TTC - Trying to Conceive

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TTC? Get Started Here! Helpful Info & Tips
by GwenMB
January 10, 2014 at 1:58 PM

List of abbreviations

What is Cycle Day 1?

Cycle Day 1 is the first day of your period.  Day 1 of your period is the first day of full bleeding, not just spotting.

What can I do to get pregnant the fastest?

Chart your basal body temperature (bbt) and cervical mucus (CM) and consider use ovulation predictor kits (opks).  This will help you see when you are fertile, so you know the best time to have sex, and confirm that you ovulated.

This will help you see if there are any issues with your cycle that may need fixing - i.e. not ovulating or having a short luteal phase (lp) (the time between when you ovulate & when your period comes). (FF) has a great guide to get you started charting.  The book Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCOYF) and the website associated with it, are also great resources.

See also the list of supplements at the bottom that you might consider depending on what issues you may have.

How do I check my Cervix?

Here is a link to how to check your cervix.

How do I check my cervical mucus (CM)?  What do the different types of CM mean?

Here is a link to checking your CM & what the various types of CM mean.

Here is a link showing pictures of cervical position & cervical mucus. (Pictures are graphic)

How do I tell the difference between CM & Semen?

EWCM is stretchy:  EWCM is very elastic.  If you put it between your fingers, it will stretch without breaking apart.  Semen, on the other hand, doesn’t stretch and will break apart if you put it between your fingers and try to stretch it.

EWCM is slippery and clear:  While semen may feel slippery as well, it looks white and cloudy.  Not clear, like EWCM.  EWCM is more transparent and feels very slippery.

EWCM does not absorb easily:  If you look at the toilet paper when you use the bathroom and notice mucous on the toilet paper, you can tell if it is actually mucous by waiting a few minutes.  If it is semen it will quickly absorb into the toilet paper, whereas EWCM generally will sit on top of the toilet paper.

EWCM will form a ball in water:  When you go to the bathroom, let the mucous drop into the toilet water.  If it turns into a ball and sinks, it is most likely EWCM.  If it dissolves, it is semen.

When can I test with a home pregnancy test (hpt)?

Your best chance of getting an accurate test result is to wait until you are at least 12 days post ovulation (DPO) or when your period is late if you don't know when you ovulated.

If you think you had implantation spotting, wait 3-4 days after the spotting to test as that's about how long it takes the hcg to be detectable in your urine.

What tests are the best?

Any test on the market should work just fine.  Digital tests (the ones that say ‘pregnant') require a higher hcg level to give a positive result so are best saved until your period is late.  Blue dye tests do have a bad reputation, though, so we do really recommend pink dye tests.  (Posting a picture of a blue dye test is likely to get you multiple ‘retest with a pink dye test' responses!)

Where can I get cheap tests?

The Dollar Store & Dollar General have pregnancy & ovulation tests for $1. has the Wondfo brand - you can get 50 tests for $14 (either 50 ovulation test strips or 40 ovulation & 10 pregnancy test strips).

When should I start testing with ovulation tests (opks)?

It depends on the length of your cycles. Use the following chart to see when to start testing:

Cycle Length Day of Cycle to start testing

21 5

22 6

23 7

24 8

25 9

26 10

27 11

28 12

29 13

30 14

31 15

32 16

33 17

34 18

35 19

36 20

37 21

38 22

39 23

40 24

When should I use the ovulation tests (opks)?

First morning urine isn't recommended with opks because your lh starts to build in your urine after you get up in the morning (unlike hcg which builds all the time).  So its best to test after late morning.  Its also a good idea to test several times a day, especially once the test line starts getting darker, since the lh surge can be short & you may miss it if you test just once a day.

Is this ovulation test positive?

Ovulation tests aren't positive unless the test line is as dark as or darker than the control line.  (Usually, if there is doubt, it isn't positive.)  Digital ovulation tests can be handy if you are wondering, too, since they give a nice smiley face when positive.

My ovulation test (opk) is positive, when should I have sex? When will I ovulate?

You usually ovulate within 12-48 hours of a positive ovulation test.  So you should have sex the day of the positive & then continue - either until  you confirm ovulation (with the 3 days of high temps) or for at least a week.  Every day or every other day should be fine, assuming you know your SO's sperm count is fine.  If you don't know, assume its fine (unless you've been ttc for a while, then you might want to only have sex every other day & see if that helps).

Please note that a positive opk is no guarantee that you will or did ovulate.  You usually do ovulate, but the only way to know for sure is to chart your bbt.  It is also possible to ovulate outside of the normal 12-48 hour window which is why its recommended to have sex for the week after if you aren't charting your bbt.

How do I know I ovulated?

