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.
Written on 10/4/21
The more you know, the better choices you can make to help you reach your fertility goals faster.
Trying to conceive can be such an exciting time in your life — you are starting a brand new journey! But, it can also be confusing and even frustrating at times.
Here at Proov, the last thing we want to do is add any additional stress. This is why we created Proov A to Z — the ultimate guide to all things Proov to help you better understand all the acronyms and lingo of TTC (that’s “trying to conceive”!). After all, the more you know, the better choices you can make to help you reach your fertility goals faster.
Anovulatory cycle: This refers to a cycle in which ovulation does not occur. If you have an anovulatory cycle, you will not see any change in your PdG tests from baseline to after peak fertility. Anovulatory cycles are common in women with PCOS.
Baseline PdG test: A baseline is any measurement taken early, to use as a point of comparison for measurements taken later. In the case of Proov Confirm PdG tests, we take a baseline test early in the cycle, when we would expect PdG levels to be low. This gives us a point of comparison to understand whether levels are sufficiently elevated later on to indicate successful ovulation. Your baseline is unique to you, and PdG testing can only provide useful insight when that baseline is known (so please don’t skip it!).
CD (cycle day): This is an abbreviation for “cycle day,” referring to specific days during your menstrual cycle. CD 1 (cycle day 1) is the first day of your period, and you’ll count up from there.
Cervical mucus: Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the cervix throughout your cycle, and tracking its characteristics is one method some women use to help identify peak fertility. For most of your cycle, cervical mucus is dry and sticky. But as you near ovulation and peak fertility, your cervical mucus becomes wet, stretchy, and may even resemble egg whites. Fertile cervical mucus is important because it helps sperm reach its destination!
Corpus luteum: After the follicle releases an egg during ovulation, the follicle collapses and forms the corpus luteum. This temporary structure produces progesterone during your luteal phase. If you do not conceive that cycle, the corpus luteum disintegrates, progesterone drops, and your period begins. However, if you do conceive, the corpus luteum will continue progesterone production through the first few weeks of pregnancy, until the placenta develops and takes over.
DOR (Diminished Ovarian Reserve): DOR stands for Diminished Ovarian Reserve. Women are born with all the eggs we will ever have, and our ovarian reserve (how many eggs we have left) gets smaller as we age. When we are in our late 30s or early 40s, high FSH levels at the beginning of our cycle can be a sign that we have DOR and may be entering the perimenopausal transition.
DPP (days past peak fertility): Many testing and tracking methods require you to test on certain days after your identified peak fertility. We consider peak fertility to be the day you get your first positive ovulation test, meaning 1 day past peak (1 DPP) falls on the next day. Note that DPP is different from DPO (days past ovulation). At Proov, we focus on DPP because we’ve found that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint an exact ovulation date from home. Peak fertility, on the other hand, is a stage that lasts a couple of days, and can be identified through easy at-home hormone monitoring using LH tests, like Proov Predict.
E1G (Estrogen Metabolite): E1G is a marker (also called a metabolite) of the hormone estrogen which can be detected in urine. Since rising estrogen is an early sign that your body is preparing to ovulate, measuring E1G can help you identify the longest possible fertile window.
Estrogen: Estrogen is the dominant hormone during the first half of your cycle — the follicular phase. Estrogen is important when you’re trying to conceive because it plays a key role in ovulation. Once an egg is mature and ready to be released, it begins producing estrogen. When estrogen reaches a certain level, this signals to your body that it’s time for ovulation to occur. After circulating through the body, estrogen is released as E1G, a marker (metabolite) detectable in urine.
After circulating through the body, estrogen is released as E1G, a marker (metabolite) detectable in urine.
Fertile window: Your fertile window refers to the short window of time each cycle when intercourse is most likely to result in conception, i.e. the time to “try.” Even though an egg is only viable for up to 24 hours after it’s released, sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days, which is the approximate length of your fertile window.
FMU (First Morning Urine): First morning urine is exactly what it sounds like — a urine sample from your first bathroom visit right after you wake up, ideally collected after at least a 6-hour hold. It’s extremely important to test with first morning urine when directed, because using urine collected later in the day may cause inaccurate test results. Pro tip: Save your first morning urine sample until you are completely done testing and recording your results. That way you’ve got a backup sample to test again just in case something goes wrong the first time.
Follicular phase: This is the first half of your cycle, from the first day of your period to ovulation. During this phase, estrogen is elevated and you should experience an LH surge about 12-48 hours before ovulation. The fertile window occurs during the follicular phase.
FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone): FSH is a hormone produced by your brain that stimulates your ovaries to prepare eggs for ovulation each cycle. Measuring FSH helps assess your ovarian reserve, or how many eggs you have remaining in your ovaries. The fewer eggs you have left, the more FSH is required to stimulate an egg to get ready for ovulation. So a “high” FSH reading actually indicates a “low” ovarian reserve.
