How do I track my cycle?

 

When you are Trying to conceive (TTC), the first thing you need to think about is, how to track your cycle. Ask yourself: Do I get my period on a monthly basis, is it the pretty same time each month? And how long does my last? Does one month differ from the next?

So, Let’s track a Cycle: This is an example of a 28-Day cycle, so days can vary with individuals.

You can start by using a calendar and you are going to mark Day 1 of your cycle the first day of AF that you have a full flow and not spotting. So if you start seeing blood and it’s spotting but the next day you are flowing, count the day of flow as Day 1.

During your period, you are shed the thickened uterine lining and extra blood through the vagina. Your period can vary each month and it can be light, moderate or heavy depending on how much you bleed. It’s common for a period to last 3-5 days but others can last 2-7 days, which is normal.

After AF your body is getting ready for the next step, which is ovulating. For most women a 28-day cycle is common and this should occur on Day 14 or 15. Ovulation is when the egg is released from the ovary and goes down the fallopian tube where it waits for the sperm and this is where fertilization occurs.

Once fertilization occurs, the egg stays in the fallopian tube for 3 days before it moves down to the uterus for implantation. So this would be on Days 16-19 approximately. Implantation generally occurs 6-10 days after ovulation, or on Days 20-24 of cycle. The fertilized egg goes through its cell division and corpus luteum, which is left from the follicle that released the egg, produces progesterone at this time, which is preparing the lining of the uterus for implantation.

Once the embryo implants in the uterus this is when the pregnancy hormone HCG is produced. HCG can be detected in the blood about 11 days after conception and about 12-14 days by the urine HCG test. Generally HCG will double every 72 hours.

So let’s make it easy to see – Day 1 is January 1

January 1 – Day of full flow

January 1-7 Menstruation (Menstruation could be 3-5 or 2-7 days long)

January 14-15 Ovulation occurs

January 16- 19 Egg fertilized and is still in fallopian tube but starts it’s trip to the uterus

January 20- 24 Implantation occurs and HCG is starting to be produced

January 26 – HCG can be detected in the blood

January 27- 29 HCG can be detected in the urine

January 28- If not pregnant AF should be starting again around this date.

So this is what a typical 28- Day cycle looks like : we need to verify these dates using the Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK’s) or some women can use their own bodies with symptoms. Some women don’t get symptoms so the kits will help. You really need to track 2-3 months to see your pattern and see if your body repeats this pattern each month.

Our nurses would tell the patients to start the OPK’s on Day 9 to start testing. I read on the box at the store the company wants you to start on Day 5. This may because some women have no idea when they are ovulating and they don’t want you to miss it. If you are not sure start on Day 5 but once you find out that it is after Day 9, start on Day 9, so you are not wasting test strips. It is best to test the same time everyday either morning or afternoon.

The test strip has what is called a control line or reference line. This line is important to see, so you know the test kit is working properly. Take a good look at this line note the color and intensity of the control line. This kit is measuring the hormone LH and this hormone is being produced during this part of your cycle, so you will start seeing a test line appearing, but it has to match up to the control line intensity or darker to be considered POSITIVE. We want to pick up when LH SPIKES, then this tells you will be ovulating in the next 36 hours. I have heard from patients the color blue and purple can be hard to read. It is very important to read it exactly when the instructions tell you…. by reading it after the time the color can change and give you wrong results.

So your fertile window is 5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. Sperm can stay alive in the cervical mucus for 5 days so there is a total of 6 days for your fertile window. So in the cycle I put together the fertile window would be Day 12 – Day 17.

I gave you this example because the numbers were easy to see…Cycles start anytime of the month that is why you have to write these things down on a calendar or on an App and it will help you keep track. Not every month is the same, they can vary slightly.

But definitely see your physician if you are not having your period, sooner than later.

