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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister is TTC. She's been at it for a few months, not very long. Several of her friends recommended Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I read the book but loaned it out because I didn't need it.
: I remember that the author advises a two-part self-exam each day: a temperature reading and a cervical mucus check. My sister is doing the temp reading and is using an over the counter ovulation prediction kit, but thinks the mucus check is gross and isn't doing it.

So she's getting mixed messages about her ovulation. She went to an OB-GYN to get clarification. The doc said a bunch of opaque things that freaked my sis out, including suggesting that her partially blocked kidney might be causing problems. She also said "normal ovulation happens around day 14!" which I think is a load of hooey, isn't it? The OB is sending my sister for some diagnostic tests.

My friends who are struggling with infertility say that their infertility doc doesn't like TCOYF because he thinks most women can't read the signs usefully. (I think his sample might be skewed! Isn't it true that women with PCOS can't usefully use the charts?)

My questions:

1. Can my sister get useful info from just her temps and the OPK? I thought the mucus was important to get an accurate reading?

2. If your doc thinks that only day 14 ovulation is normal, is that a bad thing about the doc? Are you going to get bad info and a way off EDD if you do get pregnant? What should my sis expect from an OB around this stuff? i saw a CNM for pregnancy stuff so I don't know.

3. Any advice for my sister about TTC? I really don't know much about it!

4. What would you do, if you had PCOS, to predict ovulation?
 

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She would get a more accurate reading if she's checking her cervical fluid- but if she's really on top of taking her temps and is sticking to all the 'rules' outlined in TCOYF, she should be okay. If she's serious about TTC though, she's setting herself back by not checking CF along with temps. Does she know this?

Docs rarely know anything useful about charting... if she has questions about it, Planned Parenthood is often a good place to call.
 

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Hi! I've only just gotten the book and started charting, so I'm no expert! But, I have been reading this stuff over and over very recently, so I'll share what I've learned!

The idea that ovulation takes place on day 14 is just wrong. I knew that before I ever picked up the book. My fp told me that ovulation takes place about 14 days prior to the start of your period. So if your cycle is 34 days long, you actually ovulated on day 20. It turns out she was about right. The luteal phase (from ovulation to mentruation) is very consistent and lasts from 12-16 days. Some women have a 12 day luteal, others a 16. For each woman, however, the luteal phase doesn't vary by more than a day. Temperature charting alone should help you determine your luteal phase.

If you are only using temp alone, however, you are estimating your fertile phase based on averages and your past history. This would never have worked for me because my cycles vary quite a bit from month to month. By charting cervical fluid, you know when ovulation is iminent in THIS cycle. Then, the temperature tells you whether you are still fertile or have ovulated.

I don't know anything about how PCOS affects things, except that you need to get other help, FAM alone won't do it (although it does help diagnose PCOS). But I would think FAM would be a good tool to use. It would help you see whether the medications were helping you ovulate normally or not, and help you time intercourse once you do ovulate.

That OB sounds like he has a typical god complex. Women aren't smart enough to chart their own bodily funcitons???


As for the "gross" factor of checking cervical fluid, you might want to mention to your sister that if she has a problem doing that, how is she going to handle childbirth and cleaning up after a poopy/sick child? Have her think of it as training for the end result!

Melissa
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by captain optimism
My sister is doing the temp reading and is using an over the counter ovulation prediction kit, but thinks the mucus check is gross and isn't doing it.
It would help, but it isn't wholly necessary. As for gross...well, what goes in has to come out, and she might as well get up close and personal with her cervix now! :LOL

Quote:
So she's getting mixed messages about her ovulation. She went to an OB-GYN to get clarification. The doc said a bunch of opaque things that freaked my sis out, including suggesting that her partially blocked kidney might be causing problems. She also said "normal ovulation happens around day 14!" which I think is a load of hooey, isn't it? The OB is sending my sister for some diagnostic tests.
TOTAL LOAD OF CRAP!
: Ovulation happens when the follicle is mature - not when someone hits some arbitrary day in their cycle. That may be cd 12 that may be cd 18, that may be cd 21. Granted, if cycles get too long then something is up, and they should be within a certain time frame- but my Reproductive Endocrinologist told me that under 45 is "normal".

I don't know WHY they would be sending a whole load of tests....is there anything that has obviously presented itself as a concern?

