- 5 years ago
- Wedding: September 2012
Lately I keep seeing a lot of threads with ladies asking the same questions over and over again, and no matter how many times the questions are answered, the information never changes. SO, to save everyone some time, and to get down into the nitty-gritty, here’s everything you should need to know to get started-
Ovulation: The “average” woman ovulates around CD14, but not all of us are average. You could ovulate around CD12, or you could be one of us girls who never ovulates around the same time and it could come anywhere between CD14 and CD40, or even later, if you even ovulate. The key to TTC is sex (BD) in your fertile window (FW). Your fertile window is comprised of the 5 days before ovulation, and the day of ovulation So, O-5, O-4, O-3, O-2, O-1, O). Some say the day after ovulation is important too, but only if you’re mistaken about the day you ovulate and it happens a day later than expected. Once the egg is released it will only have about 12 hours or so to be fertilized, before starting to break down and die, so the important thing about your timing is having sex BEFORE ovulation to make sure there are sperm hanging out up there waiting to meet the egg. BD on ovulation day can be effective, as long as the sperm has plenty of time to meet the egg – it takes about 2 hours for them to reach the fallopian tubes. Some women swear by every-day BD (if you do this, make sure you have at least 24 hrs between each romp to let him reload his gun – so BD every morning, OR every night), some swear by every-other-day (EOD). Some women also swear by something called the Pregnancy Position (PP), which is the guy standing at the side of the bed, the woman standing but bent forward over the side of the bed on her stomach, like doggie, but standing. If you have height issues, try him standing, you on all fours on the edge of the bed.
Here’s a link to another thread with some great graphs showing the best days, statistically, for timing resulting in pregnancy:
How do you know when you ovulate:
You can use ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), you can chart your basal body temperature (BBT) to find patterns with your cycles, you can rely on things like checking your cervical mucus (CM), your cervical position (CP), and things like ovulation pains.
OPKs: OPKs work by giving you a reading of the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your body. Basically, use an OPK once a day from around CD10, at the same time every day. You should almost always have at least a very faint test line show up, but they are never positive until the line is the same as, or darker than, the control line. The darker your line gets, the closer to ovulation you get. Once they start getting fairly dark, test every urine (or every other) until you get a positive. Usually when you get a positive it means you’ll ovulate within around 12-36 hours. It’s also possible to get a positive on the day you ovulate, or for a few days in a row. It depends on you and how long your LH surge is. It is also very possible to get a positive, or close to it, and not ovulate. This just means that your body had an LH surge, but didn’t release an egg for some reason. Delayed ovulation can be caused by many things, but the most common causes are stress, lack of sleep, illness, or an underlying medical issue. I had one cycle where I got 3 days of positive OPKs and then didn’t ovulate until 13 days later. It happens. The key to OPKs is to start BD when they start to darken. Some people use the SMEP with OPKs for BD timing, read about that here: http://www.pregnancyloss.info/sperm_meets_egg_plan.htm
Charting BBT: Set up an account here http://www.fertilityfriend.com/ , or here http://www.tcoyf.com/charting.aspx . Fertility Friend actually has a charting course you can take to bone up on the basics and the science behind charting. Take it, it’s awesome! Reasons to chart are – confirming ovulation, gathering history of your cycle patterns, finding out if you have issues. The basics – use a thermometer specifically for basal body temperature (BBT), take your temp at the same time every morning when you wake, try not to move at all before you do. You can temp orally, vaginally, anally, or under your armpit. Whichever method you use, be consistent and take it the same way every day. Most do it either orally or vaginally. Both options work well, but if you sleep with your mouth open or drink anything through the night, vaginally would be more accurate for you (both those things artificially lower your temp). If you are not a good sleeper (like me) it can still work for you. I often have sleepless nights, tossing and turning, and make the odd trip for a tinkle at 3am. I just make sure I’m totally at rest and not moving for at least an hour before temping. If you sleep in and temp at a time other than the norm, make sure you adjust your temp to what it should have been at your normal time. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s more accurate than comparing a temp taken at 8:30am to a temp taken at 6:30am. When you adjust before plotting it on your chart, make a note of it somewhere of what time you actually temped, and what that temp was. To adjust a temp, on the fertilityfriend (FF) website, hover over Data at the top of the page, click Temperature Corrector. Alternately, go here http://www.whenmybaby.com/basalbodytemperature.php You may or may not have a temperature dip on the day of ovulation, but you’ll get a temperature shift of higher temps starting the day after ovulation. Some ladies get a sharp spike the day after, some get a slow and gradual rise. It should look something like this http://www.fertilityfriend.com/Faqs/ovulation_chart.gif , but don’t worry if it’s not perfect. The point of charting is to see a pattern, and that pattern will be all your own. Learn more here http://www.fertilityfriend.com/Presentations/ChartingBasics/ Once you’ve ovulated, you are in the two-week-wait (TWW) or, luteal phase (LP). The “average” LP is 14 days, but it varies from woman to woman. It could be 10 days, it could be 16 days. The first month you chart will be the hardest, and you’ll likely lose a little sleep worrying about moving, about getting out of bed, about sleeping through your alarm. Stick it out, you’ll get used to it, you’ll relax, and you’ll be rewarded!
