How to get pregnant faster.

First of all I would like to say welcome to My fertility! My name is Vicki and I really hope you find some of the information I have put together useful and that it in some way aids you on your trying to conceive journey.

The aim of this website is firstly to help as many women out there get pregnant faster! I know myself that as soon as the decision is made to start trying for a baby that it cannot happen soon enough. If you are searching for ways to get pregnant faster and to understand what actually happens to your own body during your monthly cycles, then you have come to the right place!

So on that note…..congratulations! You have decided to take control of your fertility and start being pro-active on your journey to being a parent. To the right are links to all of my 30 most recent posts/blog pages.

Thanks

Vicki at My Fertility

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Progesterone and Fertility – low progesterone can prevent conception.

Progesterone and Fertility.

I am doing a post on this topic as low progesterone after ovulation was the reason I struggled to get pregnant for 16 months and I believe it was the reason for my chemical pregnancy and spotting during early pregnancy. If you are aware of the day you ovulate (through physical signs and charting your temperatures) and you spot lots before your period is due or you come on your period less than 12 days after you ovulate, then please read on.

It could be that your progesterone levels drop too early causing you to have a shorter than average luteal phase and although it is really problematic when trying to conceive the problem could be very easily rectified.

Low progesterone and Fertility.

Low progesterone after ovulation may cause a short luteal phase which means that the lining of your uterus may shed before a fertilised egg can implant. This is a massive hindrance if you are trying to get pregnant but is easily solved either naturally through Fertility herbs and Fertility vitamins including Vitex, Maca root and Vitamin B6 or with the use of progesterone treatment prescribed my your doctor.

Progesterone levels after ovulation should be nice and high and remain high for at least 12 days. If progesterone levels drop to soon then your chances of getting pregnant are reduced and you could even suffer an early miscarriage if you successfully conceive which is heart breaking….trust me I know. Having low progesterone in early pregnancy may cause a miscarriage as the lining of the uterus can start to shed and along with it the precious embryo.

I suffer from low progesterone and a luteal phase defect and I struggled to conceive my son for 16 long months. My luteal phase was particularly short and I wanted to try to lengthen it naturally using ‘Fertility herbs and Fertility vitamins’ first but my issue was so bad and I was so stressed out I had to seek help from a gynecologist.

Progesterone treatment.

There are 4 main forms of progesterone treatment and I will briefly discuss the positives and negatives below.

Which progesterone treatment should I choose? Tablets?, Creams? Injections? or suppositories?

– The injections are very successful but it is unlikely that you would be prescribed the injections to do yourself at home. This form of the treatment is usually performed after IVF under controlled conditions so is probably not an option for most of us. It increases the blood levels of the progesterone and therefore maintains the uterus lining ready for implantation of the fertilised egg.

– The results from tablets seem to be a bit mixed and some studies suggest that although blood levels reach higher levels than the creams and suppositories their effects are poorer. They have little local affect on the uterus lining.

– The progesterone creams do not really increase the levels of progesterone in the blood stream but as you rub it into the thigh which is close to your uterus it could have some local effects on the uterus. Again the results are very mixed.

– I have also been doing some research on the use of Pregnenolone  which is the pre cursor to progesterone. Research has shown that by rubbing Pregnenolone cream into your skin (usually the thigh) it can naturally increase the amount of progesterone made by your body.  As you can buy this cream off the internet it might be worth looking into especially if you are keen to increase your progesterone levels naturally.  I will be writing a separate post on the use of this cream in my blog page shortly.

– Progesterone suppositories seem to have a very good success rate and are favored by most gynecologists. Although the suppositories do not increase blood levels as high as the tablets or injections there is evidence to suggest that by inserting the suppository close to where it is needed (the uterus) it can have the biggest affect and this is why they are used more often in the UK with great success.

How to use progesterone.

Here I will go through in detail how to use the progesterone suppositories to get the most out of this treatment and give yourself the best chance of success.

When to start taking progesterone?

If you chart your cycles and you can confirm when you ovulate then start taking it after 3 mornings of high temperatures. This is confirm you have definitely ovulated before taking the treatment.

You should stop taking them 16 days after ovulation if your pregnancy tests are negative and you should come on your period a few days later. Your doctor will likely tell you to stop taking them 12-14 days after ovulation but this is too early to definitely confirm if you are pregnant or not. Lots of women don’t get their positive tests for 15/16 days after ovulation due to late implantation and you could bring on an early miscarriage by stopping them too early. If you get a positive pregnancy test then carry on taking it until you are 14-16 weeks pregnant.

If you get a negative test and stop taking the progesterone but your period does not arrive after a few days then it would be wise to do a pregnancy test to make sure.

Progesterone dose and how to use progesterone suppositories?

This will vary depending on the brand of progesterone suppository you are prescribed but this is what I was advised by my gynecologist and the instructions on how to take them

– Cyclogest suppositories 200mg vaginally or rectally twice daily from day 14 of your cycle for 12 days each cycle. If you become pregnant then continue this treatment until about 14-16 weeks.

These instructions did not take into account that my cycles were irregular in length and I did not ovulate on the same day each cycle and definitely not on cycle day 14. This is another reason when monitoring your cycles and your fertile signs is important. If I had followed these instructions then I would never have concieved as I probably wouldn’t of ovulated.

On the cycles I conceived both my son and daughter using progesterone I ovulated later than day 14 and by charting my cycles I started the treatment after ovulation.

Side effects of progesterone.

I did not have any negative side effects from using this treatment. I had no spotting which was great but they were a be a bit messy to use. They are waxy in texture and shaped like a bullet so although were easy to insert they melt inside you.

 

I would recommend lying down for a bit after inserting them so that once melted they can coat your cervix and the inside of the vagina and do their magic. Inevitably some will leak out as the day goes on but this is normal and nothing to worry about. Some women complain of irritation to their vagina but I didn’t experience this. Some women get nausea and head aches but again this depends on the individual.

Do not have sex or have oral sex after use the progesterone as it may irritate your man’s penis and he shouldn’t ingest any.

Progesterone and miscarriage.

Does progesterone help prevent miscarriage? The answer to this is both yes and no.

Yes, progesterone may prevent early miscarriage.

If you use Progesterone treatment after ovulation and carry on taking it until your period is missed then it can help maintain your uterus lining and therefore aid in implantation. Progesterone may therefore prevent an early miscarriage or chemical pregnancy by giving the egg the chance to implant properly. If you carry on taking the progesterone until you are 16 weeks pregnant then your baby will have every chance to survive. At 14 – 16 weeks gestation the placenta takes over the production of progesterone so you can stop taking it.

No, progesterone will not maintain an inviable pregnancy.

Although progesterone can help aid a fertilized egg implant and it helps to maintain a nutrient thick uterine lining to feed your baby, it will not support an in-viable pregnancy. Lots of studies have shown that if there is a chromosomal problem with the developing embryo then a miscarriage will occur even when taking progesterone treatment. If you get pregnant and there is a problem then your body will abort the pregnancy if necessary although the miscarriage will more than likely be delayed. This happened to a friend of mine who miscarried at 7 weeks due to chromosome abnormality with the baby despite being on progesterone treatment.

Should you try progesterone treatment?

My thoughts on this are as follows…. if it is not going to do you or your baby any harm and it will not support an in-viable pregnancy then it is better to try them than not if you are having recurrent early miscarriages or have a short luteal phase. I truly believe if I had not used progesterone to help maintain my lining, I would not have my son or daughter here today and there are countless success stories online of women who have experienced the same success.

 

If you discover you have a short luteal phase (shorter than 11-12 days) and you are struggling to get pregnant, if you experienced recurrent early miscarriages along with spotting between ovulation and your period, then speak to you GP about progesterone suppositories. It could be your solution like it was mine.

Please comment below if you have had any experiences with using progesterone.

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Does Vitex help fertility? Let me tell you my experience.

Vitex and Fertility.

When I first came off the pill and wanted to start trying to conceive I met my first hurdle…….no period. After 3 months I went to see my GP and we did blood tests. My prolactin levels were slightly high so this could have been the reason and all my other reproductive hormones were the low end of normal. I felt like I wanted to do something pro-active to try to balance out my hormone levels and so I started to look into the use of fertility herbs. I kept seeing the fertility herb Angus castus AKA Chasteberry or Vitex so started to do some research.

What is Vitex?

I have mentioned Vitex in the section on ‘fertility herbs and fertility vitamins’ but I felt I needed to give it its only post as I am sure this herb in particular has helped me to ovulate more regularly and Vitex has helped me to conceive 4 times.

