Understanding a Woman’s Cycle and its Acronyms

Alright, let’s start with the basic terms to better understand the cycle and significant terms during the woman’s cycle. Families who are TTC (trying to conceive) will most likely want to be more in-tune with their cycle. The first day of AF (aunt flow – menstrual period) is CD1 (cycle day 1). A typical cycle lasts anywhere from 21 to 35 days. Ovulation usually occurs between days 11 and 21. LH (luteinizing hormone) surges and triggers the release of an egg. Women might test their LH levels to help pinpoint their exact ovulation date. An LH surge begins about 36 hours before ovulation. Once the egg is released, it will survive for about 24 hours. Following those 24 hours, the fertile window is over. It is known that sperm can survive up to 5 days. With all of this in mind, it is important for the woman to know when they are ovulating and complete the BD (baby dance – sex) before the fertile window is over. Following ovulation, the cycle might be referred to as DPO (days past ovulation). A pregnancy test can be taken 7 to 10 DPO, at the earliest. Typically, women endure a 2WW (2 week wait) before taking a HPT (home pregnancy test). The home pregnancy test will either reveals a BFN (big fat negative) or a BFP (big fat positive).

So many terms! And those are just cycle terms! We haven’t even gotten to the ART terms! ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). IVF (In Vetro Fertilization) is an ART.

Before we more on, here is what MY cycle is like, with all the terms.

K and I are TTC so I am extra aware of my CDs. AF ends CD6 or CD7. K and I make sure to BD each night between CD12-CD16 when my LH surges. 10DPO I usually take a HPT because I am not patient enough for the 2WW. For the last 2 years, my HPT have shown a BFN.

Side note – peeing on ovulation strips (to test for my LH surge) was a hassle after several months. This is where AVA has been a life saver! It monitors my cycle through nightly data collection. To be honest, it is expensive so I would have never bought it myself, but now that I am using it, I cannot recommend it enough. It has alleviated the stress and worry around missing the ovulation days.

Image result for typical menstrual cycle illustration
Here is an image breaking down a typical cycle.