Trying to conceive? Women's fertility specialist, Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen, breaks down the five most common myths and misconceptions about the biological clock, fertility, and getting and staying pregnant that every woman should know.
This guest post is by Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen, The Fertility Strategist and Executive Director of the Fertility & Pregnancy Institute. The mission of the Fertility & Pregnancy Institute is to see what others can’t using the best of love, science, and commitment to help ensure that your fertility keeps up with your high-achieving life so that you get to have as many superbabies as your heart desires.
Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen is a scientist and university professor specializing in fertility, pregnancy, and how health is transmitted from one generation to the next. To date, she has received nearly $3 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others. Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen has been cited more than 1,000 times in the past 5 years alone.
Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen teaches women about the primemester—the magical and powerful window of opportunity before pregnancy—when we literally have the power to change the quality and expression of the genes that we pass down to our babies and grandbabies.
Using the science-based, big-hearted Primemester™ Protocol developed and refined by Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen over the past 24 years, the Fertility & Pregnancy Institute helps women all over the world reverse reproductive aging, get pregnant quickly and easily (with a 97% success rate!), reduce miscarriage risk, and finally have the superbaby they have been dreaming of for as long as they can remember. Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen is the author of the forthcoming book, “Primemester to Your Superbaby.” Over to you, Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen!
The 5 Most Common Fertility Myths + Misconceptions
Whether you’re just starting to think of trying for a baby or you’ve been trying for a baby forever, I want you to know that you don’t have to figure it out alone. There is a science to getting pregnant quickly and easily, staying pregnant, and finally getting to have the superbaby you’ve been dreaming of for as long as you can remember.
It turns out that we have some pretty harmful beliefs about fertility in our society. Here are five of the most common misconceptions about the biological clock, fertility, and getting and staying pregnant that every woman should know.
Women's Fertility Misconception #1: All of your healthy habits are good for your fertility
There are things that are generally considered healthy that can make your biological clock tick way faster than necessary and sabotage your ability to get and stay pregnant.
Here are just a few examples to be aware of:
1) Low dietary and body fat
Hormones are made from dietary fat and stored in body fat. This means that it is essential to have adequate (but not excessive) supplies and stores of fat. We each have our own Fertility Body Type, but—no matter what your Fertility Body Type—you want to be in the fertile zone for body fat. A body mass index ranging from 19-25 is a good indicator that you are within the fertile zone for body fat.
2) Prolonged, vigorous exercise
Prolonged and vigorous exercise are stressful for the body. Your body doesn’t know the difference between the stress of training for a marathon (an activity that you seek out) and the stress of running from a lion (an activity that you would never seek out). The body and brain prioritize survival over reproduction. When the body is in stress and emergency (whether by choice or not by choice), reproduction is put on the backburner.
3) Eating the recommended daily amount of fiber
Fiber consumption is awesome for your health and longevity—and it just so happens that fertility and longevity are intimately tied to one another—but eating the recommended daily amount of fiber can dampen your fertility. A research study showed that women who ate the recommended 20-35 grams of fiber per day were 10 times more likely to experience an anovulatory cycle (i.e., a month where they did not ovulate), and they also had the lowest estrogen levels in the sample. This suggests that a high fiber diet can disrupt your hormonal balance.
Women's Fertility Misconception #2: Your pregnancy begins in the first trimester
The idea that pregnancy begins in the first trimester is so commonplace that it is not even up for discussion; yet, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only is it inaccurate, it is a missed opportunity.
Here’s a secret that very few people know: It’s called the primemester.
The primemester is the period leading up to pregnancy, and it is truly one of the most important windows of opportunity that we will ever have as human beings.
This best-kept fertility secret will help you:
- change the genes that you pass down to your babies and grandbabies. (You can’t change your genes, but you can change the quality and expression of the genes that you pass down.)
- finally get pregnant, stay pregnant, and have your superbaby. (Even if you’ve tried for months or years and everything else you’ve tried has failed.)
- preserve, extend, and amplify your fertility to make sure that you can get pregnant quickly and easily when you’re ready to have your babies. (And do it without being on an emotional roller coaster, feeling alone, or destroying your bank account, relationship, or career.)
- prepare psychologically, physically, socially, and professionally for life as Mom.
- finally have the family and life you’ve been dreaming of for as long as you can remember.
