ALTHOUGH I HAVEN’T MISSED my first period yet, I thought I’d take a pregnancy test, hoping that my hCG levels would show that I am pregnant.
But you will see later on why this was ridiculous of me.
And although I am focusing on getting my health at an optimal place, I am still secretly hoping that I will be successful at getting pregnant on the first shot.
That being said, some people have a slow rise in hCG and won’t have a positive urine pregnancy test over a month after they conceive.
It’s one of those things that can change a relationship.
It’s hard not to think about making a baby each and every time you have sex with your partner. At least for me.
I can only imagine what women go through after a year or more of trying.
Each period reminds the woman that they aren’t pregnant.
And of course the man if affected too, but there’s a responsibility experienced by the woman for not being able to conceive, which is completely FALSE.
More and more women seem to have trouble conceiving. Or maybe it’s that more women are reporting it or seeking medical support.
There are several theories and causes for infertility:
- PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome)
- High xenoestrogen exposure
- Poor health or malnutrition may cause spontaneous abortions
- Fibroids or physical obstruction of the uterus
- Endometriosis (growth of the endometrial tissue, which normally lines the inside of the uterus found outside of the uterus)
- Excess chronic stress
- Low body fat (which can disrupt hormones and stop menstrual cycles)
- Thyroid disease
- Pituitary disease affecting prolactin production
- STI (sexually transmitted diseases – ie. gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to PID- pelvic inflammatory disease)
- Menopause (completion of menstrual cycle, often beginning at 50 years old but can be as early as 40)
- Pelvic infection or past surgery causing tissue adhesion and physical obstruction
- Poor sperm quality and motility
Infertility is diagnosed after 1 unsuccessful year of having unprotected sex in women of child-bearing age. Often MDs won’t take action until after this 1 year of trying in women <35 years old.
If you are >35 years old, doctors suggest seeking medical attention after 6 months of unsuccessful conception due to the higher risk in age.
Naturopathic doctors on the other hand, practice preventative medicine and tries to optimize a couples’ health before they even start trying to make a baby.
Before running to the doctor’s office if you are having trouble conceiving, start by tracking your cycle. You can do this by taking your morning body temperature with a thermometer.
Before getting out of bed each morning, place the thermometer under your tongue and close your mouth. Fill out your information on a chart or you can use an app to track your temperature (download your trackers here for free!).
With a healthy menstrual cycle you will see a few days out of the month with a higher temperature, but not because you are sick.
This increase in body temperature is due to an “LH Surge”.
LH stands for Luteinizing Hormone. The LH surge signifies the luteal phase of your cycle and tells you that you are ovulating soon. This is often 2 weeks after the first day of bleeding.
But as I mentioned earlier, each woman is different. Some women have a longer cycle than others, and some ovulate earlier than others.
When trying to get pregnant there’s an optimal window.
This is when the woman is ovulating (an egg is being released from the ovaries and sent along the Fallopian tubes to be implanted into the wall of the uterus ). However, sperm can live from 3-5 days within the female vagina, so if you have sex up to 5 days before or after ovulation, you could still get pregnant.
You can also specifically measure LH by taking a test similar to a pregnancy test. You dip the test strip in your urine and it will show if your LH levels are high. The Ovulation strips work best if you use the temperature guide to approximate ovulation. I would recommend purchasing hCG and LH strips instead of commercial pregnancy tests in drug stores because they are more economically friendly.
Most pregnancy tests run from $8-15 at a regular drug store.
The fancy packaging and plastic case is unnecessary. You can go online and purchase Ovulation and Pregnancy Strips for less than $1 a strip.
And when you are trying to get pregnant it’s easy to get over zealous and test everyday!
And I am also guilty of this and I understand the human body. I mean I did a pregnancy test while I’m still ovulating! Haha… wanting a baby makes you do crazy things!
When you use Ovulation and Pregnancy Strips they should be individually sealed or in a air-tight container. Each strip will look like a thin piece of paper with a “max” line.
Instead of “peeing on a stick” you will be dipping the piece of paper into your urine. This “max” line is the depth in which you will dip the strip.
I recommend getting a disposable cup or scoop to collect your urine. Ideally, you will catch the middle of your urine stream. For example, let some pee flow then catch a sample of the urine.
If you have just had sex or are spotting you may want to use a sterile napkin to wipe front-to-back before collecting your urine to limit contamination and false positive readings.
Once you dip the strip into the urine up until the “max” line you will lay the strip flat and WAIT…
This is always the most nerve wracking time, but don’t peek.
Most tests take 3-5 minutes to show a proper result. If you see 2 lines that is a positive for ovulation (LH) or pregnancy (HcG). If you see 1 line make sure you double check if it is the control line. If it isn’t the control line then the strip is invalid and you should perform the test again.
If you leave the strip out for too long it can oxidize and affect the reading. So make sure you are ready to take the test (ie. be ready to pee) before you open the test.
I remember one time I was getting a pregnancy test ready while sitting on the toilet but before I knew it I couldn’t hold my pee and the flow started and I wasn’t ready. When I tried to use the test the next morning it didn’t work.
With the ovulation test you are looking at the amount of LH. A higher amount of LH will show 2 dark lines and indicate the LH surge, which is the optimal time to have sex and conceive. A faded second line means the LH concentration isn’t as high. This is why you should take your LH reading several days in a row to know when you are ovulating.
However, the pregnancy test should be very clear. If your urine has an hCG level above a certain threshold you are pregnant. A faint line doesn’t mean you are “sort of pregnant”.
But having a negative pregnancy test may not mean you aren’t pregnant either. You likely won’t be able to get a positive reading if you take the test too early in your pregnancy. Often you’ll have to wait until you’ve missed your period (2 weeks after ovulation) to have a reliable hCG test, and sometimes even a couple weeks after that.
hCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is the standard measurement for pregnancy because it a hormone made by the embryo after implantation. Typically the levels double every 72 hours. Therefore, if you test too early, the levels may not be enough to reach the test threshold.
A faint line indicates you are pregnant, however the most vulnerable time in a pregnancy is early on. This is why people hold off from telling people until the 2nd trimester (week 9).
So here’s to another couple of days tracking my LH levels. We will see in another couple of weeks if I miss my period and then I will take another hCG pregnancy test to really know if I’m pregnant or not.