I need to pee, but what on?

Going to the "family planning" section of the store can be a little overwhelming. You don't want to sacrifice results for a price and you don't want to get your heart broken by false positives

Between the blue dyes, pink dyes, smilies, words, and midstream or cup variations of a "pee stick", it's hard to choose the right one.

What should you look for in a HPT?
It's commonly known that blue dye tests are notorious for false positives. Pink dyes have been known to give good, early, reliable results. Digitals are more expensive and also have been said to have a harder time detecting a pregnancy early on.

Don't just look for the price tag, but don't think you have to buy the most expensive on the market. You can find good reliable tests, yes, even generic, for a price that wont hurt.

You can also choose between midstream tests or the kind where you pee in a cup and dip the test. The more popular is midstream, but you can purchase the dip tests online for quite a good price break. Check Amazon or Early-Pregnancy-Tests.com.

What makes them all different?
As your hCG increases with pregnancy, so do the chances of picking up the hormones on the test strip. Many brands can detect a pregnancy at different points and some are more sensitive than others.

Here's a wonderful chart from Early-Pregnancy-Tests.com

As you can see, the numbers can vary greatly. The higher the number, the harder it is to detect the hormones early on.

FMU, HPT, POAS, PIAC, what does it mean!?
There are many acronyms when it comes to this subject.

FMU= First Morning Urine. It's recommended to use your urine first thing in the morning because it's the most concentrated and will have the highest hormone level.

HPT= Home Pregnancy Test, both midstream and dip tests.

POAS= Pee On A Stick, commonly known as mid-stream tests. These are the ones with the plastic body and tip that is used to catch urine, also comes with a reading window.

PIAC= Pee In A Cup, these tests are for the ovulation tests and home pregnancy tests that you dip into a cup of collected urine. *NOTE you do not dip it in the toilet*

The dip tests are generally cheaper and you can buy in bulk fairly well, both Amazon and Early-Pregnancy-Tests.com will have great options.

Please check the side of this page --->
Note the chart stating the percentage chance of you getting a positive test at a specific number of DPO (Days Past Ovulation). Testing early will increase your chances for a negative, remember to be prepared for it being too early.

What's your favorite brand to pee on? Join our thread Here or comment below!

Mothers [of Angels] Day - Elfster Gift Exchange

Elfster is a secret santa gift exchange. We've done them in the past here on TTCAL, and it becomes a lot of fun. So why not do one for Mothers Day!? If you'd like to join, please follow the directions below.

Here's the details for those new to Elfster:

Sign-up before Friday, April 8th (I'll post multiple reminders in the evening, too).

To sign-up click on the link below and follow the instructions. When you sign up be sure to include somewhere your bump screen name to help your elfster identify you. http://www.elfster.com/exchange/view/5111011/e0677f/

After the sign-up deadline, Elfster will randomly assign you an elfster buddy and notify you via email of their name and a mailing address.

You will be able ask (anonymously) your person any questions that may help in selecting the right gift.

As for the gift - I put a $20 suggested limit on this one but am open if you guys want to change it. I was thinking a card, Hallmark-ish plaque, bookmark, etc... just something that recognizes and honors them as mothers.

And most importantly - remember to get the gift in the mail so it arrives before Mother's Day - May 8th.

We'll set our reveal date for Monday, May 9th!

Time to Mix Up The Meals!

It's Monday, so most people are working on grocery lists, menu's for the week and looking up recipes.

So, lets add a little fun to the week and get creative!

No, I'm not asking you to cook a gourmet meal with 5 courses and be all decked out, just find a good fun way to use an ingredient, be it a lot or a little. Each week, there will be a new ingredient. Every Friday, we'll go over what was created and how it tasted and you can even throw in a picture if you'd like!

So....this weeks ingredient ::drumroll::


There are so many ways to use applesauce, so lets see what you've got. And no, you can't pour it in a bowl and top it with cinnamon ;-)

There are different flavors and makes of this great product, so do some browsing on Google, Recipes.com, allrecipes.com or foodnetwork.com. Either way, you'll be good to go! Desserts are welcome as well! Just remember, get creative!