CM & CP: Find descriptions here http://www.fertilitymomma.com/page10.htm . Basically, when your CM is watery or like the white of a raw egg (EWCM) and plentiful, it can mean your ovulation is approaching soon, or is happening currently. If it takes you more than one cycle to conceive you may start to recognize the signs that ovulation is approaching based solely on this. For cervical position, the most fertile is high, soft and open. I’m still struggling with figuring this one out, but for some this is extremely helpful to check. When mine is high I can barely reach it, but when it’s low it’s only about 3cm into the vagina. I never knew what I was touching was my cervix before starting TTC – I thought it was just a random flap of skin. So for those who have never touched their cervix before, think of your vagina like a hallway, insert your finger and touch UP, to the ceiling of your hallway, and when you find the round knobby chandelier….that’s your cervix. Get to know it – but only check your CP once a day, at the same time every day.
Ovulation pains: Here’s a thread where some of us talk about how they feel and when we get them http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/tell-me-about-your-ovulation-pain Take a peek and see if any of it sounds familiar 😉
The Luteal Phase: After ovulation has occurred the corpus luteum (the follicle your egg was released from) breaks down and produces Progesterone. Progesterone mimics the signs of early pregnancy, and will be in your system for the length of your luteal phase. If you start feeling nauseous or have sore breasts and nipples at 6 days past ovulation (6DPO), it’s not because you’re pregnant, it’s the progesterone. Basically, you may have every pregnancy symptom in the book and you may KNOW you’re pregnant, but then you’re not. Symptoms don’t really count until after implantation, and you never know when that will be if it’s happening. Don’t obsess over symptoms that occur before about 8DPO. If the egg was fertilized, it can take 5 days to make it down from your fallopian tubes. It can then take another few days to implant. Implantation can take place anytime upto about 12DPO. Even after implantation it can take 3+ days for your body to produce enough HCG to give you a positive result on a hormonal pregnancy test (HPT). This means that testing any time before 8DPO is a waste of money. If you get a negative from early testing, it doesn’t mean you are not pregnant. If you get a negative at 13DPO, it does not mean you are not pregnant. Some pregnant women don’t get big-fat-positives (BFPs) until their period is late, some get them 2 days before, some don’t get them at all and it takes a blood test to confirm. PLEASE don’t test at 10DPO and declare that your life is over and you’ll never be pregnant – it’s ridiculous. Just because you see some women get a BFP at 8DPO does not mean that you will do the same – we’re all different. When I got one, it showed up at 16DPO. Here’s a great article about symptom-spotting and a few other things http://www.amandabears.com/faq.html#.UQ8liaU0WSo
Testing: As I mentioned above, you may get negatives on HPTs even if you’re pregnant. When to test depends on when you ovulated, and how many days after ovulation the fertilized egg implanted in your uterine lining. It has nothing to do with when your period is due, it’s all about the DPOs and when you implanted. Some women start testing at 8DPO (I admit to being one of them), some start around 12DPO. If you’re going to test early, make sure you’re doing it cheaply with Wondfo strips from Amazon, or strips from early-pregnancy-tests.com. And DON’T get upset if you get negatives (BFN). You may not get a positive until your period is late – so try not to sweat it. As for which tests to use when you decide to test, here’s a rundown of the most popular brands out there http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/pregnancy-tests-by-sensitivity
If you’re joining the TTC boards, here’s a rundown on the abbreviations for you so you know the language: http://wiki.weddingbee.com/Abbreviations
If you want support from ladies going through the same thing as you, check out the POAS threads for other women TTC and peeing on sticks. Check out the Charters threads if you are going to temp and chart your BBT and want peers and support. If you’ve been TTC for 6+ months, join the thread. Likewise, if you’ve been trying for 1+years, join the thread.
The TTC community is the best of the best. Almost everyone I’ve encountered over here has been amazingly friendly and supportive – please join and spread the wealth! 😉 Good luck (GL) and fingers crossed (FX) for you! AND, if you’re not on a daily prenatal vitamin already, get on it woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re supposed to have a few months of it in your system BEFORE starting to TTC!
PS/ If anyone has any advice they want to add, links they want to share, tips they want to provide – PLEASE do so in the comments!!!!