Basically, you need to see a temp spike of at least .2 over the previous 6 days & then have it stay up for at least 3 days.  The day before your temp spike is the day you ovulated.  (There are some exceptions, its best to figure those out either from FF, the book TCOYF or by asking in this group.)  If you are charting on FF, it will put cross hairs on your chart to indicate ovulation.

How many Days Post Ovulation (DPO) am I?

If you are charting your BBT, the day of your temp spike indicating ovulation is 1DPO.  If you aren't charting, you can't know for sure, but you could guess that you ovulated at the end of the 48 hour window so the next day is 1DPO.  So if you got a positive opk on Monday, assume you ovulated Wednesday & count Thursday as 1DPO.

How long does my luteal phase need to be?

Your luteal phase (lp) is the time from when you ovulate until the day before your period comes.  1DPO is the first day of your LP.  12-16 days is the normal range. 10-11 days can be long enough, but if you've been TTC for a while with a LP of 10-11 days, you may want to try to lengthen it to see if that helps.  Anything less than 10 days is considered too short (although, some women can get pregnant with a LP of less than 10 days).

What Supplements Could I take to help with TTC?

Prenatals - should be taken by everyone who is TTC.  They help make sure you get all the vitamins & minerals you need to support your growing baby.  Be especially sure to get folic acid.

Vitex - helps regulate your hormones, gets your cycles regular, helps you ovulate (can be found alone or as part of a fertility supplement)

B6 - can help your progesterone level, helpful to take if you have a luteal phase defect

Maca Root - helps improve fertility & sex drive (anyone with a thyroid issue should talk to their doctor before using it).

Soy Isoflavones - Can be used like Clomid (days 3-7 or 5-9) to help you ovulate.

Raspberry Leaf Tea - helps irregular cycles & with menstrual cramps

Pineapple Core - for implantation - cut up a pineapple, divide the core into 5 pieces & eat 1 piece a day for the 5 days after ovulation/IUI/IVF transfer.  Stop after that as eating it longer could hurt your pregnancy if you are pregnant.

What can I expect at my first RE appointment?

RE stands for reproductive endocrinologist - or a fertility specialist.  Here is a link to an article discussing a first visit to a RE. 


  • GwenMB
    by GwenMB
    August 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Let me know if there is something you think should be added! I know I am especially missing supplements - please tell me what & why.

  • raspberrylovah
    August 10, 2012 at 10:43 AM
    Thanks this is a great help, especially since just starting ttc
  • Rachelz123
    August 10, 2012 at 10:43 AM
    Great info thanks!!
  • Kiki2009
    August 10, 2012 at 10:44 AM
    This is great! Now we just need to make it sticky :)
  • GwenMB
    by GwenMB
    August 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Quoting Kiki2009:

    This is great! Now we just need to make it sticky :)

    I've asked for that. :)  In the meantime, we can just keep it bumped!

  • Angelswaiting
    August 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    This was incredibly insightful!! Thank you so much!!! It's posts like this that make me love "my group" so much!!!

  • alonebutnot
    August 10, 2012 at 6:22 PM
    Thank you so much for posting this it saves from several different postings for one question and waiting for responses! Greatly appreciated!
  • Mrs.Hansen2011
    August 10, 2012 at 6:43 PM


  • MasterAtArms
    August 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM

     Glad this is now a sticky! Good source of information for someone just starting the TTC process.

  • HJMF
    by HJMF
    August 11, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    Some Supplements to add are:


    Evening Primrose Oil (to help with natural EWCM), Pinepple Core (to aid in implantation), Parsley Tea (can help bring on AF if late, also safe so if pregnant, will not harm the baby), Baby Asprin (helps blood flow to the uterus), PreSeed (sperm friendly lube), Folic Acid (Reduce Neural Tube Defects and promote healthy cell growth), Vitamin E (helps overall reproductive funtion), Black Haw (helps with cramps and to prevent m/c), Dong Quai (hepls regulate cycles, tone weakend uterus', PMS and cramping),


    Licorice Root (helps regulate testosterone levels, better cycles), White Peony Root (has the same effect as the licorice root), Saw Palmetto (helps better cycles, regulate testosterone and reduce the chance of ovarian cysts)

    FOR MEN-

    Saw Palmetto (strengthins reproduction and helps endurance), Zinc (improves sperm count), Amino Acid Arginine (raise sperm count and motility) Amino Acid Taurine (enhance sperm production and motility), Vitamin C (decreased the amount of clumping and abnormally shaped sperm as well as improved the men’s sperm count, motility and viability), Vitamin B12 (helps increase sperm count), Folic Acid (to maintain sperm quality and numbers), Selenium (improves sperm count)

    I think that about covers what I've got lol

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