Vitex is a very popular fertility herb which has been used for 100’s of years to improve fertility as it helps to balance out a women’s fertility hormones. It helps to support the pituitary gland which regulates the sex hormones released by the ovaries which results in a more regular period and therefore more regular ovulation. This in turn brings about a more predictable fertile window to try to conceive. Vitex can increase the amounts of luteinizing hormone (LH) produced before ovulation which may also boost our progesterone levels after ovulation. As progesterone helps us to maintain a healthy uterine lining for longer this is very important for implantation.

Does Vitex help fertility? Here is my experience.

I read lots of positive feedback and reviews from women who had tried Vitex so I decided to give it a go. I didn’t ovulate for quite a while after starting it (2-3 months) but as fertility herbs can take a while to work, I was quite sure that the Vitex was having a positive effect. My cervical mucus would start to intermittently resemble the fertile egg white cervical mucus (which was an indication I was maybe fertile) and I would get positive ovulation tests here and there. Before taking Vitex my cervical mucus was always scant and sticky and my ovulation tests were always negative. I was charting my cycles at the time using my basal body temperature so I knew when I finally ovulated and I managed to conceive.

I had a chemical pregnancy but with the help of Vitex I ovulated again 2 months later and conceived again. This also ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks but I felt that at least I was getting somewhere. I carried on taking Vitex and over the coming months my cycles got shorter and more regular which gave me more chances to try for a baby which was great. I finally conceived again after 6 months and now I have a lovely little boy.

Was it all just a coincidence?

When my son was 6 months old my cycles returned and as I knew I wanted to try for another baby quite soon I started to take Vitex again straight away. I was ovulating irregularly (between day 15 and 30) but my cycles were shorter and I managed to conceive my daughter the first month of trying.

When my daughter was 6 months old my cycles returned again but this time I had no plans to try for another baby. I therefore didn’t start taking Vitex again or any other fertility herbs/vitamins. My first 3 cycles were really long again (35 plus days). I was not ovulating until around cycle day 32-38 and my luteal phase was very short at just 7 days.

The above chart shows I ovulated on cycle day 38 and my luteal phase was only 7 days long. I decided to start taking Vitex again, along with Vitamin B6 100mg (as part of a vitamin B complex) to see if it could help.

The first two cycles taking Vitex and Vitamin B6 I still didn’t ovulate until cycle day 32 and 33, but my luteal phase lengthened to 9 days which was something at least.

Above is my March – April 2018 chart after I had been taking Vitex for 2 months. I ovulated on cycle day 33 and my period arrived 10 days later giving me a 9 day luteal phase. I spotted for 3 days before it arrived.

I was doubtful that my luteal phase would lengthen much more than 9 days however this cycle I got a pleasant surprise. Not only did I ovulate on cycle day 19 but my luteal phase has astonishing lengthened to 14 days with no spotting. This is the first time this has happened while I have been charting my ovulation (in 4 years). As I have always suffered from a luteal phase defect i.e. a luteal phase of 7-10 days, and usually spot for 2 days before my period arrives, this difference is unbelievable.

So not only has the Vitex and Vitamin B6 helped me ovulate around 2 weeks earlier than in my previous 5 cycles, they have helped my body establish a completely normal luteal phase in my last cycle. When I conceived my two children I had to use progesterone to increase my luteal phase as it was too short. If this is the new ‘normal’ for me, then I would not need progesterone treatment to conceive again. I am looking forward to seeing if I will ovulate earlier again this cycle and if my luteal phase is still in the normal range.

Can you take Vitex during pregnancy?

Research suggests that Vitex is safe in early pregnancy and may actually can help to prevent early miscarriage through its positive effects on our progesterone levels. It should be stopped after 12 weeks however to prevent early milk production. From 12 -14 weeks the placenta takes over the production of progesterone so it is no longer needed anyway. If you fall pregnant and are concerned then it is best to speak to your GP to be safe.

Vitex works best when taken over a long period of time and depending on the individual but can take a while to take effect (up to 6 months). It helps to give long term balance to a women’s hormone levels so patience is needed. It should be taken once daily in the morning on an empty stomach (half an hour before breakfast). The suggested dose is 1000mg day but you will struggle to buy this dose in any health food shops in the UK. You can only buy them at 1000mg online.

  

Vitex should not be used alongside prescription fertility drugs such as chlomid or that contain hormones e.g.progesterone.

For more information on the benefits of Vitamin B6 and other Fertility herbs and Vitamins check out this section.

If you have tried Vitex or Vitamin B6 yourself then please comment below to share your experiences or if you have any questions then feel free to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Fertility Blog!

I am going to use this section to discuss all things babies…..from getting pregnant to preparing for the birth, from to birth inductions to recovering from a c-section or forceps delivery. I will discuss to the things you truly need for your baby once it is here and give honest reviews of the products I have tried and tested. I will tell you what was in my hospital bag and how I managed to turn my daughter from the breech position to head down twice. I hope you enjoy my blog page.

Trying to conceive abbreviations – what do they all mean?

Can the female orgasm help you get pregnant?

Early signs of pregnancy.

Progesterone and Fertility.

How to increase cervical mucus naturally – Top 10 secrets revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Trying to conceive abbreviations – what do they all mean?

Trying to conceive abbreviations

When I first started trying to conceive I thought I had missed the boat when it comes to all the jargon that goes on within the baby forums and trying to conceive forums. I had no idea what each abbreviation meant and it actually put me off asking for help or joining discussions for a long time. I was desperate to chat to other women who were trying for a baby however so I decided to do some research.

I discovered what most of the more common abbreviations stand for and I have put together a little list below so you can be an expert in no time.

AF = Aunt Flo – this is another way to say your period e.g. AF or Aunt Flo is due means your period is due.

AI – Artificial Insemination = when semen is injected into the vagina or uterus.

BFP = big fat positive = a positive pregnancy test.

BFN = big fat negative = a negative pregnancy test.

BD =  babydance/bodydance = means to have sex or intercourse.

BBT – basal body temperature = is the lowest body temperature taken at rest immediately after waking up and before any physical activity has been carried out. It is used to chart your ovulation.

B/W = bloodwork = Blood tests to measure e.g. hormone levels.

BF – Can mean to Breastfeed or your boyfriend

BH – Braxton hicks contractions = weak/false uterine contractions during pregnancy which are irregular.

BP – Blood pressure

CD – Cycle day = The number of days since the first day of your last period.

CIO – Cry it out = to have a good cry.

CM – Cervical mucus = Your vaginal discharge.

CVS  – chorionic villus sampling = a test carried out in early pregnancy to uncover any congenital abnormalities in the baby.

CP = Chemical pregnancy=- when a women gets a positive pregnancy test around the time her period is due but it is usually faint and she comes on her period a few days later.

Dpo – days past ovulation = how many days it has been since the day you ovulated.

DH – dear husband = Your husband.

DW – dear wife = Your wife.

DS/DD – dear son/dear daughter = Your son or daughter.

DOR – Diminished Ovarian Reserve = This means a women has a low number of viable eggs left in her ovaries.

EWCM – egg white cervical mucus = this is your fertile cervical mucus you get when in your fertile window.

EDD – Estimated due date = the date your baby is due.

FF- Formula feeding = When a women is using formula to feed her baby.

GF – Girl friend.

HTH- Hope this helps

HPT – home pregnancy test = a pregancy test that you can buy and do at home.

ICSI – Intracytoplasmic sperm injection = when a single sperm cell is injected straight into a women’s egg in a laboratory.

IUI  – Intrauterine insemination =when sperm is placed inside a woman’s uterus.

IVF – In vitro fertilisation = is a process of fertilisation where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body e.g in a test tube

LMAO = Laughing my arse off

LOL = Laughing out loud

MW = Midwife

MC = miscarriage

MMC – missed miscarriage = this is when a women has miscarried but her body has not yet rejected the pregnancy. A MMC is usually discovered at an early scan when the baby has stopped growing earlier on and has no heart beat.

NS or NT scan –  Nuchal scan/nuchal translucency scan =  is an ultrasound scan used to measure the thickness of the fold of skin at the back of the unborn babies neck. This can indicate if the baby is likely to have Down’s syndrome.

OPK =  ovulation prediction kit = ovulation test.

OH – other half = your partner/husband/wife.

OMG = Oh my god/gosh/goodness.

OT – Off topic = when someone is changing the subject within a discussion

PG – Pregnant.

POASA = pee on a stick addict = This is used when a women is trying to concieve and is obsessed with doing ovulation or pregnancy tests.

Pupo =  pregnant until proven otherwise i.e. until your period arrives there is still that possibility you could be pregnant. Some women also use the phase ‘ I am not out yet’, meaning her period has not arrived yet …….or ‘I am out’ meaning her period has arrived.

PND – Postnatal depression = depression experienced by women following childbirth and is associated with  hormonal changes, fatigue and the psychological adjustment linked to being a mum.

SD – Sperm donor =  when a sample of sperm is donated to a women to be used artificial insemination by a man that is not the women’s sexual partner.

