The world of fertility is full of confusing acronyms, science-y words and jargon. Here are a few of the most commonly used terms and acronyms you may come across when TTC (trying to conceive), and what they mean in plain English. If you don’t find the word you’re looking for, please email us. We’ll continue adding to this to help all our Mosie Baby friends on their journeys.
Common Fertility Terms
Basal Body Temperature (BBT): Your BBT is your temperature when you have slept at least 5 hours, and is used to track your fertility cycle to indicate ovulation or pregnancy. BBT will change slightly over the course of each cycle.
Chemical Pregnancy: A chemical pregnancy is an early pregnancy loss that occurs shortly after implantation. If you experience heavy bleeding soon after seeing a positive pregnancy test result– you can assume you’re having an early miscarriage – or a chemical pregnancy.
Cervix: The cervix is the gateway to the uterus from within the vagina. It lets the semen in and eventually lets the baby out. Your cervix is kind of amazing. Each cycle, it undergoes a series of changes that will indicate whether or not you are ovulating, on your period or in between. Tracking these changes can be enormously helpful when trying to conceive (TTC). Take a look at our video on how to find your cervix and track those changes.
Cervical Fluid/Mucus: Cervical fluid, aka cervical mucus, is the stuff that comes out of your vagina day and night when you are not on your period. As your cervix changes throughout your cycle, so does your CM. It can be dry, liquidy, white, yellowish, clear, etc. Monitoring your CM is extremely helpful when TTC.
Cervical OS: This is the opening of the cervix; essentially this refers to the cervical opening between the vagina and the uterus.
Endometrium: This is the lining inside the uterus that sheds and turns into your Aunt Flo, your lovely period. Your body creates this lining in preparation for implantation of an embryo.
Follicular Phase: From the first day of your period through ovulation.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): The hormone that is produced during pregnancy. Home pregnancy tests measure HCG to indicate whether or not you are pregnant.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): A test commonly performed to see if there is a blockage in a woman’s fallopian tubes. Many women seem to find themselves pregnant shortly after an HSG. The test itself is mildly uncomfortable. Dye is injected through the cervix to highlight your fallopian tubes and uterus on an x-ray. You can take an ibuprofen about an hour before to help ease the discomfort.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): When a fertility specialist takes semen from your partner or donor and lends a hand to mother nature by directly placing it in your uterus (bypassing the cervix) through a catheter-like syringe. Please note: this is a procedure that should only be done by a doctor. Normally, your cervix “washes” the semen so that not all of it enters the uterus. It is dangerous to put a full semen sample directly into your uterus, and thus when done in a doctor’s office you can rest assured that they have properly washed the semen sample so only the best swimmers remain.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A procedure where eggs taken from a woman are fertilized by a fertility specialist outside of her body (in a petri dish) with the sperm from a male partner or donor. The fertilized eggs, known as embryos, are then planted by a doctor inside a woman’s uterus. One IVF cycle typically involves multiple procedures and hormone injections, and can take place over a number of months.
Luteal Phase (LP): The LP is the time between ovulation and your period. This comes after the follicular phase.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): This hormone rises before ovulation. Ovulation predictor kits (OPK) measure this hormone to indicate ovulation is approaching.
Menstrual Cycle: This starts the first day your uterus sheds the endometrium, creating the blood that is known as your period, and continues until the first day you start bleeding again. A typical menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, during which ovulation should occur about a week after the period ends or 14 days after the first day of bleeding.
Progesterone: A key hormone involved in the female menstrual cycle and conception process. When an egg is released during ovulation, progesterone is produced by your body to prepare your uterus to welcome a fertilized egg, creating a perfect environment to grow a baby. If fertilization doesn’t occur, then progesterone drops, which signals to your body to shed the endometrium. If fertilization does occur, then progesterone plays a key role in helping maintain a pregnancy.