Some women have shorter cycles, lasting only 23 days; some have much longer ones, lasting up to 35 days. If your cycle is shorter or longer this could indicate a hormonal problem, so it might be beneficial to consult your OB-GYN. I found this site that can help you predict your ovulation date for cycles that are not 28-day cycles.

http://ovulationcalculation.net/ This might be able to guide you if you know how many days in your cycle.

If you are not having a period each month or have missed your period for a long time, you need to go to your OBGYN. They will be able to test your hormones and see what’s going on. You can’t get pregnant without your period.

Don’t be confused with the pregnancy test kit, we only produce the hormone HCG when we are pregnant, so if you get a faint line on a pregnancy test then you are most likely just pregnant and you should call your doctor to do a blood test.

 

 

Dr Sher answers a question on Human Growth Hormone for Fertility…..

Hi Dr Sher, A question from my group..What are you thought on HGH for fertility?Reply:
A woman’s reproductive potential is very much influenced affected by her “biological clock” which comprises two components:
1. Age: Advancing age is inevitably accompanied by a progressive reduction in the number of eggs in the ovaries (“ovarian reserve”). As a diminution in ovarian reserve (DOR) ultimately passes a theoretical “threshold” the woman becomes progressively more resistant to stimulation with fertility drugs. This is accompanied by a fall in blood AMH levels and a rise in basal blood FSH. After several years of progressive DOR, the ovarian reserve is ultimately depleted, and ovulation as well as cyclical menstruation ceases (menopause).
2. “Egg Competency” The second component of the biological clock is an inevitable age-related decline in egg competency (the ability of an egg, upon fertilization, to propagate a healthy embryo) . The most important manifestation of this age-related occurrence is an inevitable and rapid increase in the percentage of eggs that have numerical chromosome irregularities (aneuploidy). By way of example, at age 30Y, about one out of every two human eggs will be aneuploid while at 45Y more than nine out of ten are so afflicted. Aneuploid eggs cannot propagate healthy babies. Most will not even fertilize and those that do, will usually be lost as early miscarriages or go on to produce a birth defect such as Down syndrome.
It is important to understand is that e the two components of the biological clock (i.e. ovarian reserve and age) represent variables which while they are often interrelated and inter-dependent can often exist independently. By way of example, some older women in their mid-forties have excellent ovarian reserve while some young women in their thirties have DOR. Yet while they produce fewer eggs, the potential competency of the eggs they produce is largely tied to their age. However, the ovarian hormonal environment brought about by DOR and the protocol used for ovarian stimulation, is readily affected by the protocol used for ovarian stimulation. Selection of the wrong stimulation protocol can adversely influence egg competency. Conversely, an individualized and optimal protocol for ovarian stimulation by favorably regulating the ovarian hormonal environment, can improve the potential for optimal follicle and egg development thereby minimizing the risk of egg aneuploidy. The problem is that it becomes progressively more difficult to optimally regulate the intra-ovarian hormonal environment in older women, and in those with DOR, and it is here that the use of human growth hormone can play a valuable role.
Several researchers have shown that the administration of human growth hormone (HGH), as an adjunct to ovarian stimulation, enhances follicle response in older women and those with DOR and so can help optimize egg quality. It is thought that HGH hormone by increasing the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), improves follicle development, estrogen hormone production and egg maturation. Two basic mechanisms have been proposed: 1) improving the response to gonadotropin therapy by up-regulating the FSH receptors on the granulosa cells that form the inner lining of follicles and, 2) through a direct enhancing effect of HGH on the egg’s mitochondrial activity. While human eggs do have HGH receptors, those retrieved from older women show decreased expression of such receptors (as well as a reduction in the number of functional mitochondria) as compared with those derived from younger women. In fact, it has recently been shown that older women treated with HGH showed a marked increase in functional mitochondria in their eggs along with improved egg quality.
My own experience in selectively prescribing HGH as an adjuvant to women with DOR, older women and those with unexplained egg quality deficits, is that if used in combination with individualized protocols of ovarian stimulation it does indeed enhance egg quality and ovarian response, culminating in improved IVF outcome.
I hope this helps!