TMI – Too much information = This is used to warn the reader of the impending detail they are about to share about a sensitive subject.

TTC – trying to conceive = trying to get pregnant.

TTW – two week wait = this basically means the luteal phase or part of your cycle after you ovulate. As the luteal phase is on average 14 days long it is called the two week wait before your period is due.

VBAC – Vaginal birth after Cesarean = This is when a women has had a Cesarean with her previous child and has managed a natural vaginal birth with her next child.

If there are any I have missed then please write to me in the comments section at the bottom so I can add them.

 

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Fertility Vitamins and Fertility Herbs – improve fertility naturally.

On my TTC journey I was constantly looking for natural ways to boost my fertility without relying on medication. I will give you some great information here and also ways you can boost your man’s fertility too.

Fertility vitamins.

When it comes to fertility vitamins for both men and women there is a lot of choice. You can either take an all in one pre-conception vitamin which contains lots of different things at the ideal doses or you could opt to take just a selection of vitamins individually. There are several vitamins that increase fertility and these vitamin supplements can help fertility by ensuring your hormones are balanced and as well as protecting your eggs and sperm from any damage. They can also increase your mans sperm count and quality. I will go through which vitamins to look out for in a good preconception vitamin when trying to conceive and why. I will also point out which ones your man should be taking.

Fertility vitamins for women.

Folic acid versus folate: When you decide to start trying for a baby you are generally advised to start taking at least 400 micro grams of folic acid everyday and to carry on taking it until you are at least 12 weeks pregnant. By taking this dose of folic acid we are told that it can help reduce the chances of your baby having a neural tube defect called spina bifida by up to 80%. In addition, it is thought to lower the risk of a having a baby with a cleft palate, heart defect and problems with the urinary tract. Folic acid may also assist in the development of your babies brain and encourages normal cell division, DNA production and bone formation as well as helping to decrease the risks of preterm labor, fetal growth retardation and low birth weight.

After some research however, there is actually a better option to taking synthetic folic acid supplements. Folic acid is actually a B vitamin….vitamin B9 to be exact but is artificially produced. Vitamin B9 can also be taken in another form known as folate which is actually what is naturally occurring in certain whole foods. Folate is converted into the active form of vitamin B9 in the digestive system known as 5-MTHF very efficiently. Folic acid supplements are not converted so easily however and some of us find it very difficult to convert. It can then hang around un-metabolised in our blood stream which may have negative effects on our health. The healthiest way to get enough vitamin B9 is not through folic acid supplements but through folate present in certain foods such as avocado, leafy greens and sprouts. If you think you will find it difficult to get the necessary dose through your diet you can try methyl folate supplements instead. I have no idea why this is not informed to women trying to conceive or who are pregnant.

Folic acid and miscarriage: Along with Vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin B9 (folate/folic acid) can help to reduce levels of homocysteine (an amino acid) in the bloodstream. This is very important as having a high level of this amino acid can cause improper blood clotting and can cause a spontaneous miscarriage. Taking folate/folic acid can also help to prevent placental abruption and pre-eclampsia so has so many benefits and they are cheap to buy.

Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 can help to control your blood sugar levels and can help to lengthen the Luteal Phase of your cycle if it is short (luteal phase defect- see section on luteal phase). You should aim for 100mg per day.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is needed for DNA manufacture and can improve the quality of your uterus lining ready for the egg to implant. This in turn can help to decrease the risk of an early miscarriage. Taking Vitamin B12 can also help us to ovulate more regularly if your cycles are irregular and can even help women who are not ovulating to ovulate.

Please note: It is best to take Vitamin B6 and B12 in the form of a vitamin B complex to get a good balance of B vitamins. Be aware however that vitamin B complex supplements often contain other vitamins such as vitamin C and Folic acid. You need to be careful not to take too much of a certain vitamin. All the contents are on the back of the bottle.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D enables us to produce the hormones needed for a normal menstrual cycle and a lack of vitamin D can affect ovulation and the balance of your hormones. Several studies found a high percentage of women who were struggling to conceive were deficient in vitamin D.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant which can help conserve the DNA within your eggs.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to balance our hormone levels and can can help to lengthen the luteal phase if you have a short luteal phase or a luteal phase defect. It can also help to decrease the risks of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities.

Iron: Women with low iron levels may experience anovulation (when they do not ovulate) and potentially poor egg quality. Taking iron supplements can really boost your fertility and help you ovulate more regularly helping you get pregnant faster.

Selenium: Selenium is an antioxidant which aids in the protection of eggs and sperm against chromosomal damage which is known to be a cause of many miscarriages and birth defects.

Zinc: Zinc works with several hundred different enzymes in your body to keep everything working normally. If you have insufficient levels of Zinc then your levels of estrogen and progesterone can be thrown off balance which can negatively affect your fertility. In addition, studies have shown that low levels of zinc can lead to an increased risk of early miscarriage.

Evening primrose: Evening primrose oil capsules can increase your cervical mucus if taken between your period and ovulation. It contains a fatty acid that can be converted into prostoglandins which can increase cervical mucus. The advice I read however is to stop taking evening primrose oil after ovulation as it can cause mild uterine contractions which is not what you want when you want a fertilised egg to attach to the uterine lining. If you chart your temperatures then you can pin point the day you have ovulated and stop taking them accordingly. Sperm are nourished and can last longer in healthy cervical mucus but if your cervical fluid is scant then the sperm may not survive to make the journey up to your fallopian tubes so taking a supplement to increase the amount and quality of your cervical mucus can greatly increase your chances of conception. The advise I have read, is to take 500mg three times a day (1500mg per day) for the first cycle and if your cervical mucus is not increased then you can up it to 1000mg three times a day during your next cycle.

Coenzyme Q10 : Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can improve both male and female fertility. It is present in every cell in our body and helps to provide energy inside our cells for e.g. cell division. Fertilization and embryo development requires high amounts of energy within cells and as we age our natural levels of CoQ10 decreases. This can increase the risk of mistakes during cell division which can lead to a greater risk of a non-viable embryo. Supplementing your levels is a great way to boost your fertility as it also acts as an antioxidant which may help to slow down the natural reduction in our fertility as we age by protecting our reproductive system. CoQ10 starts off as ubiquinone and then is converted within the cell to the more powerful and potent Ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the most biologically active form as it doesn’t need to be converted by the body and this is what you should take. The daily dose is 100 mg per day.

                                                  

Fertility vitamins for men.

Folic acid and male fertility: We usually think of folic acid/folate as something the women should take but folic acid can boost male fertility by improving the sperm count and the genetic quality of your mans sperm. Encourage your man to take your folate/folic acid vitamin daily when trying to conceive. He can stop after you are pregnant.

Vitamin E and male fertility: Vitamin E can increase sperm quality and motility and can help to conserve the DNA within the sperm cell.

Vitamin C and male fertility: Vitamin C can boost sperm quality and helps to prevent damage to the sperms DNA. This in turn can help to reduce the chances of a chromosomal abnormality and miscarriage due to a none viable embryo. It can also help to increase sperm motility by preventing them from clumping together.

Vitamin B12 and male fertility: Vitamin B12 has been shown to improve sperm quality and production.

Selenium and male fertility: Selenium is an antioxidant which aids in the protection of sperm against chromosomal damage which can lead to a miscarriage or birth defects. It is essential in the production of sperm and men with a low sperm count are likely to be deficient in selenium.

Coenzyme Q10 and male fertility: Studies have shown that men who take CoQ10 supplement have an increase in sperm motility and sperm count.

Fertility vitamins – which ones to choose?

Prednacare are probably the best known pre-conception multi vitamin for women and are reasonably priced. You can get 1 month supply for around £6 which isnt bad considering the vast array of vitamins they contain. You can also get a conception multi-vitamens for men too and prednacare do a great pre-conception vitamin for him and her in one pack. Below are some options for you and your partner.

Options for women

Pregnacare Vitabiotics Conception- 30 tablets – one months supply for £7.39 (was £10.16).

Seven Seas Trying for a Baby 28 tablets –  4 weeks supply for £4.48.

Zita West Vitafem90 Caps – 3 months supply for £14.60 (was £22.50).

Babystart FertilCare Fertility Vitamins – 30 tablets – one month supply for £5.99.

FertileCM can increase the quality and quantity of your fertile cervical mucus. This supplement claims to do the following:

  • Helps to build a healthy uterine lining for implantation.
  • Helps to thin your cervical mucus and provide a positive environment for sperm within the vagina.
  • Contains L-Arginine which increases cervical mucus production

It contains vitamin c, calcium, L-Arginine, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, lactobaccillius acidopilus and grape seed extract. You should aim to take 3 capsules daily (1 at each mealtime) and to stop once pregnant.

FertileCM (90 Capsules) – One Month Supply for £26.25 (was £27.60).

