Study Finds Women Have a Lot to Learn About Their Reproductive Health

January 31, 2014  |  

Whether you have The Talk with your mom or you learn about it in health class, by the time your body’s ready to make babies, you know how it happens, right? A new study from the Yale School of Medicine found that a surprising number of women don’t actually know the details about how it all goes down and that’s kinda scary.

About 50 percent of women of the women surveyed had never spoken to their doctor about their reproductive health and 30 percent hadn’t visited their “reproductive health provider” in the last year. Researchers at the YSM surveyed women ages 18 to 40 of all ethnic groups across the country.

What exactly didn’t these women know?

Half were unaware that multivitamins with folic acid are recommended to reproductive-age women to prevent birth defects. More than 25% were unaware of the adverse implications of sexually transmitted infections, obesity, smoking, or irregular menses on fertility. One-fifth were unaware of the adverse effects of aging on reproductive success, including increased miscarriage rates, chromosomal abnormalities, and increased length of time to achieve conception.

They also incorrectly believed having sex several times a day increased chances of getting pregnant, as did certain sex positions and raising their hips after sex. Perhaps most shocking is the fact that just 10 percent of the women surveyed “the survey were aware that intercourse needed to occur before ovulation, rather than after, to optimize conception.”

The Yale researchers place the blame–rightfully so–on health care providers. Hopefully, now that we know where the gaps in information are, doctors will step up and have these important conversations with their patients.

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