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No evidence that okra steeped in water will help you get pregnant

IN SHORT: Okra is nutritious and has other health benefits. But there’s no proof that it “boosts” ovulation, a natural once-a-month process where a single mature egg is released from a woman’s ovary.

Messages circulating on Facebook in Nigeria claim that drinking water that has had chopped up bits of okra added to it – what some versions call “okra water” – will “boost” women’s ovulation, and so help them get pregnant.

A typical version of the claim reads: “Hi ladies , I came across this .....and I was told it helps boost ovulation in women who is trying to get pregnant when you drink it.” 

Okra is part of the mallow family. Its green seed pods are valued as food, although the whole plant can be eaten. And it’s said to be packed with nutrients.


Understanding ovulation and getting pregnant

Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from a woman’s ovary. It happens about once a month.

Pregnancy can occur if a woman has vaginal sex with a man during or soon after ovulation. 

For pregnancy to happen, the man’s sperm – produced in his testes and ejaculated from his penis – has to enter the woman’s vagina. The sperm then has to swim up into the woman’s cervix

From here, a single sperm may fertilise the mature egg. 

The fertilised egg is known as a zygote. It travels to the woman’s uterus, where it develops into a foetus and, usually nine months later, a newborn baby.

But can okra dropped in water really increase women’s chances of producing that single mature egg each month?

See a gynaecologist instead

Cyril Dim is a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Nigeria Nsukka in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Enugu

He told Africa Check there’s “no scientific evidence to back up the claim”.

Dim said okra had nothing to do with ovulation. He added that people who struggled to fall pregnant should rather see a gynaecologist.

Africa Check has previously debunked claims that okra treats infertility and other health conditions.

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