Efamol Woman Pure Evening Primrose Oil 500mg (90 Capsules)£10.65 (was £10.99).

Evening Primrose Oil – Premium Quality 1000mg (200 soft gels)  – 200 days for £15.50p.

Swanson Ultra 100% Pure & Natural Ubiquinol (100mg, 60 Soft gels) – £21.28 (WAS £22.21).

 

                                                               

                                                                                                         

Options for men:

Wellman Vitabiotics Conception (30 Tablets) – One month supply for £7.45 (was £10.15).

Babystart FertilMan Fertility Vitamins for Men (30 Capsules)  one month supply for £9.99.

Zita West Vitamen (30 Capules) – one month supply for £15.09 (was £17.49). 

Your partner could choose to take these vitamins you like individually but that would be less cost effective in the long run.

Alternatively you can by yours and your partners in one pack.

Pregnacare Vitabiotics His and Her Conception, 60 Tablets – one month supply for £12.95 (RRP £18.35).

                                                                                               

Fertility Herbs.

Fertility Herbs are a great way to boost your fertility and can be used by the body to prepare for pregnancy. Fertility herbs can help to improve certain fertility problems by balancing hormones in particular. They work differently to medication but when used alongside a balanced diet and gentle exercise they are still very effective in improving your fertility. Herbs are a natural alternative to medications as they are plant parts which contain nutrients that can bring about similar effects. They do take a bit of time to take affect but if you are patient then going down the natural route is a great option. They help by supporting your body with the end goal being to get your body working properly on its own eventually. Herbs do not have the same side effects as medications but should not be taken at the same time as any fertility medication.

Fertility herbs for women:

There are many herbs that increase fertility but having done lots of research there are several that come up over and over again. I have listed below the ones I tried and I believe they really helped me to get pregnant.

Dong quai and fertility:

Dong quai can increase your fertility in a number of ways. It can improve blood circulation to your uterus and helps to tone and strengthen the uterus at the same time. It is rich in iron and through hormonal control it can regulate your cycles. Dong quai can also be used to help with conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis. Dong Quai increases blood supply to the pelvis and is known to help bring back an absent menstrual cycles and it can also help to ease the pain cramps that come with your period. It is best ingested in liquid form and the daily dose is 30 drops twice a day in a some water.

Warnings – Most advice says to stop using Dong Quai once you become pregnant and to not use it during your period so I used it between the end of my period and just after ovulation. My cycles were quite long so I was taking it for a few weeks but if you have normal length cycles it may mean you only need to take it for 10 days or so each cycle. If you are on blood pressure medication then seek advice from your GP before taking it and also stop using it if you are having any operations.

Maca root and fertility:

Maca root supports hormonal balance as it has positive effects on the endocrine system. This system is what controls hormone production and function within our bodies. Studies have shown that Maca root can improve fertility in both men and women as it acts like a tonic for the hormone system. It contains many different minerals and nutrients and can support the function of the pituitary gland (which controls hormone output of the sex organs), adrenal gland and thyroid glands. It can help to balance our estrogen and progesterone levels which is very important as having higher or lower levels of these hormones at the wrong time can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant. It may also help to reduce anxiety and stress, decrease blood pressure and help to balance our iron levels. Maca is available in a powder, capsule or drops but I found the capsules to be the best option and the advised dosage is 500-3000 mg in the morning so it does not affect your sleep at night. You may experience a bit of spotting or a change to your cycles at first but this is a positive sign that your hormonal system is becoming more balanced. You should stop taking Maca root once you get pregnant as there have been no scientific studies on its effects on pregnancy.

Raspberry leaf tea and fertility:

The benefits of drinking raspberry leaf tea for fertility are vast and it is like a tonic to prepare your body for pregnancy and labor. Raspberry leaves contain many vitamins such as Vitamin A, B complex, C, and E as well as iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Red Raspberry leaves can help to prevent hemorrhage so can help protect against miscarriage, bleeding during childbirth and healing post birth. It can also help women who are suffering from endometriosis. It acts as a tonic for the uterus helping to tone the uterine muscles. This can improve uterine health in general which can help to prevent miscarriage due to a weak uterus. Toning the muscles can also help to prepare for labor, to bring about strong progressive contractions. It can also help with nausea during early pregnancy.

Raspberry leave tea can be bought in t bags and can help prepare you for pregnancy when drunk daily for a few months prior to conceiving. You should drink 1-3 cups a day. It also comes in liquid drops or tablets but as the tea is quite pleasant it was the best option for me. Most advice says it is safe to drink during pregnancy but maybe avoid it in the first trimester. I stopped drinking it once I got pregnant and then started again when I was a few weeks off my due date.

Vitex and fertility.

Vitex is the most popular and well known herb used to help improve fertility as it helps to balance fertility hormones. It is also known as agnus castus and chasteberry. It gently supports and regulates the pituitary gland which controls many bodily functions including how much of each sex hormone the ovaries should produce. This in turn can help to regulate the menstrual cycle and stimulates us to ovulate more consistently. It does this by increasing the amounts of luteinizing hormone (LH) produced which may in turn also boost our progesterone levels after ovulation. This helps us to maintain a healthy uterus lining for longer (lengthens the luteal phase). Vitex may also support early pregnancy and can help to prevent miscarriage through its beneficial effects on our progesterone levels. Vitex should be taken long term and can take a varying amounts of time to take affect (anywhere from 10days to 6 months). It works by supporting our bodies bringing about long term balance so needs patience. It should be taken once daily in the morning on an empty stomach. The suggested dose is 1000mg a day and you will struggle to by this dose in health food shops in the UK. You will need to buy them online. Vitex should not be used alongside prescription fertility drugs that contain hormones.

Can you take vitex during pregnancy? Information online suggests that it is safe to use during pregnancy but should be stopped after the 3rd month to prevent early milk production. From the third month the placenta takes over the production of progesterone anyway so it is no longer needed. If you fall pregnant it is best to speak to your GP if you want to carry on taking it to be safe.

Cinnamon and fertility

Studies have shown that cinnamon can also help reduce insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is important as insulin resistance can delay/prevent ovulation and can affect the maturation of the eggs. Women with PCOS are also more likely to have a miscarriage and can make implantation of an embryo difficult. Cinnamon may also help improve the ability of women with PCOS to lose weight and can help with heavy bleeding during your period and can reduce bleeding associated with endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

Daily dose for PCOS is 1500mg but as the capsules only seem to come in 500mg, 1000mg or 2000mg capsules so you could take 3 x 500mg daily. You should stop taking it once you fall pregnant and do not take it if you are on blood thinning treatment such as aspirin or warfarin or if you suffer from stomach ulcers.

 

Nature’s Answer Dong Quai, Alcohol Free Extract 1 Fl Oz £11.89.

Maca Root 2500mg  Highest Strength – 180 capsules (6 months supply) for £9.99.

Heath and Heather Raspberry Leaf Tea 50 Bags  – £6.15 for 50 tea bags.

Vitex, Agnus castus, Chasteberry –  1000mg Capsules (vegetarian) – 120 tablets for £15.99.

Best Naturals Cinnamon 500 mg250 Capsules (83 days) for £10.99.

 

               

Fertility herbs for men:

Your partner should use these herbs for at least 3 – 6 months –

Maca root: Maca root may increase a mans sex drive, give him more energy, increase the volume of semen, improve sperm count and sperm motility. Your partner should take 500-3000 mg once a day in the morning.

Tribulus: Tribulus can increase testosterone production in men. It can help with low sperm count, low sperm motility and poor sperm health related to hormonal imbalance. It can also increase a mans sex drive. The suggested dose is 500mg a day up to 1500mg a day if necessary.

Swanson Full Spectrum Tribulus Fruit (500mg) –  90 Capsules) for £8.60.

Maca Root 2500mg  Highest Strength  – 180 capsules (6 months supply) for £9.99.

If you have any experience with fertility vitamins or fertility herbs please comment below and share your experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About me.

Welcome to My Fertility! My name is Vicki and I am going to share with you my story and explain how I am in the position to help you on your journey to having a baby.

My Journey

My journey to pregnancy began in the summer of 2013 and I often think about the anxiety I could of avoided when trying to conceive if I knew then what I know now. I am no fertility expert but from doing months of research I now know my body, I know I have 2 common fertility issues – one that was preventing me from ovulating and the other was preventing me from falling pregnant. Having spoken to my doctor briefly with no solution offered I decided to take control of my own fertility and I found my own solutions. It took me nearly 2 years to successfully fall pregnant with my son and only one month to fall pregnant with my daughter. By following a few quick and easy steps you can get to know your own body/cycle which will help you feel empowered and you will be confident that you had sex at the right time which will reduce your anxiety levels. I have spoken to and advised many of my friends who have been trying to conceive for many months and I have helped them to understand their cycles and have guided and supported them on their journey. I find it extremely fulfilling to pass on what I know to other women to help them on this exciting but all to often stressful journey.

