So you’re trying to conceive?
First of all, Congratulations!
It is so exciting to finally decided you want to grow your family and have a/another baby! If this is your first time planning a pregnancy there may be a ton of information. Much of which you have no clue about.
My first baby wasn’t exactly planned so there was a ton about the process of getting pregnant that I was completely unaware of. This time about I have learned more about pregnancy and my own body that I ever thought I would. While the process your body has to go through is the same for everyone(excluding those who do ivf) every person’s symptoms, cycles and side effects are completely different.
I’m going to share with you a little bit about what I’ve learned over these past few weeks. There may be a lot here that you already know. But, if you are in the same boat I was(slightly clueless) it will teach you more about yourself than you expect to learn while getting pregnant.
First let’s talk about how pregnancy actually happens…
And no this is not a “birds and the bees” talk your mother gave you. The average woman’s cycle is 28/29 days. Day one is the first day of your period. So the first 5 days(give or take, remember everyone is different) are when you are on your period.
On about day 10 or so through day 16 is around the time of your fertile window. Okay so looking at the bigger picture, there is a 12-24 hour window when you actually ovulate and release an egg. Some time during your fertile window you will actually ovulate, not the entire time. Sperm can live for up to 5 days. When you do release an egg your body “wakes up” any sperm living inside and they try to make there way to that egg. Eggs need to be fertilized within 24 hours or they will disintegrate and either absorb into your body or pass with your next period.
Okay so let’s say that egg did get fertilized. It will now spend about a week making its way down the fallopian tubes to attach itself to the uterus. When it does attach itself some women experience what is called implantation bleeding, the very first sign of a possible pregnancy! It is only light pinkish or brownish spotting for a few day. You will not truly be able to confirm pregnancy until a missed period when your next cycle begins.
When to stop the birth control?
If you are on birth control now you may be curious about when you should stop. Different types of birth control can take different amounts of time to get out of your system. For the depo shot it is recommended to stop 9 months prior to trying to conceive. With the pill you should give it up to 3 month to leave your system. With the removal of an IUD your body will return to normal almost immediately.
You should always see your doctor when getting off birth control or when you decide you want to conceive. There may be other things to check, especially if you have any pre existing conditions.
Now that you know how your body works let’s get tracking!
The best way to really truly know how your own cycle and body works is to start tracking. Not everyone has a 28 day cycle so knowing your body is important to being able to conceive. I recommend to start tracking periods(if you have them) as soon as you know you want to conceive, even if you are still on birth control. Knowing your body on birth control can help you see any changes when you come off. There are more ways than I expected to do this so I’ll share a little list with you all.
- Get a period tracker app. I love love love the Glow app! They have great tracking information and an awesome community forum. You can ask questions or just scroll through to gain knowledge like I do. Glow truly does have a place to track everything! With a tracker app you won’t be guessing as much about when your period should start or wondering if your ovulation.
- Ovulation Test. Okay, maybe I’ve been living under a rock or something but I didn’t even really know these were a thing that people purchased on the regular. Similar to a pregnancy test, you pee on a stick to test your ovulation. The line needs to be a dark as or darker than the control line to be positive. Knowing your ovulating gives you the best chance of conceiving.
- Basal Body Temperature. Basal body temperature is your oral temperature when your body is at rest, so you’ll want to take it first thing in the morning. There is said to be a slight rise in your basal body temperature when you are ovulating so tracking your temp may help pinpoint when you are really ovulating. A basal body temp thermometer is basically just an extra sensitive thermometer that measures to the 1/100 of a degree instead of just 1/10(so 98.56 instead of 98.5). (Some say a tenth of a degree is accurate and you can track this with a regular digital thermometer.)
- Cervical mucus(CM). Yep this one is kinda gross but too important to exclude it. When your CM is a consistency similar to egg white and is sticky then chances are that you are ovulating. This type of CM makes it easier for those swimmers to get there job done. You can check by inserting a finger into the vagina.
You’re trying…what now?
Now that you’re actively trying to conceive it may be easy to start obsessing over counting days and looking for symptoms, but for your own sanity DON’T.
