the case for women with irregular periods and the ‘halfway’ estimate also fails to take into account the fact that sperm can survive for up to 5 days in a woman’s reproductive tract.
Only one-third of people knew that answer, comprised of 42% of the women and 27% of the men. Female knowledge improved with age, but men’s knowledge remained low and researchers found that sexual wellness education, whether from school or the doctors’ office, had no impact on the results. 58% of women who had used natural family planning, or fertility awareness, knew the answer, which means that 42% of women relied on inaccurate fertility knowledge to avoid getting pregnant, which could mean big consequences.
Guys who had used withdrawal to prevent pregnancy were less clueless than those who hadn’t, as 29% of them knew when in a woman’s cycle she’s most fertile, compared to 23% of those who haven’t. This means that there was still a whopping 71% of withdrawal users, which is a risky way to prevent pregnancy, not knowing when in a woman’s cycle she’s most likely to get pregnant.
If you’ve had, are having or will someday have sex, it is always useful to know the basics of how it works. Even if you’re on the pill, and the hormones inhibit your natural cycle, it’s still a good idea to understand what happens in your own body so you don’t have to start a family until you’re ready, and you know how to start one when you are.