Women's Fertility Misconception #3: Your reproductive system is a distinct part of your body
Your biological clock and fertility are a complex system that are affected by every part of your body and every part of your life. Not only is your fertility affected by your neuroendocrine system (your body’s messaging system, with your hormones being the messengers), but it is also affected by your digestive system, your cardiovascular system, and your central nervous system, to name a few.
And this extends out to every part of your life. That includes your personal and family histories, your romantic relationship (or the one you are craving), your professional life, and anywhere in your life you are feeling disconnected from your power, pleasure, or peace.
Women's Fertility Misconception #4: If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, all you need to do is just relax
“If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, all you need to do is relax and just let it happen for you.” This is the worst advice we could ever give someone because it doesn’t take into account three critical pieces of information:
- We don’t—nor should we—passively wait for any other important area of our life to just happen for us. Are you going to passively wait for your degree or your career to just happen for you? No. You actively shape and create them. Family building and your fertility require the same intentional energy and deliberate, intelligent action.
- What the data says: The data clearly show that the vast majority of couples will conceive within three months. If you haven’t conceived within three months, be proactive. This is especially important if you are older and every day counts.
- Your ideal family size: Only you know what your ideal family size is, so it’s up to you to be proactive about making sure that you have time to achieve your ideal family picture. If you are 37 years old and want 2 or 3 children, and it takes you 6-12 months to conceive each time, you may not be leaving yourself enough time to have your dream family. Why not be proactive and plan it out instead? You are so much more likely to have the family you’ve been dreaming of for as long as you can remember if you create a concrete vision for yourself and take deliberate action steps toward your vision.
When it comes to stress, it is true that there are important and powerful feedback loops between your psychology and your biological clock. It is also likely true that stress and fears about your body, your life, and your future do matter for your ability to get and stay pregnant. But sitting back and relaxing is not the answer. Going for it, just like you would anything else you really care about, is.
Women's Fertility Misconception #5: It’s common for it to take a long time to get pregnant
It is not common or normative for getting pregnant to be a long, drawn-out process. Use the Four-Month Rule for Making Your Baby. The rule has two parts.
Part I: Primemester for at least 120 days before trying to maximize your odds of getting pregnant quickly and easily and having a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby.
Part II: If you haven't conceived by the fourth month, assess and adjust your strategy. Start by asking yourself if you followed Part I of the Four-Month Rule. If you didn’t, go back and do your primemester. You, your baby, your family, and our planet will all be exponentially better and stronger for it.
Sending you all the baby dust, Mama!
Been trying for a baby with no luck, or planning to start trying soon?
Get immediate access to Fertility & Pregnancy Institute‘s Scientifically Documented Strategies for Getting Pregnant, Reducing Miscarriage Risk, & Finally Having Your Superbaby.
Curious about the Primemester Protocol Program? Find out more here!
Thanks again to Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen for sharing her wisdom with us!
Visit Dr. Cleopatra Abdou Kamperveen here to schedule a complimentary fertility consultation with the Fertility & Pregnancy Institute, and follow her on Instagram or join her free community on Facebook here.
- Abdou, C. M. (2017). Age-based reproductive healthcare stereotype threat as a stressor affecting prenatal mental health in pregnant women of advanced maternal age: Measurement, process, outcomes, and interactions with ethnicity, SES, and other social identities. Current Epidemiology Reports, 4, 133-144.
- Abdou, C. M., Dominguez, T. P., & Myers, H. F. (2013). Maternal familism predicts birthweight and asthma symptoms by age three. Social Science & Medicine, 76, 28-38.
- Abdou, C. M., Dunkel Schetter, C., Campos, B., Hilmert, C. J., Parker Dominguez, T., Hobel, C. J., Glynn, L., M., & Sandman, C. A. (2010). Communalism predicts maternal affect, stress, and physiology better than ethnicity and SES. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16, 395-403.
- Campos, B., Dunkel Schetter, C., Abdou, C. M., Hobel, C. J., Glynn, L. & Sandman, C. (2008). Familialism, social support, and stress: Positive implications for pregnant Latinas. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14, 155-162.
- Gaskins, A.J. et al. (2009). Effect of daily fiber intake on reproductive function: the BioCycle study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90(4), 1061-1069.
- Needham, B., Hicken, M., Mitchell, C., Govia, I. & Abdou, C. M. (2017). Maternal social status and newborn telomere length in archived dried blood spots from the Michigan Neonatal Biobank. Journal of Biodemography and Social Biology, 63(2), 221-235.