Quote:
My friends who are struggling with infertility say that their infertility doc doesn't like TCOYF because he thinks most women can't read the signs usefully. (I think his sample might be skewed! Isn't it true that women with PCOS can't usefully use the charts?)
This for me is the mark of a good doctor. If the doc doesn't trust me to knowmy own signs and to know about my own body, then I am out the door. My doc has a link to my chart online, and refers to it a lot. As smart a doc as they might be, well, I have known my body for a lot longer than they have. I have PCOS and I used charting for a long time, prior to knowing I had PCOS. I think that if you have PCOS, treating it will make it easier to chart - as untreated PCOS means that you end up with enormously long cycles....
. And chartingfor over 100 days doesn't tell you anything other than you have a really long cycle. :LOL

Quote:
My questions:

1. Can my sister get useful info from just her temps and the OPK? I thought the mucus was important to get an accurate reading?
You can. The mucus and cervical position is helpful at first to get a handle on what is actually going on. But OPKs will do jsut fine in conjunction with temping. OPKs should be used in the afternoon (not first morning pee!!) and should be used about the same time every day.

Quote:
2. If your doc thinks that only day 14 ovulation is normal, is that a bad thing about the doc? Are you going to get bad info and a way off EDD if you do get pregnant? What should my sis expect from an OB around this stuff? i saw a CNM for pregnancy stuff so I don't know.
This is where keeping track of your own cycles will help a lot. I said above that a doc who thinks you only ovulate on cd 14 is not as well informed as I want someone who is my doc tto be (nice way of saying "moron":LOL) If the doc insists on cd 14 O - then yes EDD will be off. If your sis insists on seeing a doc - she should be seeing an RE - not an OB. OBs deal more with what happens AFTER you get knocked up, less with the knocking up. As a result they can be wonderful doctors for prenatal care, and complete dummies about what happens before that.

Quote:
3. Any advice for my sister about TTC? I really don't know much about it!
Track her cycles. If she has any medical conditions, make sure they are under control. If she gets to a year of trying, head to the RE. Better to find out early what is wrong, than have to wait a really long time. Lots of sex!!!! Not only well timed, but frequent sex is good! The more sperm are up there - the more chances for fertilization. As long as hubby has no problems...then thereis no reason why once a dayor more is bad.

(is your sis also orthodox? wondering about all the nidda stuff...and how she observes that.)

Quote:
4. What would you do, if you had PCOS, to predict ovulation?
Is it treated PCOS? Is she on metformin? Is she ovulating regularly? If it isn't treated, she can do something by losing some weight, watching her diet, etc. But overall, women with PCOS have better results when they are adequately treated. (I was just diagnosed with PCOS ealier this week) As for predicting ovulation...well, I am unsure how to help you on that...sinceI have yet to ovulate.:LOL If she is cycling regularly, then OPKs and temping will be her best bet. Checking cervical fluid will also help.

Hope some of that helped!
 

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Adina's spot on


1. Your sister doesn't *need* to check her mucus, but it is helpful. If she's niddah observant, wouldn't she already be used to checking for spotting? This is basically like that. She can also just observe the mucus on her panties, or on the toliet paper after she pees.

2. Ditto what Adina said about the Dr.

3. Personally, I'd recommend she read "The Infertility Cure" by Randine Lewis (even if she's not infertile, which she isn't, it's a great book on Chinese medicine and how it applies to TTC. Even if she doesn't feel comfortable with needles, the book is a good resource about things that might help *her* particular case.) I also recommend Osteopathy treatment.

4. Ditto what Adina said


HTH!
 

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First off, does your sis know that she can do external mucous checks? That may be more appealing... The mucous is important b/c it predicts ovulation. The temp tells when ovulation has occured. An OPK is NOT sufficient for usuing NFP to avoid, b/c it doesn't give you enough advance warning...but TTC, I think it would be ok, though mucous obs. would be better.

As for your second question, ditto Adina, plus: OB-GYNs are often in the infertility business, & it sounds like s/he may be trying to profit from this angle.

No experience w/your other 2 questions...
 

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Internal checks are not totally necessary if that is what she considers "gross". Otherwise, just noticing external mucus is gonna happen regardless if she pays any attention at all when wiping... she might as well chart it! And if she is TTC and notices eggwhite CM, then she should be using that day to her advantage... and NO ovulating on CD 14 is not a necessity. I routinely ovulate later than that... somewhere around CD21 and if I had a doc that insisted that I ovulated on CD 14 I would give him the boot...
take care
 

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I would like to add that relying on the OPK's can potentially give you a little trouble because the cervical fluid is a huge part of determining how fertile you are. If your CF is the wrong consistency or is gone, getting pregnant will be more difficult. Most women have the best quality CF right when an OPK would read positive, so the OPK's work fine. But sometimes the CF dries up right before the OPK reads positive... so you're no longer fertile even though the test says you are... you should have had intercourse a day or two before. Does that make sense?

And yes it's easy to check. She'll notice the CM on her underwear or on her toilet paper... if she can handle wiping she can handle just looking at it to see what the consistency is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you so much for your helpful responses!