Knowledge is power.

Knowledge is power and I want to share my knowledge with you! Whether you are just starting your journey or whether you have been trying to conceive for a while with no luck, I believe the simple steps I will guide you through will help you to understand your own menstrual cycle and to know your most fertile days. With my help you can discover when in your cycle you actually ovulate as opposed to using the averages drilled into us from a young age. You will then know when in your cycle is the best time to ‘do the deed’ and if you have any problems with your cycle you can then go to speak to your doctor about it with hard evidence.

Let me help you.

Like I said above, I am not a fertility expert or gynecologist and there are some fertility issues I cannot help you uncover but from my website you will know your menstrual cycle inside and out which is a great starting place on your journey to getting pregnant. I am a normal women who decided that she wanted a baby but was faced with month after month of disappointment and after 2 miscarriages I had hit rock bottom. I needed someone to speak to who knew what I was going through but my obsession was my own so I pumped all of my energy in finding solutions to my own fertility problems. I want to help you by saving you months of guess work. Why ask yourself over and over….”have i ovulated yet?” …..”did I have sex at the right time?” ….” why is my period late but the pregnancy tests are negative?” when you can take a few minutes out of your day to collect the information you need to know for sure. My website will help guide you through step by step how you can take control and hopefully get pregnant faster. I hope you find the information helpful.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments sections at the bottom of each page and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best and good luck on your exciting journey,

Vicki

Please browse the menus to see how you can take control of your fertility today!!

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Chart your ovulation – how to confirm ovulation without a blood test.

How to calculate your ovulation?

When trying for a baby, you probably ask yourself every cycle ‘when will I ovulate’. You can use an online ovulation calculator or ovulation calendar to calculate your ovulation date, but these just ask you to input your average cycle length. They will probably place your ovulation date around 14 days before your next period is due or halfway through your cycle which may be fine for many women. It is not helpful however, for women with irregular cycles or for women with longer or shorter than average luteal phases. The only reliable way to calculate your ovulation date and to predict when you may next ovulate is to chart your cycles.

What do you need to chart your ovulation?

Firstly, you need to buy a digital thermometer. One like this is fine as it doesn’t need to be expensive.

I prefer to take my temperature in degrees rather than Fahrenheit but this is your choose and what you are most familiar with.

Secondly, you need to download a fertility app on your phone which allows you to chart your temperatures. I tried quite a few apps but the one I use and prefer is called Fertility friend. You can download the app on your phone for free but you can also update and view your charts and ovulation calendar on their website from your computer. Their free version of the app is basic but is more than adequate.

How to chart your ovulation?

How to take your temperature.

From day one, take your temperature vaginally. This may make you a bit squeamish but it is much more accurate than your armpit or oral temperatures’. Your vaginal temperatures’ are much more consistent and close to your core body temperature. They will therefore be unaffected by environmental conditions such as a cold bedroom, or whether you have been breathing with your mouth open or closed when you were asleep. Obviously, make sure you clean the thermometer after every use. Once you have inserted the thermometer, wait for a minute or so. Most digital thermometers give a little beep once they have finished.

If you decide against vaginal temping then you will notice that your chart will be very up and down and the apps will have trouble analysing the data inputted. I made this mistake when I first started out. I thought I ovulated every time my temps shot up one morning, only for them to drop again the following day. Avoid this added stress by doing it right from the get go.

This above chart is my ever chart and illustrates the difference between oral and vaginal temping. Up until around a week before I ovulated, I was temping orally. Compare this with the much clearer chart below. I discarded two temperatures as I had drank alcohol the night before which is likely to raise your BBT.

When to take your body temperature?

To determine when to take your body temperature we need to discuss what happens to your temperature throughout the day and night.

Morning temperatures:

When you wake up in the morning after at least 6 hours of sleep, your body temperature is close to its lowest point for that day. Your body has been resting and you have not been carrying out any physical activity. Once you get up and start to move around, have your breakfast and get ready for your day, your temperature will start to increase and it will be at its highest from late morning until the evening if you remain active. This is because when your body is active it produces heat.

Evening/Night temperatures:

In the late evening, your body starts to prepare you for sleep and as this happens your body temperature will start to slowly drop again. Once you are in bed and you start to feel relaxed and sleepy, your body temperature can be just as low or even lower than what it was first thing that morning. Your body temperature will remain low throughout the night.

 

So when should you take your temperature to chart ovulation?

You need to record the lowest body temperature for that day and it is advised to take your temperatures’ first thing in the morning, when you have just woke up. You should take your temperature as close to the same time as you can so if you wake for work at 6-7am, take it at 6-7am every morning before you get out of bed. If you take your temperature within half an hour or so of your chosen time then you should be fine. Taking it at 8am or 9am will make a difference however, even if you have just woken up. Your body temperature will naturally start increasing around this time. If you forget to take it one morning then don’t worry about it. The next few days of temperatures’ will fill in the blanks. There is a website that allows you to adjust your temperatures if you woke up later or had to get up earlier than your usual time, which I used sometimes but it isn’t really necessary.

When in your cycle to start charting your temperatures’?

I would advise to start to input your daily temperatures at the beginning of your cycle after your period has finished, which is normally around cycle day 5 or so. These temperatures’ before ovulation will be your pre-ovulation temperatures’ and your baseline. After a few cycles you will be able to see a clear range of temperatures’ that your pre-ovulation temperatures’ stay within e.g. my pre-ovulation temperatures’ range between 36.1 and 36.5 degrees Celsius. I find it useful to visually see the cover line that fertility friend draws on my charts. It allows me to see the limit that my pre-ovulation temperatures should stay under and what my post-ovulation temperatures should stay above.

How long after ovulation does your temp rise?

This depends on the individual but usually you will see your temperature rise a little the day after ovulation and more so from 2 days after ovulation has taken place.

What is a cover line?

When I talk about my cover line, this means the line drawn horizontally on my chart set at the highest pre-ovulation temperature that I get i.e. around 36.5 degrees Celsius. This can be adjusted if you think that fertility friend has made a mistake by going into the setting section on the phone app and into detector override. You can change the detector from ‘advanced’ to ‘manual’ and input a different temperature for your cover line. Now and again my pre ovulation temperatures’ rise above 36.5, but once I know I haven’t ovulated I discard them on the app in the ‘primary’ data section in the app.

What if you haven’t had a period since stopping the pill?

If you have come off the pill and haven’t had a period since (after your withdrawal bleed) then start charting your temperatures’ straight away. If you come on within a week or 2 after you start then it is likely that these initial temperatures’ will be your post ovulation temperatures’ and you can start again with the lower temperatures’ from cycle day 5 or so once your bleeding has stopped.

How to use Fertility Friend?

If you have joined fertility friend, then you can set up your account by inputting the date of your last period and your average cycle length. You can then start to input your daily fertile signs and morning temperatures’. When you click on a date it will go to the data entry section which allows you to input your ‘primary’ data which include your body temperature for that day and the time you took it, your cervical mucus (fluid) type, whether you have any bleeding and to what extent and whether you have had sex that day. If you are monitoring your cervix (opening size, feel and height) you can input this data in the ‘secondary’ signs section.

The ‘tests’ section allows you to input if you have got a positive/negative ovulation test and if you use a ferning microscope you can input whether you have seen full, partial or no ferning (see ovulation tests section for more information’. You can also input if you get a positive or negative pregnancy test.

The ‘specific’ section lets you record any other signs that you have such as ovulation pain, cramps, fatigue, bloating etc.

The ‘meds section lets you input any fertility medications or herbs you are taking.

This is all I use this app for but you can also upload photos and share them on the forums and ask for help from other ladies on there.

How to tell if you have ovulated?

A day or so before you ovulate, you will get an increase in luteinizing hormone which will give you a positive ovulation test if you use them. As luteinizing hormone levels increase it reaches its threshold level and an egg is released. Once the egg is released, your levels of progesterone will start to increase which warms the body. Once you have ovulated you should see a rise in your basal body temperature (BBT) on your chart. You need to see at least 3 high temperatures’ above your pre-ovulation range (or cover line) for 3 consecutive mornings to confirm ovulation. They should then stay high until your period arrives or until you give birth, if you are lucky enough to fall pregnant.

How does Fertility Friend confirm your ovulation?

The day that you ovulate will be the last day your temperatures’ will be below your cover-line.  After 3 days of higher temperatures’, fertility friend will draw a red line vertically on your chart to signify this. The line may be dotted if the App is not 100% sure that you have ovulated on that day. If the line is solid, then it is pretty confident that is your ovulation date. The more signs you input e.g. your type of cervical mucus and your ovulation test results, the more certain you can be about your ovulation day. Your temperatures’ should slowly increase over the first 5-7 days as your progesterone levels reach a peak and then the curve should flatten out. Your temperature will remain high until your progesterone levels drop again the day you get your period. The number of days from ovulation to your period represents your luteal phase length and this should be between 12 and 16 days. If it is less than 12 days long and you have some spotting for several days before your period comes, then you may have a luteal phase defect. See the section on ‘luteal phase defect‘ for more information on this.

