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If you’re starting to think about trying to get pregnant or you’ve been trying for a few months, there are some things you can do to help the process and to learn more in general about your body and how it works. Unfortunately, for many people, getting pregnant isn’t as simple as just “doing it.” When you think about the odds and what has to happen in order for conception to occur, it’s a miracle any of us were even born. But, you can increase your chances and maybe even help things along with a few simple tools.
When I first started trying to conceive (TTC) back in 2005, I enlisted the help of an online forum and learned a lot from the ladies there. Here’s a list of some of the items I used most and that are commonly used by women who are TTC.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
I’m just gonna start this list off with a bold statement. Every woman should own this book. Every single one. Buy this book and then save it for your future daughter. Whether you are trying to get pregnant or not, it’s full of information about how the female body works. It teaches you how recognize signs of ovulation using 3 key indicators. This is also great if you are trying to prevent pregnancy without the use of hormonal contraceptives. It’s also just pretty cool to realize what’s going on in your body…or maybe I’m just a total nerd. Also, you’ll learn in depth how to use the rest of the items on this list. Are you getting the point? Buy this book.
Basal Digital Thermometer
By taking your temperature every day at the same time, as soon as you wake, and before getting out of bed, you can track your body’s shift in temperature after ovulation. A basal thermometer differs from a regular thermometer in that it can detect more subtle fluctuations in temperature, but I suppose a regular digital thermometer could work just as well, as long as you stick with the same thermometer throughout your cycle. Unfortunately, you can’t really predict your ovulation day with the temperatures, but you can tell when you’ve ovulated after the fact and over the course of a few months, you will be able to detect patterns in your cycles (unless you’re wildly irregular like me).
Ovulation Predictor Kit
I only tried to use OPKs for a brief period of time, but they are pretty popular with many women who are TTC. These look like a pregnancy test, but they detect leuteinizing hormone in you urine. This hormone surges about 24 hours before ovulation, so by peeing on a stick every day starting around day 10 of your cycle, you can see the surge and know when to do the deed.
I love this site. I started using it way back when I started TTC in 2005 and it’s like an old friend (no pun intended). I briefly tried other sites and apps, but quickly went back to Fertility Friend. I have years worth of data saved there. It’s a free service that offers paid premium options. They will occasionally treat your to a few days of premium service so you can try it out. The software helps you to keep track of your cycles, daily temps, OPKS and other fertility signs. It estimates your ovulation date, based on the information you enter and helps you to predict your next ovulation day. It’s also a great resource for learning how to temp, chart, and use OPKs.
When you are TTC, you will probably want to have some home pregnancy tests on hand. Just a word of warning here…testing too early can be problematic and having easy access to pregnancy tests can be stressful. After many months of trying and testing with no positive results, I decided it would be better to just wait for Aunt Flo to show up. Having tests on hand was too tempting and seeing the blank white space staring back at me was too disappointing month after month.
Try not to panic if it doesn’t happen right away. TTC can quickly get the best of otherwise sane and rational people (like me). Be kind to yourself and your partner and read this. Give it some time before seeking medical intervention…about a year if you’re healthy and under 35 and about 6 months if you are over 35.
Trying to get pregnant can be an emotional ride and it’s not always as easy as it seems like it should be. It took me 6 years to get pregnant with my first and we’ve been trying for #2 for about 10 months now. I go through phases of hardcore “trying” and other phases of just letting it go and hoping for the best. After 2 chemical pregnancies, I am trying to just relax right now.
How long have you been TTC? What tools do you use to help things along?