If you are considering having a child, or are currently trying to conceive, there are two questions you’ll want to answer. First, how do I improve my chances of conception? And second, what is with all of these acronyms like TTC, POAS (pee on a stick), FMU (first morning urine), PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise), and others?
Understanding your body and its needs during pregnancy is the best way to improve your chances for conception. This begins with getting a full physical exam from your physician to assess your current health and to alert you to any potential issues or risks. The next step is to check your fertility. Considering that about 10% of women experience infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assessing your fertility prior to trying to get pregnant can save you time and worry by revealing potential signs of infertility you may be overlooking.
Other easy ways to improve fertility is to boost your overall health. This includes eating well, getting regular exercise, and taking a prenatal vitamin. There are plenty out there, so find one that works for you, whether it’s a gummy or twice a day, and make it part of your daily routine.
At-home Testing and Pregnancy Support Products
There are many reliable over the counter (OTC) fertility diagnostic tests you can use at home. The most common are the ovulation predictor kits or OPKs. Similar to most at-home pregnancy tests, these kits work by using a sample of urine to identify luteinizing hormone (LH). Typically, there is an LH surge around the middle of your cycle that causes ovulation to occur. These kits aim to detect that surge to help you know the best time to inseminate or baby dance (BD).
Another OTC option is follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that tells you the number of eggs remaining in your ovaries. This also works by testing a sample of urine. If your levels are elevated, it may indicate a decrease in ovarian function.
It’s important to remember that, while helpful, these tests have limitations. For example, OPKs are looking for a standard amount of LH, so may not be helpful for women who experience a different pattern in LH surge or a lower or higher surge. You can read more about differences in LH surges in this article from Modern Fertility. And remember, your healthcare team is always going to be your best source for information about your unique health and fertility.
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