What can affect your body temperatures’ and mess with your chart?

There is a lot of information online about charting your ovulation using your temperatures’ and most of it states that you must take your temperature before you pee, move, stand up, brush your teeth etc as any movement will raise your temperature. I have done some experiments with this and it makes no difference really. If you take your temperature after you have been to the loo as you forgot to do it straight away then don’t worry. I have actually taken my temperature and then got up and gone downstairs to make a cuppa and then took it again and it was actually lower the second time. It is more important to take your temperature at the same time of day, every day. Once you get to know your cycles and your pre and post ovulation temperature ranges, you will know if you have done something wrong and whether to discard certain temperatures’.

Alcohol – Drinking alcohol the night before can raise your basal body temperature (BBT) and affect your charting. I don’t mean a glass of wine here, I mean getting drunk and being hungover in the morning. Any temperatures’ that are particularly high the morning after a heavy night drinking should probably be discarded.

Late night – Along with drinking alcohol, having a late night and less than 6 hours of sleep can affect your temperatures’. Once again, discard any temperatures’ that are particularly high and do not coincide with your fertile signs and ovulation tests if you are using them.

Disturbed sleep – If you have been tossing and turning all night then your temperature in the morning will probably be above your coverline making things a bit confusing. To get around this read the tips section below (Tips to confirm ovulation).

Illness – This is an obvious one. If you are poorly you will probably have a raised body temperatures’ or slight fever which can mess up your chart, especially if you ill for a few days. This is a difficult one if you are ill around the date you should ovulate. It is more reliable to check your other fertile signs such as cervical mucus or do an ovulation test.

What if you work night shifts?

This will be about trial and error for you as an individual. The annoying part is when you are flipping from working to not working. If you sleep from 8am to 3pm in the afternoon and take your temperature at 3pm after you have woken up, your temps may be low. On your days off you should take your temperature in the morning after you have woken up. This will at least mean you are taking your temperatures when they should be at their lowest in the day. I would experiment however and see what works for you.

Temperature drop before ovulation.

Some women see their basal body temperature (BBT) drop before ovulation and I get this on my charts often. The day before I ovulate my temperature is usually lower than it has been for a few days. This is due to the surge in the hormone estrogen before ovulation, which lowers your body temperature. In addition, your BBT during ovulation can be quite low too. This is really helpful when trying to analyse your charts as the increase in BBT after ovulation should be very clear.

Tips to confirm ovulation if your chart is confusing.

What taking your temperature at night can tell you?

Firstly does your temperature stay high at night. After you get into bed (after 10.30pm is best) and start to relax and feel sleepy take your temperature. If it is below your cover line on your chart then it is unlikely that you have ovulated yet or maybe you have but only a day or so ago. Any high temps on your BBT chart may be red herrings. If your temperature stays high above your cover line once you are relaxed and sleepy in bed then you have more than likely ovulated. You can double check this if you wake up in the middle of the night and take your temperature. Before you ovulate your temperatures’ overnight will be below your cover line but after you have ovulated they will stay above your coverline. From 2-3 days after ovulation, your BBT will stay high 24hrs a day until your period comes.

Combine all of your fertile signs with your chart data.

You need to combine all your fertile signs and ask yourself it they fit in with what your chart is telling you. If your temperature has risen for a few mornings above your cover line but you have not experienced any of your normal fertile signs (such as a change in your cervical mucus to the fertile type or your ovulation tests have been negative), then it is likely that you have not yet ovulated and your temperatures’ are higher for another reason e.g. you may be coming down with a cold.

Can you tell from your ovulation chart that you are pregnant?

Your temperatures’ stay high and your period doesn’t arrive.

If you know the length of your luteal phase then you can be pretty sure that you are pregnant if your temperatures’ stay high for a few days after your period is due e.g. If you know your luteal phase is the average 14 days long and you know which day you ovulated on from your chart, it is more than likely that you are pregnant if your temperatures’ have stayed high for 16 days or more and your period does not arrive. This is because your luteal phase length stays pretty consistent from cycle to cycle so you should come on your period a set number of days after you have ovulated.

N.B. Your luteal phase can change in length from one month to the next if e.g. you are stressed, you have lost weight or if you are taking Vitamin B6 or fertility herbs.

Implantation dip.

An implantation dip is when your body temperature drops or dips for one day during your luteal phase. If it is truly an implantation dip then it occurs around the time that implantation would occur i.e. 7-10 days or so after you have ovulated. If you are charting your temperatures’ and you see your temperature drop lower than your current post ovulation temperatures’ or even below your cover line it could be an implantation dip and a sign that you are possibly pregnant. It is caused by a surge in estrogen which briefly lowers your body temperature. On the Fertility Friend gallery, ovulation dips are seen on around 20% of charts that end in pregnancy compared to around 10% of charts that do not end in pregnancy. Although this can be a sign of pregnancy, do not think that because you have one on your chart that you are pregnant and vice versa. Do not assume that because you have not seen one that you are not pregnant. I have been pregnant 4 times and have never seen an implantation dip on my chart.

How many days after ovulation can you take a pregnancy test?

If you really want to take a pregnancy test before your period is due then I would wait until at least 12 days after ovulation. I have had a positive pregnancy test at 10, 11 and 12 days after ovulation but they were very faint. With my daughter I didn’t get a positive pregnancy test until 13 days after ovulation, so it does vary for the individual women and the individual pregnancy. To prevent disappointment and a wasted test, wait until at least 14 days after ovulation to test. The levels of the pregnancy hormone doubles each day so the difference a few days can make is huge.

My fertility friend ovulation charts.

Below are a dozen or so examples of my BBT charts with a short explanation below each one.

November-January 2013/2014 – I got a positive pregnancy test during this cycle but had a chemical pregnancy at 14dpo.

 

Jan- April 2014 – Second pregnancy – I carried this baby for 12 weeks but it ended in a miscarriage. I did not ovulate until CD 72. 

 

First cycle after 2nd miscarriage – I took soy isoflavones during this cycle and ovulated on cycle day 18. As you can see, I had a 10 day luteal phase and spotting at 9 and 10 dpo.

 

Anovulatory cycle – July 2014. I did not ovulate during this cycle and instead I got my period early. I put this down to stress after the miscarriage.

 

August 2014 – I took Vitex, Maca root, Dong quai, B complex and Coenzyne Q10 – I had an 11 day luteal phase but with spotting 6 and 7dpo.

 

 

September 2014 – I took Vitex, Maca, Dong quai, B complex and Coenzyne Q10 – I had an 11 day luteal phase but with spotting from 8-11dpo.

 

October 2014 – I took Vitex, Maca, Dong quai, B complex and Coenzyne Q10 – I had an 11 day luteal phase but with spotting 8 and 9 dpo.

 

Nov – Dec 2014 – This cycle I used progesterone suppositories after ovulation – I had no spotting and got a positive pregnancy test on 10dpo. It was a successful pregnancy and I took progesterone until 17 weeks pregnant.

 

 

March 2016 – First cycle after giving birth – I started taking Vitex and Vitamin B6 and had an 8 day luteal phase.

 

April 2016 – Second cycle after giving birth – I was still taking Vitex and vitamin B6. I still had an 8 day luteal phase.

 

May-June 2016 – Forth cycle after giving birth – I was still taking Vit B6 and Vitex – I had a 10 day luteal phase this cycle and spotting was minimal.

 

July 2016 – Fifth cycle after giving birth – I used progesterone after ovulation again and had no spotting – I got a positive pregnancy test 13dpo. This was a successful pregnancy and I took progesterone until I was 16 weeks pregnant.

 

Nov-Dec 2017 – First cycle after giving birth – I had a 7 day luteal phase.

 

Dec-Jan 2018 – Second cycle after giving birth – I still had a 7 day luteal phase.

 

Feb-March 2018 – Third cycle after giving birth – Started taking Vitamin B6 and Vitex. I had a 9 day luteal phase but spotting at 7 and 8dpo. Once again after just one month of taking vitamin B6 100mg (as part of a Vitamin B complex) along with Vitex (1000mg) my luteal phase increased by 2 days.

 

Above is my March – April 2018 chart after I had been taking Vitex and Vitamin B6 for 2 months. I ovulated on cycle day 33 and my period arrived 10 days later giving me a 9 day luteal phase. I spotted for 3 days before it arrived.