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome- PCOS

First off. What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which there is an imbalance of a woman's female sex hormones. This hormone imbalance may cause changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, and other problems.

PCOS is one of the most common causes of fertility issues in women, but it's rarely addressed publicly and can be, at times, hard to diagnose. Starting as young as 13 or 14 and ranging up to menopause, PCOS can affect any woman and with a variety of symptoms.

Symptoms of PCOS can be mild, moderate or severe. They can also be a 'coctail' of any that are listed below:

Changes in the menstrual cycle:
Absent periods, usually with a history of having one or more normal menstrual periods during puberty (secondary amenorrhea)
Irregular menstrual periods, which may be more or less frequent, and may range from very light to very heavy

Development of male sex characteristics (virilization):
Decreased breast size
Deepening of the voice
Enlargement of the clitoris
Increased body hair on the chest, abdomen, and face, as well as around the nipples (called hirsutism)
Thinning of the hair on the head, called male-pattern baldness

Other skin changes:
Acne that gets worse
Dark or thick skin markings and creases around the armpits, groin, neck, and breasts due to insulin sensitivity

Some women may only exhibit irregular periods or some women may have irregular periods, increased hair, insulin resistance, elevated testosterone, etc. all at once.

When you sit down with your Dr, OB or Endochronologist, and list out your symptoms, be they many or one, you may be given a round of testing. These tests will determine your insulin, how it's processed, your testosterone, estrogen and thyroid. There are other tests that may be run, but the previous listed are the most common. Other tests may include:
Estrogen levels
FSH levels
LH levels
Lipid levels
Pregnancy test (serum HCG)
Prolactin levels
Vaginal ultrasound to look at the ovaries
Pelvic laparoscopy to look more closely at, and possibly biopsy the ovaries

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment may begin. As varying of the symptoms, so are the treatments. Some may only need a diet and weight modification. Others may need medications as well as diet and exercise adjustments. All will be an effort to balance hormones and increase ovulation regularity.

Medications include:
Birth control pills or progesterone
Metformin or Clomid
LH-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogs

Only you and your doctor can determine what the best course of action is. If you are ever uncomfortable with a diagnosis or treatment, seek a second opinion. Learning from others with the same experience can also be beneficial. There are two fantastic groups called SoulCysters and PCOSSupport that can help connect you with others, give you information and help guide you through this confusing time.

Never be afraid to ask a question or ask for help. PCOS can be confusing and scary at times. Follow directions and try to stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Additional information:
Medical publication- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001408/
WebMD Overview- http://women.webmd.com/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview
Medications- http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Polycystic-Ovary-Syndrome-drugs/2011/03/09/id/370670

"Genes for Pre-Eclampsia Discovered"

BBC Article

Scientists say they have identified genetic errors that appear to increase a pregnant woman's chance of getting the potentially life-threatening condition called pre-eclampsia.

Around four in every 100 women develops this problem of high blood pressure and leaky kidneys during pregnancy.

Now researchers have found faulty DNA may be to blame in some cases, PLoS Medicine journal reports.

The discovery could lead to new ways to spot and treat those at risk, they say.

The US researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis analysed DNA from over 300 pregnant women.

Sixty of these were otherwise healthy women who were hospitalised because they developed severe pre-eclampsia.

The remaining 250 were women who were being monitored for other health complications. Forty of these also went on to develop pre-eclampsia.

DNA analysis revealed a few genetic errors shared by five of the 60 otherwise healthy women and seven of the 40 "higher-risk pregnancy" women who developed pre-eclampsia.

The genes on which the errors were identified (MCP factor I and factor H) play a role in regulating immune response and the researchers believe this could explain their possible link to pre-eclampsia.

Scientists have suspected that problems with the immune system provoke many cases of pre-eclampsia because women with lupus and certain other autoimmune diseases - like 250 of the women in the study - have an increased risk of the disorder.

