Written by: Amy Beckley, PhD, founder and CEO of Proov. Proov is a proactive platform of fertility diagnostics and support to help you increase your chances of getting pregnant.
So, you’re thinking about having a baby, maybe now or maybe in the future. Whatever your fertility goals are, there are plenty of steps you can take to help you reach them.
Before you start trying, it can be helpful to talk to your doctor about steps you can take to increase your chances. But, at Proov we know talking to your doctor about getting pregnant can be intimidating.
Here are 4 questions you can take with you to your appointment to ensure you get the best information out of the time you have.
- Is there anything in my medical history that could make it more difficult to get pregnant?
If there’s one thing we know about women it’s that every single one is unique; that means your medical history is unique as well. And sometimes there can be factors of your medical history that may impact your ability to get pregnant.
Maybe you have a known PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or endometriosis diagnosis? Or maybe you have other genetic conditions that can impact your ability to conceive.
If there’s anything in your history that raises concern, we always recommend bringing this up with your doctor. Additionally, ask your doctor if they see anything that causes concern, whether that be from your history or other fertility tests (more on this later!).
- Does my ovarian reserve look normal for my age?
Ovarian reserve refers to the amount of eggs left in your ovaries at any given time. Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, and this amount slowly decreases over time as we cycle and ovulate throughout life.
Typically, ovarian reserve is considered “diminished” around 35-40 years old, which is when a woman’s natural fertility hits a decline. But some women may experience low ovarian reserve earlier than 35.
Getting a sense of what your ovarian reserve looks like for your age can help you better understand your reproductive timeline, i.e. how much time you have left to get pregnant before your fertility declines.
Your doctor may be able to run tests to assess your ovarian reserve, but for quick answers in the comfort of home, we recommend the Proov Reserve test. Reserve measures follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), the hormone that stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs each cycle.
When your ovaries have many eggs left, they only need a small amount of FSH to stimulate them to recruit an egg. But as your ovarian reserve decreases, more FSH is required to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs each cycle. This is why elevated FSH levels are correlated with a lower ovarian reserve.
Bonus if you have your Reserve test results to bring to your doctor’s appointment – this can help streamline the conversation and get you to treatment (if needed) faster!
- Are my hormone levels in range to support getting pregnant?
Did you know your cycle hormone balance can impact your chances of getting pregnant? In fact, having a healthy cycle and hormone balance can be a critical piece of the pregnancy puzzle.
Here’s a quick overview of your cycle: After your period starts, FSH levels increase slightly to stimulate the ovary to produce eggs. As these eggs grow and one becomes dominant (meaning it’s the one that will release during ovulation), they produce estrogen.
Once estrogen levels are high enough, this signals to the brain that it’s time for ovulation. The brain then releases a surge of luteinizing hormone (or LH) to trigger ovulation.
After ovulation occurs, the ovaries produce progesterone, the hormone that prepares the uterus for pregnancy and makes it “sticky” enough so that an embryo can actually implant.
There are optimal levels for all of these hormones throughout your cycle and your doctor can run tests to understand whether or not your hormones are balanced.
That said, we always believe more information is better, which is why we recommend coming to your doctor’s appointment with data on your hormone levels from an at-home test like Proov Complete.
Complete measures all 4 cycle hormones or hormone markers – FSH, E1G (estrogen marker), LH, and PdG (progesterone marker) – across your entire cycle to provide insight into many factors that can impact your chances of getting pregnant:
- FSH: Insight into ovarian reserve
- E1G: Identifies the full fertile window, i.e. more days to “try”
- LH: Identifies peak fertility or your 2 most fertile days
- PdG: Confirm successful ovulation during the implantation window
Plus, at the end of each Complete cycle, the free Proov Insight app provides you with your unique Ovulation Score (a numeric representation of how successful your ovulation was that cycle) and a downloadable PDF hormone report. Both of these things are great to bring to your doctor to help guide your conversation and help you both determine the best next steps together.
- What else should I consider when trying to get pregnant?
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about other things to prioritize when getting pregnant. Here are a few things you should consider before or during trying:
Do you have other questions about fertility testing or getting pregnant? Proov is here to help! Feel free to find us at proovtest.com or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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