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Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Medically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Levy, a Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist and OBGYN. Dr. Levy has been the IVF director of a busy, academic, fertility practice. He specializes in complex endocrine and reproductive cases. He is a prolific researcher and author publishing dozens of articles in many prestigious peer-reviewed journals. He also serves as Chief Medical Officer at Fertility Cloud, a comprehensive virtual fertility care platform that helps couples with fertility testing and treatment, all from the comfort of their own homes.
Written on 11/10/20
Updated on 7/22/21
Trigger warning: This blog discusses miscarriage/pregnancy loss.
Many women who are trying to conceive face many challenges, and the moment of pregnancy is a time of joy and relief. Unfortunately, miscarriages do occur and here at Proov we know just how heartbreaking miscarriages can be. On my infertility journey, I endured seven miscarriages, which ultimately led me to invent Proov.
Understanding miscarriages and ovulation can help you be better prepared to start trying again after one has occurred.
A miscarriage is an early pregnancy loss that happens before the 20th week of pregnancy, and it is more common than many women realize. However, miscarriages are not necessarily indicators of your ability to have a successful pregnancy in the future.
If you have had a miscarriage, you may be wondering what caused the loss of your pregnancy so you can prevent the same problem in the future. About 50% of miscarriages are caused by genetic disorders that cannot be prevented. Some things we do in our daily lives, such as smoking, drug use, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, and over consumption of food (leading to obesity), increase the chances of early pregnancy loss.
Other common reasons that a pregnancy fails are:
A miscarriage is a pregnancy that fails before 20 weeks, but some miscarriages can occur later in pregnancy.
As you work to look toward the future after a miscarriage, you want to know if early pregnancy loss impacts ovulation. Fortunately, your body restores ovulation quite soon after a miscarriage. In fact, your body may begin ovulation in as little as two weeks after an early pregnancy loss. Once you and your partner feel up to it, you can try to conceive again.
Bleeding can be, but is not always, a sign of miscarriage. It’s often difficult to predict how long bleeding will last after a miscarriage and some women may even experience bleeding up to two weeks after miscarriage. If you experience for bleeding longer than two weeks, we recommend seeking medical care.
The bleeding indicates that your body is continuing to manage the lost pregnancy and remove tissues that formed as part of the pregnancy. You can start counting your cycle again beginning with the first day that you have bleeding.
Your body needs time to rebalance hormone levels from what is needed during pregnancy to normal levels for menstruation. Expect some irregularities in your period for up to three cycles. If your periods are irregular after a miscarriage, menstruation may continue to be irregular, but you have the same chances of conceiving as before your pregnancy.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, most early pregnancy losses are singular events rather than indicators of fertility or a woman’s ability to carry a baby to full term. If you plan on trying to conceive again, your doctor may recommend some additional general health tests to check for any underlying medical conditions. If the tests reveal that you have an undiagnosed medical issue that affects pregnancy, your doctor may recommend that the underlying condition be managed first to increase your chances of a full-term pregnancy.
If your miscarriage was a singular event, you can try again as soon as you and your partner feel comfortable. In fact, one study showed that women who conceive within three months of their early pregnancy loss were about 20% more likely to have a live birth than those who waited longer than three months.
Tracking your cycle after a miscarriage can give you insight into if and when you ovulate, and when you are fertile.
Using ovulation prediction methods can help you time intercourse around your fertile window when you are ready to start trying again. There are several ovulation prediction methods you can try:
Ovulation tests: Ovulation tests measure luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in urine to identify the surge that should trigger ovulation.
Cervical mucus monitoring: Cervical mucus monitoring involves tracking the changes in cervical mucus consistency that occur leading up to ovulation.
Basal body temperature (BBT) tracking: BBT tracking involves measuring your body’s lowest resting temperature, which fluctuates slightly before and after ovulation occurs.
When using these methods to predict ovulation, you may experience some unusual patterns for a few months after a miscarriage. Your cycle may be longer or shorter than usual. Tracking your cycle can help you identify these changes and bring any concerns to your doctor.
As you may know, predicting ovulation only provides half of the full ovulation picture. The other half? Confirming successful ovulation!
Successful ovulation refers to an ovulatory event in which an egg is released and PdG (progesterone metabolite) levels remain adequately elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception. Without enough PdG, it can be more difficult to successfully conceive.
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home. Our testing protocol recommends testing with Proov on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after peak fertility, when PdG levels should be elevated.
Four positive Proov tests during this window confirm that successful ovulation did in fact occur. If you never get a positive Proov test, we recommend consulting your doctor. If 1, 2, or 3 of your Proov tests were negative, this may be a sign of “unsuccessful” ovulation. In this case, you can try at-home remedies to increase PdG production, such as diet changes, seed cycling, herbal supplements or also, talking to your doctor.
While miscarriages are heartbreaking, they do not mean your TTC journey is over! We are here to help you every step of the way.