What does it mean to be “aware” of your fertility?
Fertility awareness may look different for each woman as she grows and travels through her journey. We felt this quote really resonated with being fertility aware:
“Fertility awareness-based methods help users identify the days of the menstrual cycle when intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy.”
To us, this means tracking the phases of your cycle: knowing when you’re in the follicular phase, when you ovulate, and the transition into the luteal phase. With hormone-based tests like LH or PdG tests, you can track these transitions and follow your cycle each month.
Fertility awareness is crucial when trying to conceive. If you don’t know which days in your cycle intercourse is most likely to result in conception, it can be very difficult to get pregnant. Being aware of your cycle, peak fertility, and ovulation will improve your chances of successfully conceiving.
What if I’m not TTC?
Even if you’re not TTC, fertility awareness can still be a powerful tool! Understanding your cycle can give you insight into how your body works and your overall health. After all, your cycle is considered your fifth vital sign, meaning it can show potential problems in the vital functions of your body.
Take ovulation, for example: ovulation is triggered by estrogen and is considered “healthy” when enough progesterone is produced by the empty follicle. If you are not ovulating or your ovulation is “weak” (in other words you’re not producing enough progesterone), this could be a sign of a hormone imbalance or another health issue.
By now, you may be wondering how you can be more aware of your fertility. So let’s break it down into three easy steps!
Step 1: Tracking Peak Fertility
Fertility awareness is identifying which days in your cycle are most likely to result in pregnancy, a.k.a. your fertile window. There are several methods you can use to figure out your most fertile days.
Cervical mucus monitoring: Your cervix creates cervical mucus (otherwise known as vaginal discharge) during the first half of your cycle. Cervical mucus before ovulation is typically watery and then changes to an egg white consistency during peak fertility. You can learn more about cervical mucus tracking here.
Basal body temperature (BBT) monitoring: BBT is your body’s lowest resting temperature. It typically ranges from 97.0 to 97.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Before ovulation BBT will slightly dip, then rise about 0.2 degrees after an egg has been released. BBT also rises after ovulation and can be used to confirm ovulation occurred.
Ovulation predictor kits: OPKs typically measure luteinizing hormone (LH) levels before ovulation. Since LH typically triggers the release of an egg, a surge can predict when ovulation may occur.
Step 2: Confirming Ovulation
All three of the methods above help you predict ovulation and identify your most fertile days. But here at Proov, we like to take fertility awareness a step further. After identifying your fertile window, the next question you should answer is if you even have a chance at conception that cycle.
How do you know if you have a chance at conception? By confirming healthy ovulation!
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared test that measures PdG for ovulation confirmation. PdG is the urine metabolite of progesterone and only rises after ovulation has occurred. While a single positive Proov test observed days 7-10 after suspected ovulation confirms ovulation, positive results on all four days of the testing window confirm “healthy” ovulation. Healthy ovulation means PdG levels remained elevated for long enough to provide the best chance at conceiving that cycle.
Using Proov alongside a peak fertility method gives you a more complete ovulation picture and a better understanding of your cycle!
Step 3: Improving Your Chances
Now that you’ve compiled all this great information about your fertility, you can now make some changes that can help improve it. If you’re trying to conceive, this could increase your chances of getting pregnant. On the other hand, if you’re not TTC, this can help you live a healthier life!
We like to see four positive Proov tests during the testing window. If a couple of your Proov tests were negative during the testing window, this could be a sign of weak ovulation or a hormone imbalance. With this information, you can make simple diet and lifestyle changes to help improve your fertility.
Seed cycling: Seed cycling involves eating different seeds during different phases of your cycle to promote a healthy hormone balance. Even if you’re not TTC, seed cycling can help relieve symptoms of hormone imbalance like PMS and menstrual cramps. Not to mention seeds are nutrient powerhouses and definitely something we should all eat more of!
Lifestyle changes: There are tons of healthy foods you can eat to promote hormone production. Many foods — like soy products, peaches, and garlic — contain phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in the body. While food doesn’t directly contain progesterone, some foods — like pumpkin, kale, and broccoli — help stimulate progesterone production. Incorporating daily exercise into your routine is another great way to help balance hormones and reduce stress.
Visit your doctor: If your Proov results indicate weak ovulation or anovulation, meaning you had three or four negative Proov tests during the testing window, we recommend seeing your doctor. He or she will work with you to provide a treatment plan right for you and your fertility journey.
Most importantly, use this new information about your cycle to advocate for yourself and your healthcare. It is empowering to be in touch with your body and it can help you better navigate life!
If you need help reading your Proov tests or understanding your fertility, we are here to help! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!