 

Above is my chart from May – June 2018. I had been taking Vitex 1000mg and Vitamin B6 for 3 cycles. Not only did I ovulate on cycle day 19 but my luteal phase has lengthened to 14 days with no spotting.  Not only did I ovulate around 2 weeks earlier than in my previous 5 cycles, I had a completely normal luteal phase. This is the first time this has happened while I have been charting my ovulation (in 4 years).

 

More charts to come.

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Success stories

The reason I started this website is because I want to help other women successfully conceive whether they are just starting out or whether they have been struggling for a while and may have even had a miscarriage and is looking for some hope. Below I will share with you a few of my success stories so far in helping the women in my life get pregnant faster.

 

My friend got pregnant with her firstborn by accident and didn’t realise she was even pregnant until she was 3 months along when she noticed her boobs were growing and she had missed her period. When her son turned 12 months she wanted to start trying for number two and figured it would happen fairly quickly. She was still yet to conceive by the time he was almost 2 years so was a bit of a surprise for her. She told me that her cycles were 26 days and that she ovulates 7 days after her period started as she gets ovulation pains around that time. She had therefore been having sex around this time every cycle. I gave her some advice about monitoring her fertile signs and charting her temperatures and she discovered that she actually ovulates over a week later than she thought as her charts showed her temperature rise clearly. Instead of ovulating on cycle day 7 and having an 19-day luteal phase she ovulates on day 14 and has a 12-day luteal phase. Within 2 cycles she was pregnant. When her daughter turned 1 year old she decided to start trying for number 3. She figured it would take at least 6 months to conceive. The first cycle trying and she got pregnant because she knew when in her cycle she ovulated.

One of my friends had such a tough time when trying to conceive her firstborn. After 2 years of trying she finally had some tests done and she discovered that her Fallopian tubes were blocked due to an STD that she had contracted as a teenager and didn’t know. She had an operation to unblock her tubes but only one was really viable. She therefore could only conceive if she ovulated from the right ovary. The ovaries don’t always take it in turns each cycle and she could have gone 3 months ovulating on the left before ovulating on the right. To boost her chances I gave her some advice on how to make the most of each ovulation by monitoring her fertile signs and charting her temperatures. She then knew on which cycle day she ovulated on and got pregnant the month after. When her daughter turned 18 months she decided to try for number two. She got pregnant within a month but sadly it ended in an early miscarriage. Two cycles later she got pregnant again and has just given birth to another little girl.

My friend got pregnant very easily with her son but after she had him her cycles shortened in length from 25 days to just 21 days. She figured she must ovulate half-way through her cycle so concentrated having sex at that time. It took her 6 months before she spoke to me about it. I gave her some advice and she began charting her ovulation only to discover that she was ovulating just 8 days after her period started. Her follicular phase was only 8 days and her luteal phase was 13 days. She got pregnant the following month and her daughter is now 15 months old. She is now already 3 months pregnant with her 3rd child.

Please share you success below in the comments section:

 

 

 

 

 

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Fertility problems – Quick overview of the most common issues.

Like I said in the ‘about me‘ section, I discovered I had two common fertility issues when trying to conceive my son. I had high prolactin levels which caused me to have long cycles and a luteal phase defect. I will discuss these briefly here along with other common problems you can look out for including Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, low egg reserve, blocked Fallopian tubes, diabetes or being overweight/underweight. If you have any more suggestions please comment below and I will do some research and add it to my list.

What causes infertility in women?

If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than 12 months (or six months if you are over 35) and have not conceived then you should definitely go and speak to your doctor. There are many reasons why a woman is struggling to get pregnant but there are certain things that can be ruled out just with a simple blood test.

Problems with ovulation.

I recommend you start charting your ovulation as soon as your next cycle begins in order to confirm that you are actually ovulating. If you are having regular periods then it is a good sign that you are ovulating but by charting your cycles and by seeing a maintained temperature increase in the second half of your cycle you can be pretty sure you are ovulating. You can also have your Dr do a blood test around 5-7 days after you think you have ovulated to measure your progesterone levels. They will suggest to do this around 19-21 days since your last period started but if your cycles are longer than the ”average” 28 days then tell your Dr as the tests should be done later (ideally 7 days before your period is due).  If you find you are not ovulating you may be given a medication called Clomid which will hopefully stimulate you to ovulate. You can read more about Clomid and how it works to stimulate ovulation here.

Alternatively, if you want to go down the more natural route you can try Soy Isoflavones (see my review here). Low estrogen is usually the cause of anovulation (when a woman is not ovulating) and this problem can often be resolved successfully.

 

Thyroid problems and ovulation.

Both an overactive or under active thyroid gland can prevent ovulation and you can have your levels of thyroid hormones checked with a simple blood test at your GP surgery. You can go on treatment to control either condition and you should start ovulating again.

Premature ovarian failure and ovulation.

Premature ovarian failure is when a the ovaries stop working while a woman is still at child bearing age and an egg will not be released. Although there is no treatment to prevent this there are options available. Your GP can do tests to confirm this and give you the advice you need.

High prolactin levels and ovulation.

Prolactin is a hormone that is produced in high levels when a woman is breastfeeding and helps to control ovulation and the production of estrogen and testosterone. If a woman is breastfeeding then she is using up a lot of your resources and her body will cleverly try to prevent ovulation and therefore a further pregnancy during this time. This is to prevent further stress on her body. Women who are not breastfeeding may also produce fluctuating levels of prolactin and if levels become high, (a  condition called hyperprolactinemia), it can prevent her from ovulating regularly. If your cycles are particularly long or you have charted your cycle and can see you are not ovulating then go to your GP and ask them to check your levels of prolactin along with your levels of estrogen.

Symptoms of high prolactin levels include irregular or lack of periods, milk discharge from the nipples when you squeeze them (when  not breastfeeding) and a lack of cervical mucus. High prolactin levels in women who are not breastfeeding can be caused by a number of things and levels will be checked by your GP on a few separate occasions to double check. If your results show you have high levels of prolactin it is likely your GP will repeat the test again. This is because a temporary increase in prolactin can occur.  Levels may be higher if you have the blood test during the luteal phase of your cycle (after ovulation) so ideally the blood test should be done during the follicular phase. Further reasons for a temporary increase include having sex and/or nipple stimulation the morning of the blood test, exercising, drinking alcohol, being dehydrated or having just eaten before the blood test. It is important not to do any of these things before the test to give an accurate result.  Early morning is best and refrain from eating, exercising or having sex before the test. High levels of stress and thyroid problems and can also affect levels of prolactin so your GP should consider this as well. Natural treatment for high prolactin levels are available such as Vitex/Angus castus (see Fertility vitamins and herbs section for more information) which can treat slightly raised levels. 

 

The first thing you should do if you have high prolactin levels and are not ovulating regularly is reduce your intake of alcohol. Alcohol can stimulate the production or prolactin (in particular beer as it contains yeast). You should also do the things that help you to relax.

Hyperprolactinaemia can cause infertility but treatment for a sustained rise in prolactin levels are available depending on the cause. If several consecutive blood tests show very high levels then it could mean you have a benign pituitary growth called a prolactinoma. A mediaction called Bromocriptine is often used to reduce the production of prolactin when trying to get pregnant and can hopefully reduce the size of the tumor. This drug must be stopped after conceiving however. If your vision becomes affected by the tumor  then surgery is also an option.

Stress and Ovulation.

High levels of stress hormones such as Cortisol can inhibit ovulation or delay it substantially giving you long cycles (see more on this here). By taking steps to reduce your stress levels, ovulation can return and you may ovulate more regularly.

Luteal Phase deficiency.

I have covered the Luteal phase defect in a separate section (see here) as this is the fertility problem I suffer from and is very common. A luteal phase defect is when you are ovulating and may have regular periods but the time between ovulation and your period is short (less than 12 days). A short luteal phase may cause you to spot after ovulation or come on your period before a fertilised egg has time to attach to the uterus lining. An effectice treatment for a luteal phase defect is progesterone suppositories which you would need to start using after you have ovulated (you need to be certain you have ovulated through charting your temperatures or having a progesterone blood test).

I used progesterone to conceive both of my children and I have given a review here.  Be aware that your GP will not prescribe this to you and you will need to see a consultant gynaecologist to get it. The progesterone treatment can help you to maintain your uterus lining long enough for a fertilised egg to attach and you should carry on taking it until you are around 16 weeks pregnant. There are natural alternatives to progesterone too which I have covered here. One of these is a good vitamin B complex. The complex needs to contain at least 100mg of Vitamin B6 and it can be very effective in lengthening your luteal phase and reduce spotting if taken daily for several cycles. 

Weight issues and infertility.

Being under or overweight can play a huge role in your success at getting pregnant. Being underweight can cause you to ovulate very rarely or stop ovulation altogether. Having a lower than normal body fat percentage can affect your hormone levels and in particular can cause low estrogen levels. Having low estrogen levels can prevent the release of an egg from the ovaries.