The researchers now plan to study more pregnant women and other genes to further their understanding.

Professor Basky Thilaganathan, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "This work shows an association.

"At best genes like these might identify 10-15% of pre-eclampsia, so it's relative importance may not be sensational. But it may allow us to study new treatments to prevent or delay the onset of pre-eclampsia and to know which women need closer surveillance."

He said that currently the only real way to halt the condition was to deliver the baby. This can be relatively risk free if the pregnancy is nearing its natural end anyway, but can be risky if the baby is premature.

Infertility- Testing, questions and information

There's a wide range that will "qualify" someone to be considered infertile. For a man, it could be low sperm count, no sperm release, or sperm that are physically incapable of going into the egg on their own. For a women, the list seems to be greater. The range is generally seen as:
You are in your mid-30s or older, have not used birth control for 6 months, and have not been able to become pregnant.
You are in your 20s or early 30s, have not used birth control for a year or more, and have not been able to become pregnant.

How will we be tested?
As a general start-out, both partners are given a general overview. This includes:
Medical History
Physical Exam
Blood and Urine Tests- (LH, prolactin, Progesterone, thyroid, testosterone, and STD's)

There are certain tests specific to each partner that maybe done. Women may be asked to do a postcoital test (checking cervical mucous) and a home LH test. Men may be asked for a semen analysis to check the amount and "capabilities" of his sperm.

Should all the tests not give definite answers a second level of tests could be performed. A general antibody test and karyotyping will be done for both partners. For women a pelvic ultrasound, Hysterosalpingography (HSG), Sonohysterography (SHG), endometrial biopsy and laparoscopy may be performed. For men and ultrasound and/or testicular biopsy may be performed.

It's been studied that for 80% of couples, the cause is either a sperm problem, irregular or no ovulation, or blockage in fallopian tubes. For about 15% of the diagnosed 'infertile' couples, there may be no answers resulting in a diagnosis of unexplained infertility.

The most common causes of infertility have been found to be
Impaired function of sperm
Impaired delivery of sperm
General health and lifestyle
Environmental exposure

Fallopian tube damage or blockage
Ovulation Disorders
Elevated Prolactin
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Early Menopause
Uterine Fibroids
Pelvic Adhesions

There are a variety of treatments can be done to help with any diagnosed explanation of infertility.

For men, the solution may be as simple as medication, increased frequency of intercourse or aid in unblocking tubes allowing adequate semen release.

For women, there is a large list of aids:
Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene)
Human Menopausal Gondrotriphin or hMG (Repronex)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH (Gonal-F, Bravelle)
Human Chorionic Gonadotripin (Ovidrel, Pregnyl)
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone
Aromatse Inhibitors
Metformin (Glucophage)
Bromoctrptine (Parlodel)
Assisted Reproductive Technology (IUI, IVF, ICSI)

As with any medical treatment, there can be complications. With fertility medications, the result may be multiple pregnancy, overstimulated ovaries, bleeding or infection, low birth weight, or birth defects.

As with any medical advice, you should only listen to your doctor. They will know the best test, treatment and level of risk for each procedure or aid you may be prescribed.

Additional links and information:

(overview of tests)http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/tc/infertility-tests-overview

(breakdown of tests)http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/infertility-reproduction-diagnosis-tests

(Understanding Infertility) http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/understanding-infertility-treatment

(infertility ‘causes’) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=causes

(Discussing infertility with a dr) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=preparing-for-your-appointment

(Treatments and drugs) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

(Recent news and updates about infertility) http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news-features

Feel free to join the discussion on The Board if you have any questions or input or put a comment down below!

RPL- Testing and General Information

What is RPL?

RPL means Repeat/Recurrant Pregnancy Loss. Generally when a woman has had two or more losses confirmed by an OB, they are sent for RPL testing. Many doctors have varying views on when a woman should receive RPL testing. Some may say after “x” many weeks, three losses, or even after a certain age and a certain number of losses. Only your doctor will have the correct answer for you and your situation. If you ever question your doctors decision, it is best to seek a second, professional, opinion.
What will they test for?