Implantation window: The implantation window refers to the days during your luteal phase when your uterine lining is receptive to an embryo. Typically, the implantation window lasts from about days 7-10 after peak fertility. During this window, progesterone levels (which you can understand by tracking PdG) should be elevated in order for the uterine lining to be “sticky” enough to receive an embryo.
Improovments: In the Proov Insight app, your Improovments are the health and lifestyle changes you can make to support your hormone balance all cycle long. Your Improovments will be unique to you and your cycle, and may include anything from diet adjustments to supplements.
LH (Luteinizing Hormone): Luteinizing hormone is the hormone which surges during your follicular phase and triggers the mature follicle to release an egg (i.e. ovulation). LH typically surges about 12-48 hours before ovulation should occur.
LH typically surges about 12-48 hours before ovulation should occur.
Luteal phase: The luteal phase is the second half of your menstrual cycle. It lasts from the day after ovulation occurs until the day before your period begins, which should be at least 11 days to be considered healthy. During this phase, progesterone is the dominant hormone. The luteal phase includes the “implantation window” — the important time period when a fertilized embryo can implant into the uterine lining.
Luteal phase defect: A luteal phase defect (or a short luteal phase) occurs when progesterone levels do not remain elevated for long enough after ovulation. When progesterone levels drop too soon following ovulation, your period may start prematurely, cutting your luteal phase short. If your luteal phase is less than 11 days long or your progesterone levels are low, this may be a sign of a luteal phase defect which could make it more difficult to conceive.
Ovulation Insights: Ovulation Insights refers to the section of the Proov Insight app that gives you information about your hormones and overall ovulation quality. In this section, you’ll get a better understanding of what your test results mean and the best next steps you can take.
Ovarian reserve: Your ovarian reserve (also called your ovarian status) refers to how many eggs you have left. We are born with all the eggs we will ever have and, as we cycle and ovulate, our ovarian reserve slowly decreases over time. Measuring FSH at the beginning of your cycle can give you insight into your ovarian reserve.
Ovulation quality: This term refers to the overall quality or health of your ovulation. Contrary to popular belief, ovulation is not simply a yes or no event; there is more than one way to ovulate. If your PdG levels remain adequately elevated throughout the implantation window following ovulation, this is considered a successful ovulation. On the other hand, if you do not have sufficient PdG production following ovulation, we consider this a “weak” ovulation.
PdG (Pregnanediol Glucuronide): PdG is a “marker” of progesterone detectable in urine (also called a metabolite). After progesterone circulates through your bloodstream, it is broken down by your liver and released from the body as PdG in urine. PdG matters a lot when you’re trying to conceive, because it gives important insight into your ovulation quality. Studies show that elevated PdG levels during the luteal phase increase the chances of successful pregnancy from 19% to 92%.
Peak fertility: Peak fertility refers to your two most fertile days each cycle. While your fertile window may last up to 5 days, studies show that intercourse is most likely to result in conception on the two days leading up to ovulation. At Proov, we define peak fertility as the day you receive your first positive ovulation test. This date is important to know, since it affects the timing for additional hormone testing later in your cycle.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome): PCOS is a common reproductive disorder that can cause a hormonal imbalance that makes it more difficult to get pregnant. Since their hormones don’t follow typical patterns, women with PCOS can have trouble predicting ovulation with standard LH tests. Proov Confirm PdG tests can be a useful tool to help women with PCOS gain a better understanding of their cycles and identify whether or not they’re ovulating.
Proov Confirm PdG tests can be a useful tool to help women with PCOS gain a better understanding of their cycles and identify whether or not they’re ovulating.
Progesterone: Progesterone is the dominant hormone during the luteal phase of your cycle (the second half, after ovulation). Progesterone is important when you’re trying to conceive because it’s the hormone responsible for making the uterine lining “sticky” enough for an embryo to successfully implant. It is also important for mood stability, brain function, and bone health. After circulating through the body, progesterone is released as PdG, a marker (or metabolite) detectable in urine with easy-to-use Proov Confirm tests.
Successful ovulation: Successful ovulation refers to an ovulatory event in which an egg is released and PdG levels remain adequately elevated for long enough during the implantation window (which, according to studies, lasts from days 7 through 10 past peak fertility) to allow the best possible chance at conception.
Weak ovulation: In contrast to “successful” ovulation, weak ovulation means that although an egg was released, PdG levels either did not reach an optimal level or did not remain at this optimal level for long enough to allow the best possible chance at conception. If your Proov testing results indicate weak ovulation, we recommend following up with your doctor.