Some ladies have symptoms almost instantly and some don’t have symptoms for weeks or months. With my first son I didn’t have any symptoms until I was almost 8 weeks(got positive test at 5 weeks). Early pregnancy symptoms are very similar to the symptoms you have when your period is coming on. Obsessing over symptoms can lead to major disappointment when you get aunt flow instead of a positive pregnancy test.
You may want to take test after test to see if your pregnant and that is totally your choice. I actually think it’s really neat to watch people take test from early on and watch the lines get darker and darker. (Even the faintest of lines is a positive!) Just know that a positive relies on your hCG hormone levels. Your hCG levels usually double every 48-72 hours during very early in pregnancy. There isn’t a “normal” hCG level that early so different people will pick up a positive a different times that early on. Different test pick up different levels as well.
Pregnancy test comparison
- First Response is claimed to be the most sensitive. It’s advertises to pick up 5 days before your missed period. At 5 days before it has a 76% accuracy rate, which jumps to 99% 1 day after your missed period. It measures 6.3 mIU(how hCG is measured, the lower the better). You can get these test for around $16 for a 2 pack. *most accurate*
- Clear blue digital is a great one if you don’t want to strain your eyes to see those pesky lines. It is 51% accurate at 4 days before your missed period and 95% accurate one day after. It measures 25mIU and you can get a 5 pack for around $23.
- Wondfo test strip are another great option because of the price point and accuracy. They are strips you dip once you’ve collected a urine sample in a cup. They measure 25mIU as well and come in pregnancy and ovulation test. You can get a pack of 50 for about $19. *cheapest*
- First response digital is good test as well. Although the digital is not as sensitive as the manual it still measures 25 mIU. It has a 60% accuracy 5 days before your missed period and 99% 1 day after. You can get a 2 pack for about $20.
- New Choice is the brand the dollar store carries. It still measures 25 mIU like most other test and is only a dollar!
If you really can’t resist testing early…
Countdowntopregnancy.com has some great information about pregnancy test results. All the women they have testing are pregnant and they display their results at different days post ovulation(dpo). If you go to the website it breaks it down further to very faint positive/faint positive/normal positive etc. Here’s a little over view just in case you were curious.
8 dpo – %32.6 positive, %67.4 negative
9 dpo – %50.6 positive, %49.6 negative
10 dpo – %67 positive, %33 negative
11 dpo – %78.4 positive, %21.6 negative
12 dpo – %82.7 positive, %17.3 negative
13 dpo – %86.1 positive, %13.9 negative
14 dpo – %87.3 positive, %12.7 negative
As you can see your odds greatly improve if you wait until 12 or 13 dpo, which if you have a 28 day cycle should be the 2 days before you start your period. The do not, however, include what type of test the ladies used. Some still don’t get a positive until weeks after a missed period. Like I said before, it totally relies on the hCG level in your body.
As a little bonus…
Here are what all that crazy pregnancy and conceiving lingo means!
TTC-Trying to conceive
AF- Aunt Flow
BBT-Basal Body Temperature
BFN-Big Fat Negative(pregnancy test)
BFP-Big Fat Positive(pregnancy test)
VFL-Very Faint Line(may have more “v”‘s before it as well, pregnancy test)
CD-Cycle Day(1-28 or how every many days are in your cycle)
DPO-Days Post Ovulation
TWW/2WW-Two Week Wait(the time between ovulation and your period)
OPK-Ovulation Predictor Kit
IVF-In Vitro Fertilization
Baby Dust=Good Luck
FRER-First Response Early Results(pregnancy test)
Basically anything with a D before another letter! Dear son, dear daughter, wife, niece/nephew, etc. The list really could go on and on. You will even learn new ones that pertain to pregnancy and your baby once you have it but these are the most common ones you will see while trying to conceive.
Are you ready to “TTC” now?
That was a ton of information! If you are anything like I was it may even be a little mind blowing. I hope that you can take in and increase your odds of getting pregnant sooner. Knowing your body, tracking everything, knowing when to take test and getting involved in TTC conversations with others in your situation is all part of the beautiful process! Enjoy it and baby dust to everyone!
If you are pregnant and are looking for a good birth story to read check out my baby’s birth story! And as always, if you have any great tips that I missed please leave it in the comments below! I love hearing from you all!