Genetic testing

Studies have concluded that about half of all first trimester miscarriages are the result of chromosomal abnormalities. These generally occur on a sporadic basis, meaning that they are random occurrences. They are, however, related to the age of the woman and are more likely to occur with advancing maternal age.

Research suggests that after a couple has had 2 or more unexplained miscarriages, there is a 2-5% risk that one member of the couple is a carrier of a balanced chromosome rearrangement. Chromosomal analysis of the products of conception (the miscarried fetal tissue) and of the woman and her partner may provide additional important information that will affect future reproductive decisions and additional testing recommendations.

Hormonal testing

There are several hormonal imbalances that can contribute to miscarriage rates. These can be evaluated with simple blood tests and treated if present. The recommended hormonal testing will depend up on the symptoms experienced, but may include thyroid, prolactin, follicle stimulating hormone, fasting glucose and insulin levels.

Hematologic and Immunologic Testing

Several blood disorders have been implicated in recurrent miscarriages. Women with abnormal blood clotting may be predisposed to early or late miscarriage and women with high risk personal or family histories should be tested. Women with these disorders have a high success rate when properly treated. Testing and treatment of low risk patients continues to be debated among physicians, however even in these cases, the most common abnormalities should be ruled out.

Uterine Abnormalities.

Distortion of the uterine cavity may be found in approximately 10% to 15% of women with recurrent pregnancy losses.

There are some great online resources to finding out how much testing will cost, a breakdown of each area of testing and what they all mean. Once you get tested and talk to your doctor, you can then move forward. Never start your own treatment based on what is found online. Only your doctor will know the best way to treat you and help you achieve a healthy pregnancy.

(RPL information)http://www.stanfordivf.com/recurrent-pregnancy-loss.html

(RPL Overview) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/260495-overview

(Should you ask for Genetic Testing?) https://www.dnadirect.com/web/article/testing-for-genetic-disorders/recurrent-pregnancy-loss/50/who-should-consider-testing

(Information on testing cost and breakdown) http://www.fertilityplus.org/faq/miscarriage/rpl.html

Check back for information on Infertility information and testing information and some of the common factors into fertility difficulties.

Feel free to add any questions or comments in the comments section below or in this thread on TTCAL- RPL Blog Post- Link and Discussion/Questions

What's with all the check-ins?

If you lurk around on TTCAL for a couple days, you'll notice a ton of posts saying there's some sort of check in. They can range from groups of 50 down to a small group of 5 or so.

There are two different kind of check-ins you'll see on the board. One is for larger groups sharing experiences and one is for smaller personal groups who came together rather than doing just "the buddy system".

Women who lost mothers- For any member knowing the difficulties of coping with pregnancy loss or miscarriage without a mother to lean on

Monthly themed group- For the members working toward PgAL and want a new theme each month with badge

Ladies waiting for HCG to drop- For those who know the difficulties of having slowly decreasing betas which may delay your ovulation and start of a fresh cycle

Ladies in waiting- For all those waiting to try again, waiting to ovulate, waiting on testing or start of an IUI or IVF cycle

Mulitple Loss check-in- For any member who has had two losses or more, they are any loss at any point in pregnancy be it a chemical or late loss

There are also groups comprised of smaller numbers who share badges, check-ins, frustrations and give support to each other.

Ten and trying, Rainbow Girls, Naughty Nine, Sweet Mix, 8 Ladies Hoping For Luck, Beyond Appearances and Hope Buddies

Those are most of the one's you'll see pop up. If you'd like to start your own group or ask to join one, don't be afraid. You'll find so many wonderful members looking to support one another.

Please help in

Welcoming our newest admins for the blog!


Thanks for volunteering girls!

TTCALers, if you have any blog related questions, please page them on TTCAL.

Clomid Monitoring thread

As this thread seen on the Bump describes, it is important to be monitored when you take Clomid...


Thanks to those who suggested I post this here.