Here you are, a fresh new member of a fertility group online. You scroll through the most recent posts and confusion hits you. It is like deciphering your mom’s first text messages all over again, AF, BD, 2WW, CM.. what on earth? Let me help you out girl, here is your guide to reading the secret fertility sisterhood language. Let me know in the comments if there are any missing so we can make this list complete together. Oh, and don’t forget to download the cheat sheet at the bottom of this post to your phone so you can be all like “Despite my PCOS, I have a good feeling about my BBT’s now that I’m 8DPO. DH and I can’t wait to get have this 2WW end and get that BFP!”.
This post just covers the abbreviations, if you are looking for non-abbreviated fertility community jargon, check out this post.
AF – aunt flow, aka your period. A healthy period is about 4 days, bright red, no clotting, no pain, no spotting before, no more than 1 day spotting after. If your period is different, this is an indication of hormone imbalance.
BBT – Basal Body Temperature. This is your temperature in rest, so when you first wake up in the morning. Your BBT is an important fertility sign that can help you identify if you’ve ovulated yet or not. Read which thermometer I think is the best or sign up to the free e-course on charting where a whole lesson is dedicated to taking your temperature.
BD – baby dancing, or making love with the goal of conceiving, best planned in your fertile window.
BFN – big fat negative. This refers to a negative pregnancy test.
BFP – big fat positive. This refers to a positive pregnancy test.
CD – cycle day. The first day of your cycle is the first day of your period. The standard amount of cycle days per cycle is 28 but it is very common to have longer or shorter cycles and it can also vary per cycle.
CL – cover line. This is the line above which in charting you need 3 temperatures to (this is the short version!). Apps like Kindara and Fertility Friend calculate these automatically. If you chart with pen and paper there are rules to calculate where to craw the cover line.
CM – cervical mucus. This is the mucus that covers the cervix (at the top of the vagina, closes off the womb). It is an important fertility sign what quality the cervical mucus is at any given time in your cycle. Under the influence of estrogen it goes from dry, to sticky, to creamy to raw egg white looking. Read all about cervical mucus.
D&C – dilation and curettage. This is the surgery to remove an incomplete miscarriage or a missed abortion (see further down). homeopathic remedies can help to do this naturally and avoid surgery. it is always worth trying before a scheduled surgery.
DH – dear husband. There are also other similar ones like MIL/FIL/SIL (mother, father, sister in law), DD (dear daughter), DS (dear son).
DPO – days past ovulation. If someone says they are 8DPO that means they are 8 days past ovulation. At 10DPO there is a good chance you will have a positive if pregnant, but your chance is much bigger at 14DPO.
EWCM – this is eggwhite cervical mucus. It is often considered the holy grail of CM because it is the most fertile cervical mucus. It nourishes sperm and helps it travel up to the egg. Read all about cervical mucus.
FAM – fertility awareness method(s). By tracking fertile signs such as cervical mucus, temperature and ovulation tests, you can determine when you are ovulating and when you fertile window opens so you can make the most of it when trying to conceive or wanting to avoid falling pregnant.
FF – Fertility Friend. this is a fertility charting app. Kindara is also a great one but there are a lot more out there such as natural cycles and Ovia.
FSH – Follicle Stimulating Hormone. It is the hormone women produce to stimulate the ovaries to mature the eggs. If you ovulate later in your cycle, FSH may be low and I tend to treat the anterior pituitary gland or the adrenal glands for patients that have this.
HCG – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This hormone is released when you are pregnant. If the hormone is high enough, you can pick it up on a pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy.
IVF – in vitro fertilization. This is when an egg is retrieved from a woman and sperm from a man. From the sperm 1 is selected and injected into the egg. The fertilized egg is left in a petridish for a few days for it to develop and then placed into a woman’s womb.
IUI – intra-uterine insemination. Sperm is injected directly into a woman’s womb right before ovulation to increase chances of falling pregnant.
LH – luteinising hormone, this is the hormone that triggers ovulation. It can be piked up on with ovulation tests and when these are positive it tells you ovulation will likely happen within the next 12-24 hours. This is the best time to make love when trying to conceive. The free charting e-course dedicates an entire lesson to ovulation testing. You can also read in this post how to use the cheaper option of LH strips.
LP – luteal phase. It is the period from ovulation till the net period. The standard length of the LP is 14 days but it can vary per woman. If it varies per cycle this may be an indication of progesterone imbalance. Women with LP’s of 10 days or less can have difficulty staying pregnant because their flow starts before a fertilized egg has the chance to implant. Patients with shorter LP’s than 13 of with varying LP’s I will always treat for hormone imbalance.
M/C – miscarriage. There can be a lot of reasons for miscarriages and it is not uncommon although every loss causes a lot of grief. If this is a recurring problem I recommend not to get early scans even when these are offered especially to women with recurring miscarriages (read why here). The cause of recurring miscarriages can vary including hormone imbalance (especially low progesterone), underlying inflammations, metal or drugs toxicity, and more.
OPK – ovulation prediction kit. This is the same as ovulation tests or LH tests. It predicts when you will be ovulating. When the test is positive, ovulation will likely happen in the next 12-24 hours. This is the best time to make love when trying to conceive. The free charting session dedicates an entire lesson to ovulation testing. The free charting e-course dedicates an entire lesson to ovulation testing. You can also read in this post how to use the cheaper option of LH strips.
PCOS – Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. Under the influence of hormones, follicles (maturing eggs) in the ovaries start to develop to be released. When 1 egg is released, the rest stops to develop. Women with PCOS seem to have the ovaries stimulated but ovulation does not happen and so the follicles keep being stimulated to mature. As a result they become cysts instead. This happens often after the use of fertility drugs such as Clomid which can overstimulate the ovaries. In treating women with PCOS I tend to aim treatment at getting the women to ovulate again to get the natural process moving along again.
TSH – thyroid stimulation hormone. A healthy thyroid is important when trying to conceive. Patients with a sluggish thyroid or hypothyroidism I treat homeopathically too. An underfunctioning thyroid can be tested for, but it can also be picked up on in fertility charts when temperatures fall out of range. This often comes up with patients during charting sessions as their thyroid is sluggish enough to cause infertility, symptoms and poor temperatures, but it is not bad enough to be picked up on in blood tests.
TTC – trying to conceive. Fertility communities are also often referred to as TTC communities.
2WW – 2 week wait. This is after ovulation and after you’ve tried to make a baby. This is when you’re waiting to start testing if you’re pregnant. It isn’t always 2 weeks, you can start testing after 8 days past ovulation already but chances are a lot slimmer then that you will get a positive while still pregnant. Your odds are much better at 10 days and close to 100% at 14 days.
Don’t forget to share in the comments if you are missing any abbreviations and to download the cheat sheet to your phone!