TTC Cheat Sheet (TMI images)
One of my very good friends, who recently got married, is just starting her TTC journey. She is 38 and this would be their first baby together. She is a professional woman, busy, fit and healthy. To the best of her knowledge, she has pretty regular periods (but she has been on birth control pills for a long time.) She asked me to create her a cheat-sheet of TTC best practices. So I did and then I thought I would share.
A couple of caveats: I am not a doctor. Everyone’s case is different. This is just me giving advice to my friend. (Sorry it is so long!)
Hi Sweetie. Hope all is well. I am so excited to hear that you two are trying. I know how overwhelming it can get. So here is a step-by-step guide to your next 6 months. My goal was to have you spend the least amount of money and have the least amount of stress. If by the end of the six months you are not pregnant, I would most definitely speak to a fertility specialist. Hugs and kisses.
CYCLE 1 - RAMPING UP
+ Download Glow 8-)
+ Start tracking your cycle. Log your symptoms. The first day of cycle is CD1.
+ Start taking over-the-counter prenatal vitamins. ($15-$30)+ Schedule an OB-GYN appointment for a pre-conception check-up. (Your doctor may give you prescription Prenatal.) Discuss any of your current medication with your doctor to see if it safe to take while pregnant or TTC.
+ Start drinking less than 2 cups of coffee a day. (Or soda if it has caffeine).
+ No smoking. No drinking. No drugs. (That goes for both of you.)
+ Exercise in moderation (meaning don’t ramp up at this point, just keep doing whatever you’ve already been doing.)
+ Pick up a copy of “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” Start reading it. ($17 on Amazon).
DAYS 2 – 7
Monitor the length and heaviness of your period. If it lasts too long (7+ days) or is too short (2 days or less) than that is worth mentioning to your doctor. If it is too heavy or very light, if it ‘can’t-get-out-of-bed’ hurts, if you have unexplained diarrhea during it, mention all this to your doctor as well.
DAYS 8 – Whenever your period comes next
+ Buy Pre-seed or the like. ($20) Stop using KY-jelly or other non-fertility friendly lubricants.
+ Enjoy sex (baby dancing) with your husband every other day, or even every day if you feel like it. Your position does not matter. You do not have to lie there afterwards, but you can if you want.
+ Concentrate on healthy living. Eat well. Go for walks. Do things you enjoy. Since you just got off of birth control, your cycle may be anywhere from 22 to 60+ days long. It would be A-MAZING if you got pregnant this first cycle, but it is best to keep your expectations low.
+ Buy pregnancy tests in bulk - I would go for a combo of Wondfo strips and First Response. About $60 should cover you for the next 6 months.
Total Spent: $120
Total Baby Dances (BD) necessary: 6 to 20x – depending on the length of your cycle. Have fun!
CYCLE 2 – LEARNING ABOUT CM
In your second month, it’s time to learn about cervical mucus. It sounds gross, but it’s really not. Your body secretes different amounts of fluids depending on where you are in your cycle. If you can identify the best one, then you can pinpoint the best time to have sex.
There have been entire chapters written about CM. Here is what it all boils down to in two steps:
1. Every evening, BEFORE you have sex, stick a clean finger into your vagina. Pull it out and examine the residue left on your finger under a light.
2. If it feels slippery, watery and stretchy and looks clear, then it’s go time. If it is clumpy, white or gooey – then feel free to have sex, but you are most likely not at optimal fertility.
This is fertile CM:
This is non-fertile CM:
Total Spent: $160 – You will need to replenish your Pre-seed ($20) and your prenatal vitamins ($20).
Total # of BD necessary: 6 to 10 – as Glow should have a better idea of your fertile cycle by the second month.
CYCLE 3 – START CHARTING BBT
By this point you should have finished the book “Taking charge of your fertility” and know why it is important to chart. Doing so is exceedingly simple:
1. Purchase a BBT thermometer from your drug store ($15). Make sure it has 2 digits after the decimal place.
2. Take your temperature every morning before you get out of bed.
3. Record it into Glow.
With any luck, you will see the rise in BBT that accompanies ovulation. Like so:
If you do not, this is yet another important thing to mention to your doctor at the end of cycle six.
Total Spent: $215 – Pre-Seed, Prenatals + your BBT thermometer.
Total # of BD necessary: 3 to 6 – one your temperature spikes and stay up, there is no need to continue having sex (other than for fun).
CYCLE 4 – PURCHASE OPKs.
Ovulation prediction tests can be expensive, but they are also extremely helpful in pinpointing ovulation. If you can get a good deal, I would purchase a 3 month supply.
Start using your OPKs as soon as your period ends. But you can stop once you get a positive. See if the positive matches your BBT spike and your fertile CM. If it does, this is a good sign. If it does not, this is yet another thing to mention to a fertility specialist should you need to at the end of your sixth cycle.
Total Spent: $320 – Pre-Seed, Prenatals + 3 months of OPKS (About $65)
Total # of BD necessary: 3 to 6 – By this point Glow should have a very good handle on when you ovulate, so just sticking to your fertile window should be sufficient.
CYCLE 5 – ALL SYSTEMS GO
By the start of your fifth cycle, you should be monitoring your BBT, your CM and peeing on all sorts of sticks.
Cycle 5 on – the name of the game changes to “Stress management.” If you are anything like me, you will have all sorts of negative thoughts creeping in and nestling in your psyche: “What if something is wrong? What if? What if?"
STOP. Banish those thoughts. With this process, you absolutely must take things one day, one cycle at a time. I have found that it is beneficial to go away with your husband for a day or two during your fertile window. It does not have to be far or expensive – just a night away in a new setting can do wonders.
Total Spent: $560 – Pre-Seed, Prenatals + some time away ($200)
Total # of BD necessary: 3 to 6 – By this point Glow knows you inside and out, your fertile window should be very accurate.
CYCLE 6 – ONE LAST HURRAH
On day 1 of your sixth cycle, call a recommended fertility specialist and make an appointment for the first few days of your next cycle. Add this to your calendar and with that weight lifted off of your shoulders, go ahead and enjoy a cycle of carefree fun with your husband.
Total Spent: $580 – Pre-Seed & Prenatals
Total # of BD necessary: As many as you can manage.
So, that’s it! Of course there are all sorts of other little tips and tricks, but Glow will tell you about them along the way. Be sure to click the tasks done so as to get the relevant insights. And LOG IN all of your symptoms. You might not think something is important – but Glow might tell you that it is. For example, did you know that having diarrhea during your period might be a sign of endometriosis? Well it is and Glow will point it out to you as long as you log it all in.
Yeay! I cannot wait to tell you all about <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.glow.android.nurture">Nurture</a>, our <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.glow.android.nurture">pregnancy app</a>!