The Internet is full of great advice on how to improve your chances of getting pregnant, and how to maintain good health during pregnancy. But, it’s also important to know what’s going on inside your body when planning a pregnancy, and that insight can only be gained from specific measurements. Read on for more information and details of home pregnancy test kits and other fertility aids.
Whilst pregnancy planning isn’t an exact science, there are a few tests, kits and apps that can help you get to know your body better, so you can make informed decisions and changes if required.
Here’s a look at the tools you can use at home to help with your pregnancy planning:
It isn’t possible to get pregnant outside of your fertile days, which normally only last for 2-3 days per month. With such a small window, it helps to know when these days are. Whether you track your cycle and period dates on a calendar or use an app. It’s important to know when you are at your most fertile each month.
Digital apps like Clue, for example, can provide a great deal more information than when your period or ovulation days are due to happen. These trackers can also help you to understand why you feel how you feel at each stage of your cycle.
By recording the state of your mood, energy levels, skin condition, cramps, headaches and libido, a cycle tracker app can build a detailed picture of your reproductive health, as well as advising you on the best days to have sex if you are planning a family.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs) can lead to infertility or problems during pregnancy if not treated, so it’s always best to check your sexual health when planning pregnancy. If you are too embarrassed to go to a GUM clinic or your GP, these tests can easily be carried out at home.
From chlamydia and gonorrhoea to syphilis and HIV, a STD home test can quickly give results, and let you know if you need to see a doctor for treatment.
If you are struggling to conceive, you should find out if you or your partner have fertility issues.
The male fertility test checks sperm count, which can be easily carried out at home (this is often preferred as the man is required to masturbate to produce a sample).
The female fertility test measures the FSH hormone from a urine sample. The lower the FSH levels the better, as this hormone is increased in older women or women with irregular periods, which can sometimes be a sign of infertility.
When planning a pregnancy, it’s important to know your blood group for several reasons.
Your blood group can tell you if you are more likely to have trouble conceiving, according to research carried out by Yale University. They found that women with blood type O are more likely to struggle to conceive due to a lower egg count, while women with blood group A are more fertile.
Women with RhD negative blood will be offered an anti-D immunoglobulin injection in pregnancy to prevent the baby being affected by rhesus disease, which can lead to jaundice, anaemia or brain damage in the baby. This only happens if the baby has RhD positive blood, which enters the mother’s bloodstream during pregnancy.
It’s easy to find out your blood and that of your partners at home with a simple finger-prick testing kit. Read more here: Blood Group Test ABO and Rhesus D.
Calendars and trackers will give you a good idea of when you may be ovulating, as do your bodily changes throughout the month, such as your basal temperature and cervical mucus. But, if you want a definitive answer on whether you are ovulating or not, you’ll need to do an ovulation prediction test.
The ovulation kits are easy to use at home and affordable. They detect the LH surge (luteinizing hormone) in your body, which happens between 24 and 48 hours before ovulation. This is the most reliable way to know when to have intercourse for pregnancy.
These ovulation kits include sticks, strips and thermometers to help you know your fertile days: At-home ovulation kits.
Perhaps the most well-known of all home health testing kits is the pregnancy test: the one that will tell you if you are pregnant or not.
The pregnancy test looks for the HCG hormone in your urine sample. This hormone is only present after the embryo attaches to the uterine lining, which is why it shows if you are pregnant. The longer you are pregnant, the higher the levels of HCG, which is why many people wait until a few days after their missed period to check.
However, first response tests can now detect HCG as early as one day after your missed period with 99% accuracy, and early detection kits can even be used 6 days before your period is due. These tests are the same used by doctors.
Here are a few approved pregnancy tests to use at home: Pregnancy Tests.
With these home tests, kits and apps at your disposal, you’ll have all the information you need to plan your pregnancy with confidence. Good luck!