How to track your monthly cycle

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When you first start on your TTC journey you probably have no idea what tracking your cycle means or how to start doing it. You are unfamiliar with BBT charts and how to check for cervical mucus. In fact when you read through the TTC forums on the web, it probably looks like they are speaking a foreign language. Here we will go through the general methods used to track your cycle.

First thing you want to do when you are ready to try for a baby is download a period tracking app. If you aren’t fond of using technology there are a bunch of free bbt charts you can print off or there are kits for sale throughout the web. We find the apps to be more convenient and helpful.

There are several period tracking apps available. We use three so we can cross reference our information between them and how they interpret it. Our favorite is Flo. This app has been the most accurate and most flexible in adjusting luteal phase and ovulation predictions based on past charts logged.

The second app we use is fertility friend or FF. This app has a very useful fertility stop and go lights in their premium option as well as suggesting what day to take a HPT. This app is also the most accurate for using BBT and has a community you can share your BBT chart with when you have questions.

The final app we use is Glow. We use this app mostly for the community of support provided and how user friendly it is. This app also connects you with fertility experts if you need it. Best part of these three apps is that they are free unless you update to the premium plans.

The next step in tracking your cycle is to get a BBT thermometer. We find tracking BBT to be the cheapest method of confirming ovulation. A BBT thermometer is more sensitive than a regular thermometer with two places behind the decimal point. This is important since you are watching for fractions of temperature increases.

Once you have your thermometer start logging your BBT every morning when you first wake up. You will need at least three hours of sleep and move as little as possible before taking your temp for the most accurate reading. Try to take it at the same time everyday, but if that’s not possible then temp after your longest block of sleep in a day. BBT can be taken orally or vaginally. You will want to start logging BBT as soon as possible. The more completed charts you have before you start actively TTC the better you will be at reading them and the more charts you will have to compare new charts to.

Next you will want to know how to check your cervix. There are two things you will be looking at when you check your cervix: the position and texture of your cervix and your cervical mucus. It is relatively simple to check your cervix, although not everyone is comfortable doing so.

You will want to do it in the same position every time, whether you are laying in bed or sitting on the toilet. You will use your middle finger to feel inside for the smooth doughnut shape at the top of  your vagina. Its position will vary from high, or hard to reach, medium, your finger is in to the middle knuckle, or low, your finger is only in up to the first knuckle. Of course everyone is different so it will take a month or two to really get the feel for what position is which for you. You will also judge how hard to soft it is and if it’s open or closed.

Cervical mucus is checked while you are checking your cervix. As you are feeling around your cervix to check the firmness, openness, and position you will get cervical mucus on your finger. When you pull your finger out observe the consistency of the fluid. It can be, from least fertile to most fertile: dry, sticky, creamy, watery, or egg-white. There is a spot to log this both in the apps and the printouts.

Another option to track your cycle is to purchase OPK’s in bulk. These are just like HPT except instead of detecting HCG they detect the LH surge that happens 16-24 hours before ovulation occurs. The test line needs to be as dark or darker than the control line to be positive. These aren’t as reliable as tracking BBT to confirm ovulation because there are times where you can have an LH surge without actually ovulating.

There are several ways to track your cycle every month. We recommend using several methods as no one method is perfect. BBT confirms ovulation, but doesn’t tell you ovulation is approaching; OPK’s can detect a surge that doesn’t end with an egg being released; and cervical mucus isn’t always the same pattern in everyone with some never actually getting the most fertile egg-white mucus. Any combination of these methods and you can pinpoint ovulation, discover your personal luteal phase length (it varies from 12-16) and more accurately time intercourse.

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So you’ve decided you want a baby

 

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Babies hold our future in their tiny, adorable hands. Everything you are is encompassed in this tiny human being you create. You hope that you and your partner have passed on everything you love about each other into this tiny creature that fits on one arm.

Creating life is not as easy as they show on TV. It is a complicated journey that begins before you even start trying for a baby. Here is the list of recommended steps to take before you get to the fun part of baby making.