Adina (did I ever tell you I have a close IRL friend with that name?) I don't i.d. as Orthodox, though I am religiously observant. I don't observe the laws of niddah. (I considered doing it but my dh was not amenable.) My sister is not religious at all. Her first marriage was in Israel to an Israeli and she was horrified at the level of government intrusion into her sex life. (In israel you have to get certified that you have had "kallah classes"--instruction in the laws of niddah--and that you have been to the mikvah--ritual bath--before your wedding. My sister hated that.)

So no, nobody is doing post-menstrual checks or clean days or anything like that.

What is an "fp", honeybee? that was a really great piece of information about the cycles, I never understood that! I know that I have a greater fear of math and counting than of touching my cervix! I don't know whether my sister is the same way.

Also to clarify--I muddied up my narrative! I have a friend with PCOS and legit infertility issues, and a sister who might not have anything except a dumb OB-GYN. My friend's doc was anti-TCOYF, but apparently she finds him intelligent and kind. My sister's doc was completely and totally clueless.
 

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I didn't remember if you id'ed as Orthodox or not...sorry for the goof.
No offense meant!


I would have balked at the government intrusion into my sex life too.
Goodness.

Sounds like your sis needs to try on her own and chart for a bit - even without internal checks, before she talks too her OB-GYN again. How long has she been trying? I would say that if her cycles are regular and her hubby's sperm is all a-ok...then she should keep at it for a couple months and just try to time it really well.

When she has a positive OPK she should feel a bunch more slippery when she wipes, and she will likely feel more "amorous". :LOL Aim for that good slippery egg white type cervical fluid (which she will notice even externally) and have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by AdinaL
I didn't remember if you id'ed as Orthodox or not...sorry for the goof.
No offense meant!


I would have balked at the government intrusion into my sex life too.
Goodness.

Sounds like your sis needs to try on her own and chart for a bit - even without internal checks, before she talks too her OB-GYN again. How long has she been trying? I would say that if her cycles are regular and her hubby's sperm is all a-ok...then she should keep at it for a couple months and just try to time it really well.

When she has a positive OPK she should feel a bunch more slippery when she wipes, and she will likely feel more "amorous". :LOL Aim for that good slippery egg white type cervical fluid (which she will notice even externally) and have fun.

I'm not offended, a lot of cool chicks around here are Ortho, ya know.


My sister hasn't been trying for long AT ALL, not even 6 months I'm pretty sure. I think my mom is exerting her typical unsubtle pressure on her and making her feel like it's taking a long time. It doesn't help that I got pregnant pretty nearly instantly! My understanding is that it often takes folks awhile to get pregnant, even when there is no particular reason why they shouldn't. I wish my mom would chill or at least, stop talking to my sister on the phone or something.
 

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Yeah - timing is tricky and it can take a few months, even when you are watching closely.

Remind your sister that you only have a 20% chance each month of conceiving - and that is if EVERYTHING is perfect. So it can take a bit. Not what she wanted to hear - but it might make her feel better that there is likely nothing wrong, just bad timing.
 

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'Fp' is family practitioner. I swear my fp knows more than a lot of people's OBs, and they're supposed to be the specialists!

We tried for a year and a half the first time around, and I was getting worried that we had fertility problems. But, the 'problem' was really just that I did not know enough about my cycle, fertile times, etc. I was so frustrated because my cycle was irregular, and I never knew when to try to catch an egg. I wasted so many pg tests! Even after only 1/2 a cycle of charting with TCOYF, I know that we tried at just about the right time. I'd really suggest your sister get the book. Even if she doesn't choose to check cervix fluid, she can still note vag sensation and get a pretty good idea. Plus, it just explains SOOO MUCH!

There is also a lot of info on their website that you can check out for free. It at least debunks some common fertility myths!

http://www.tcoyf.com

Lissa (okay, so I still may have the zeal of a new convert!
)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by captain optimism

1. Can my sister get useful info from just her temps and the OPK? I thought the mucus was important to get an accurate reading?

2. If your doc thinks that only day 14 ovulation is normal, is that a bad thing about the doc? Are you going to get bad info and a way off EDD if you do get pregnant? What should my sis expect from an OB around this stuff? i saw a CNM for pregnancy stuff so I don't know.

3. Any advice for my sister about TTC? I really don't know much about it!

4. What would you do, if you had PCOS, to predict ovulation?
1) I would hope your sister would get over the mucus checks. For some women they are more valuable than temp taking. I also checked my cervix. Mucus checks are not that hard or gross IMO.

2) I think a doctor who believes in the 14 day rule is either OLD or Stupid.

3) To follow all the guidelines in TCOYF, eat right -- especially if she has PCOS, exercise at least 3 days a week, possibly do a diet that diabetics do.

4) I have PCOS. I have gotten pregnant "naturally" dozens of times (I only have three full term pregnancies however). I charted using TCOYF -- when I got pregnant with Jack, now 3, I had lost weight and was walking 2-5miles 4 times a week.
 
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