Being overweight can also be a huge issue. Your estrogen levels can be too high causing estrogen dominance (having too much estrogen relative to progesterone). Having excess fat in your tissues can promote estrogen dominance and having too much estrogen can cause more fat cells to be stored enhancing the problem. Having too much estrogen can prevent the release of an egg from the ovary and can reduce the quality of the uterus lining ready for implantation. Both poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are linked to high estrogen levels and these are very common fertility problems. Being overweight is also linked to diabetes which again can affect a woman’s fertility.

Diabetes and fertility problems.

Diabetes is becoming a huge issue in the western world and although having a higher than normal blood glucose level does not prevent fertilisation of the egg it can prevent an egg from implanting properly. You may be able to get the egg fertilised but may miscarry before you even get a positive pregnancy test i.e. a chemical pregnancy.

High glucose levels can increase the risk of miscarriage by 30-60% so if you have diabetes you should concentrate on getting this condition under control before trying to conceive. You can help by loosing a bit of weight by exercising and eating a healthy diet. A treatment called Metformin can help get type 2 diabetes under control by reducing blood sugar levels.

High testosterone levels in women and infertility.

We usually associate testosterone as a male hormone but women have low levels as too. If these low levels become increased it can cause problems when trying to get pregnant and carrying a baby to term. High testosterone levels in women is more than likely linked to poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which can cause irregular ovulation and can lead to infertility if not treated. If you have high testosterone levels and are not ovulating or you are producing immature eggs you will be unable to conceive successfully. There are medications available to lower testosterone levels which are also used to control PCOS such as metformin and there are drugs available to stimulate ovulation such as Clomid.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility (PCOS).

Women with PCOS have an imbalance in their hormone levels which leads to irregular menstrual cycles and infrequent ovulation and even anovulation. Other symptoms of PCOS is high testosterone levels (as mentioned above), obesity, excess hair (hirsutism) on the face, back, arms and legs and chest which can be thick and dark in colour. thinning hair on your head and acne and oily skin. You can have a blood test and ultra sound to confirm PCOS and if you do have it you can be placed on treatment to help. Women with PCOS often have elevated blood glucose levels so metformin can be used or clomid to encourage ovulation.

Endometriosis and infertility.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that acts like endometrium (the lining of your uterus) is found elsewhere in the body e.g. the fallopian tubes, ovaries, inside your abdomen, bowel or bladder. It mostly effects women of childbearing age and can have long-term effects on fertility. Some women have no symptoms while many have some common symptoms including pain in your lower abdomen which is particularly bad when they are on there period, heavy periods, painful sex, pain when urinating or defecating during a period, nausea, diarrhoea or constipation.

This condition can be diagnosed with a laparoscopy or ultrasound. Treatments include painkillers, the contraceptive pill or surgery. Endometriosis can affect a woman’s fertility and prevent her from getting pregnant so if you have any of the symptoms go and see your GP. I know several friends with endometriosis who have sought help and have gone on to have babies and one friend who was told she would not be able to conceive and was actually waiting for IVF when she fell pregnant naturally.

Poor egg quality.

Our age and lifestyle are key factors when considering egg quality. Egg quality can affect a woman’s chances of conceiving and carrying a healthy baby to term as egg quality is related to the quality of the embryo. Egg quality is also known as ovarian reserve which relates to the number of immature follicles/eggs a woman has left in her ovaries. We are born with all our eggs in our ovaries and they slowly deplete as we age and decrease in quality. Once we hit our mid 30s however, egg quality starts to deteriorate at a faster rate. Doctors can do an ovarian reserve blood test to check the levels of AMH ( anti-mullerian hormone) which is a hormone given off by the remaining follicles in our ovaries. The levels of AMH in our blood can give us a good idea of our remaining supply of eggs. Antral follicle counts through ultrasound and FSH testing on day 3 of your cycle can also be done to determine your ovarian reserve. Although there is no treatment as such to can stop our decreasing ovarian reserve as we age, women who are infertile because of poor egg count or quality and want to get pregnant may use assisted reproductive technologies. IVF using donor eggs can be an option or if you have a low ovarian reserve at a young age but are not ready for a baby you can have your eggs frozen for future use.

Blocked Fallopian tubes.

The Fallopian tubes link a woman’s ovaries to the uterus and after ovulation the egg is fertilised in these tubes before travelling down to the uterus for implantation. If one or both of the Fallopian tube are blocked then the sperm may not get through to the egg to fertilise it. If the sperm cells do manage to make it to the egg, then the egg may not be able to make it to the uterus for implantation. There are no real symptoms of blocked Fallopian tubes and most women are not aware there is a problem until they have trouble trying to conceive. Sometimes however, the blocked Fallopian tube can lead to pain on one side of the abdomen if fluid builds up inside the tube enlarging it. If both tubes are completely blocked then conception without treatment is not possible. If they are only partially blocked then conceiving is possible but there is risk of an ectopic pregnancy. This is when the fertilised egg may not be able to make it through to the uterus and instead starts to implant outside the womb and usually inside one of the fallopian tubes. If only one of the Fallopian tube is blocked then a woman can still get pregnant when she ovulates on the side with the unaffected Fallopian tube.

Blocked Fallopian tubes are caused by scarring or adhesions which can be a result of Endometriosis, Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a previous ectopic pregnancy, surgery on the Fallopian tubes, sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea and Chlamydia or fibroids. To diagnose a blocked Fallopian tube you would need to have a special dye introduced into your uterus and Fallopian tubes and then have an xray which would show up any blockages. An alternative is a laparoscopy where a surgeon will use key hole surgery to investigate and if they see any scarring or adhesions they can hopefully clear them or repair any damage to the tubes. My friend developed a blockage in one of her fallopian tubes which led to PID and scarring. She had a laparoscopy and the tube was cleared. She was able to get pregnant naturally and now has two children. If surgery is not possible or does not work then IVF may be the next step.

Hostile or low quality cervical mucus.

Your cervical mucus should become thin, watery or like egg white as you approach ovulation. This special cervical fluid helps the sperm to swim through your cervix and into the uterus to reach the egg more easily. If there is a problem with your cervical mucus it can prevent pregnancy. If your cervical mucus is of low quality or scant during ovulation you can use a sperm friendly lubricant or try some supplements to increase and improve the quality of your cervical mucus – see section on ‘What is the fertile window’ or ‘What is sperm friendly lubricant‘.

Fibroids

Non-cancerous growths called fibroids can develop inside the uterus and can affect the chances of conception. Sometimes they can prevent a fertilised egg from implanting into the uterus lining or may block one or both of the Fallopian tubes. Symptoms of fibroids include heavy and painful periods, lower back pain or abdominal pains and pain felt during sexual intercourse. You should see your GP if you experience any of these problems.

Medicines and drugs

Some medicines and drugs can have side effects which can reduce fertility. Long term use of ibuprofen or aspirin in high doses can make it difficult to conceive and chemotherapy treatment can cause premature ovarian failure. Antipsychotic drugs can also cause missed periods and infertility. Recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine can also significantly reduce fertility and prevent ovulation, while tobacco can reduce egg quality. When trying to conceive you should stop using recreational drugs and ask your GP about the risk associated with getting pregnant while on painkillers and other long term medications.

Male fertility problems.

A low sperm count and low sperm mobility make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg in the Fallopian tubes. Sperm can also be abnormal in shape making it hard for them to fertilise an egg. There is thought to be a link between a prolonged increase in temperature of the testicles and reduced semen quality and something as simple as switching to looser fitted underwear may improve sperm quality.

Damage to the testicles themselves through injury, infection, cancer and surgery can significantly reduce sperm quality as can having undescended testicles or congenital defects. Erectile dysfunction or ejaculation problems can prevent sperm being released and low testosterone levels can cause hypogonadism which will result in a low sperm count. Medicines and drugs such as sulfasalazine , chemotherapy drugs and anabolic steroids can decrease the number of sperm and their mobility. Sometimes the effects are temporary and sperm count and mobility can get back to normal when you stop taking them. Drugs such as tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and cocaine can also affect sperm quality.

Unexplained infertility

Unexplained infertility accounts for around 25% of incidences of infertility in the UK. This is when no reason can be pin pointed in the man or woman. If a healthy couple have failed to conceive after 2 years of having regular unprotected sex they should be considered for IVF treatment. In the mean time check out the section on ‘Fertility vitamins and Fertility Herbs‘ to see if you can boost your fertility naturally in the hope of conceiving without medical intervention. There is also a book called ‘Is your body baby friendly?‘ which has come highly recommended on popular trying to conceive forums.

If you have any comments or issues I have not covered, and you feel that I should add to the list then please comment below. I have also written a post on ‘Natural Killer Cells’ which may be of interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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