I know the feeling. You decide you’re ready to get pregnant and you want it to happen immediately. It takes a toll on your emotions wanting something so badly and not being able to do much about it. Each cycle is filled with hope, anxiety, distress, and sadness. Until one day…you’re feeling a little off and think maybe, just maybe, you should take a pregnancy test.
I want to share with you what helped me feel a little more in control of getting pregnant. I’m a charts and graphs kind of person, so anything that visually showed me data about my cycles was a huge help. These things lessened my anxiety throughout the process because I was able to focus on other goals while being able to understand what was going on with my body.
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1. Using Basal Body Temperature Method
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, I’m sure you’ve heard of basal body temperature. Basal body temperature is your temperature when you are fully at rest. It is believed that ovulation causes an increase in this temperature. By tracking your temperature daily, you will start to see a pattern of when your temperature has increased each cycle and you will have a better understanding of your fertility.
This is the method I started with when my husband and I started trying to conceive. I didn’t know anything about my cycle because I had been taking birth control for years and I wanted as much information as possible to know what was going on with my body. I bought a basal body temperature thermometer and downloaded an app (I started with Fertility Friend and later switched to Premom, but there are many good options to choose from) to plot my data. After a few months of tracking this, I started seeing a pattern in when my temperature would rise each cycle. I was able to predict a 2- to 3-day range of when I would ovulate and when I would get my period. While this gave me peace of mind that I was, in fact, ovulating, I still wasn’t getting pregnant.
There is a lot of room for error in this method because it’s dependent on you taking your temperature at the same time each morning. This sounds easy, but when you get up earlier during the week for work, setting an alarm on the weekend for the sole purpose of taking your temperature isn’t very fun! Ideally, you will have gotten at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep and not have gotten out of bed before taking your temperature. Any movement after you wake up can change your temperature and you want to have as accurate data as possible. So, just in case I wasn’t getting accurate data, I decided to try another method too.
2. Using Ovulation Test Strips
Ovulation test strips work by detecting levels of LH hormones in your urine. As you get closer to ovulation, your LH levels surge and these test strips are able to pick that up. Ovulation occurs soon after the surge.
I used the Easy@Home ovulation test strips. The reason I liked these so much is because you can use the Premom Ovulation Tracker app to store all of your data. This app lets you take a picture of the test strips and makes it really easy to compare to previous day tests. Your peak LH is highlighted so you can’t miss it.
The other thing I liked about these is that you can also store your basal body temperatures in the app. Having the combined data makes it easier to pinpoint your day of ovulation. Since ovulation test strips predict ovulation and basal body temperature confirms ovulation, the window of baby-making opportunity can be narrowed down pretty precisely.
After using both of these methods for a few months I learned that I was ovulating about 2 days earlier each cycle than the textbook definition of when women ovulate which is day 14. Since there is only a small window of opportunity each cycle to get pregnant, 2 days can make a big difference! I felt much more knowledgeable about what was going on in my body by using both of these methods.
When I was trying to get pregnant I would get annoyed when someone told me just to relax. I hated hearing that because it was so hard for me not to let my thoughts about getting pregnant and having a baby completely consume me. There is evidence that stress can negatively impact fertility. It can affect lifestyle choices like sleep, eating, drinking, and exercise, which can all have an effect on getting pregnant. Stress can even cause women to ovulate less regularly. So, as much as you don’t want to hear it, finding an activity that will help you relax and take your mind off the constant obsessing over getting pregnant is important.
What ended up helping me relax was learning a new hobby and setting exercise goals. I learned how to crochet by watching tons of YouTube videos and finding free patterns online. Turns out, crocheting is really fun and we now have an abundance of dishcloths and dishtowels! The other thing I did was set distance goals for biking. Having something challenging to work towards helped take my mind off of stressing about getting pregnant. The cycle I got pregnant, I was so excited for reaching my goal that I ALMOST forgot I was even trying to get pregnant.
Whether you are just starting your TTC journey or you’ve been at it for a while, the truth is that it will happen when it’s supposed to happen. The things I mentioned above are what helped me through months of trying, worrying, and disappointments and I hope you can find some help in them as well. Remember that one way or another, you will be a mom!