Author Event: Infertility and Yoga !

spermtales6final copy   Infertility and Yoga !

Merrimac Public Library , Merrimac Ma.

Thursday , June 23, 2016 7 pm- 8 pm

86 W. Main St. , Merrimac, MA

Lynn Collins will be teaming up with Paula Wilson, Registered Yoga Instructor

Lynn will read from her book Sperm tales – An Informative guide through the challenges of Infertility. The CDC says 1 in 8 couples are infertile. Lynn will read selections from her book and be on hand to answer questions and sign copies of the book.

Paula Wilson has been a Registered Yoga Teacher since 2004 and has taught Yoga to people of all ages and abilities, including adults, seniors, children, pregnant women and even special needs students

Paula struggled with infertility for 5 years before having 2 beautiful children.  She feels Yoga helped her on her long journey to having children.  She taught and practiced throughout both of her pregnancies,  which helped with stress, anxiety,  and even labor and delivery. Yoga also kept her flexible and in great shape as well.
For free classes:
Anyone who attends the event can take 1st Yoga class free at the Merrimac library with Paula Wilson, Registered Yoga Teacher from May – August and the can enter a raffle to win 3 additional FREE Yoga classes with her (to be used by 12/31/16). Please visit her website at www.Harmonyyoga.info for details on her classes.

There will also be a free drawing for a copy of Sperm Tales. With each signed book you will receive a tip sheet “10 Fertility Tips: How to make pregnancy possible ”

There will be light refreshments served……Hope to see you there

Avocado Diet “triples chance of success” with IVF

Avocado diet ‘triples chance of success’ for couples undergoing IVF

 

The study says Mediterranean foods like avocado can enhance fertility

The study says Mediterranean foods like avocado can enhance fertility

Eating avocados and dressing salads with olive oil could help women trying to have a baby through IVF, researchers claim.

Foods typically eaten as part of the Mediterranean diet may triple the chances of success for women having the fertility treatment.

A study found monounsaturated fat – found in olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds – was better than any other kind of dietary fat for would-be mothers. Those who ate the highest amounts were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF than those who ate the lowest amounts.

In contrast, women who ate mostly saturated fat, found in butter and red meat, produced fewer good eggs for use in fertility treatment.

US experts behind the study believe monounsaturated fats – which are already known to protect the heart – could improve fertility by lowering inflammation in the body.

The study was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Istanbul.

It was carried out at Harvard School of Public Health, funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

The study took place among 147 women having IVF at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.

Their intake of different dietary fats was recorded and the outcome of fertility treatment compared between the highest and lowest third of intake in each category.

Women eating the highest levels of all types of fat had fewer good eggs available for use in treatment.

Prof Chavarro said the link was driven by saturated fat intake, while high levels of polyunsaturated fat consumption produced poorer quality embryos.

Higher intakes of monounsaturated fat were linked to a 3.4 times higher live birth rate than those with the lowest intake.

For those eating least, monounsaturated fat made up nine per cent of calories in their diet while it comprised a quarter for those eating the most.

Prof Chavarro said ‘Different types of fat are known to have different effects on biological processes which may influence the outcome of assisted reproduction – such as underlying levels of inflammation or insulin sensitivity.

‘However, it is not clear at this moment which biological mechanisms underlie the associations we found.’

He said fish remained a source of ‘good’ omega 3 fatty acids, although the study was not able to pin down its contribution.

 

 

Book Launch and Infertility Talk Sunday December 13, 2015

 

Lynn and Jen straight on

Please join Author Lynn M. Collins and Fertility Coach Jennifer Schafer for a book launch and insight discussion about infertility struggles, alternative fertility methods and the path to becoming a parent on Sunday, December 13, 2015.

What: Book Launch and Infertility Talk

When: December 13, 2015

Where : 32 West St. Beverly Farms Ma.

Time: 1 pm

Other: Books and gift certificates will be available for purchase

Please pass on the good news of the Infertility Talk !  thanks Lynn