  • You will want to visit with your gynecologist for a routine checkup. Your gynecologist will be able to give you a general health check. If you have been on contraceptives, can give you tips on what to expect as you are coming off them. In addition, mention to your gynecologist that you are starting to try for a baby. They will be able to give specific tips and insight for your situation. Especially if you have been using that gynecologist for a long time. If you don’t have a regular gynecologist, we recommend finding one. Having a medical professional in your corner from day one for advice and insight can help you get through the roller coaster of emotions you will face in TTC.
  • Start taking Prenatal vitamins. It’s recommended to start taking prenatals three months before you start trying for a baby. This is because prenatals include folic acid, which can help prevent birth defects in your baby, like anemia or neural tube defects. We recommend the all-natural varieties of prenatals, however most prenatals are horse pills. They can be difficult to swallow. There are prenatal gummies for those who can’t swallow the big pills. Talk to your doctor and choose the right option for you.
  • Start a well-balanced, healthy diet. This is just as important as making sure you have the correct vitamins for your baby’s growth, because you get vitamins from your food as well. After all, your baby will be living inside you, eating what you eat for nine months. Since you will already be in the habit of eating healthier, it can help with controlling pregnancy cravings. A healthier diet can help you conceive faster as well.
  • Start an exercise routine. It has been shown that having a lot of extra weight can affect how soon you can conceive, and even the health of the baby. This isn’t always the case though. Lot’s of women have healthy pregnancies conceiving with extra weight. According to Babycentre UK, however, this can increase the risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia in addition to other pregnancy related complications. Having a routine in place to keep you active, before and during pregnancy can help reduce your risks.
  • Kick all your bad habits. You will want to work on giving up binge drinking, drug’s, and smoking. These habits aren’t even good for you, so imagine the impact it can have on your growing baby. There are several resources out there that are willing to help if you need it.
  • Go visit your dentist. Your gums will become sore and swollen. Bleeding while brushing will be common once you’ve conceived your miracle. It’s called pregnancy gingivitis. Seeing your dentist early allows them to get your x-rays done so you won’t have to expose your growing infant to the radiation. They can also fix any dental problems before your gums become more sensitive during pregnancy.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is important if you want to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Take care of your body early on to help reduce pregnancy complications. Remember, you’re building the home your baby will live in for nine months, make it a safe and nurturing home.

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What does that acronym even mean?

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When you are first starting out on your trying to conceive (TTC) journey, it is easy to get lost and confused. It seems like everyone is speaking a foreign language! When every other word is an acronym it is impossible to decipher when you are just starting your TTC journey.

Here is a comprehensive list of the general acronyms you will encounter on your TTC journey.

General acronyms:

  • TTC- trying to conceive.
  • BBT- basal body temperature.
  • CM- cervical mucous.
  • CP- cervical position.
  • CD- cycle day. Cycle day one is the first day of AF. I see a lot of questions about if spotting counts. It does not. The first day of full flow is cycle day one.
  • DH- dear husband
  • LMP- last menstrual period

Ovulation acronyms:

  • OPK- ovulation prediction kits
  • LH- luteinizing hormone.
  • O- ovulation. You may see a variation of this as O’d which means Ovulated.
  • BD- baby dance, aka sex
  • EWCM- egg white cervical mucus

Post ovulation acronyms:

  • DPO- days post ovulation.
  • TWW- two week wait.
  • IB- implantation bleeding.
  • AF- Aunt Flo, aka period.
  • LP- luteal phase
  • m/c- miscarriage

Pregnancy test acronyms:

  • HPT- home pregnancy test
  • FMU- first-morning urine.
  • SMU- second-morning urine.
  • HCG- human chorionic gonadotropin. This is what pregnancy tests detect in your urine to predict pregnancy.
  • BFP- big fat positive.
  • BFN- big fat negative.
  • VFL- very, very faint line. You will often see extra V’s in this one. Each one is the same, “very.”
  • FRER- first response early results
  • FRED- first response early digitals
  • POAS- pee on a stick

There are a ton of acronyms out there and each TTC site seems to use different varieties. These are the most common acronyms you will find in TTC sites across the web.

Run across an acronym you don’t know? Contact us and we will add it to the list!

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The Journey Begins

 

Welcome to your trying to conceive (TTC) journey. We have been on ours for six months already, and we have noticed that there is a lot of contradicting information out there. We wanted to cut through some of that for those of you who are just starting out on your TTC journey or those of you who have been down this road before and are looking for updated information.

We will cover everything TTC, like basal body temping (BBT), cervical mucus and positions, common myths about TTC, reading pregnancy tests, and especially what all those pesky acronyms actually mean. We will answer questions as they come so if there is an area you want to know more about let us know and we will get the information together for you.

Our goal is to gather as much information on TTC in one place as we can. We will provide up to date statistics, new studies, tips, and tricks to help make your journey easier to navigate. We will also direct you to online resources that we find helpful in our journey.

We spend a lot of time socializing with other couples who are TTC and will try to focus on area’s that seem to cause the most confusion. We want to walk with you on your TTC journey so don’t be afraid to get in touch with us!

TTC can be difficult when you don’t have access to the correct information. A misquoted statistic can cause you to lose hope quickly. We do the legwork for you to find the correct information. If there are two different takes on an issue, we will give you both. We want to arm you to make the best decisions and feel empowered on your TTC journey.

Let’s make the journey to our little miracle together!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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