What Do I Record as Cycle Day 1? (The Difference Between SPOTTING and Your PERIOD)


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Image: www.healthtap.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 

When you’re new to (Charting) it can be a bit confusing sometimes to know exactly WHEN or WHAT to Record on your Fertility Chart as CD (Cycle Day) 1. We used to assume that anytime you had any kind of bleeding, “Well that MUST be the start of our Period!” Yeah, ummmm, no matter how Light, Heavy or even when it happened!

I’m sure you’ve heard this from a friend or family member, “You must just be starting Early,” OR,  “It must be a LATE Period.” Better yet, no matter how Light it was, maybe they also told you – (or maybe you just assumed as so many of us do) that it was just an EXTREMELY LIGHT Period! Well, as time goes on more and more research is done to help expand our minds and give us some clarity!

There are two phases to our Cycle – The Follicular Phase (The time from the first day of our Menstrual Period until Ovulation takes place) and that’s controlled by a Hormone called, “Estrogen.” The next Phase of our cycle is known as The Luteal Phase (The time from Ovulation until either our Period starts or we achieve Pregnancy) and that’s controlled by a Hormone called, “Progesterone,” which is a heat inducing Hormone.

If you happen to take your BBT’s (Basal Body Temperatures) throughout your cycle, Estrogen keeps your temps low during the first Phase prior to Ovulation and Progesterone elevates and sustains our higher temps post Ovulation. Most of the time, (either one or two things will happen) – we will notice that our BBT’s have remained High past 13-16 DPO (Days Past Ovulation) and have possibly achieved Pregnancy! Or, our temps will drop back down which is a good indication that we can expect our Period sometime soon.

Sometimes though we can experience what is known as, “Mid-Cycle Spotting,” on or around Ovulation. That is not uncommon! Usually (if you’re also keeping track of your Cervical Fluid or Cervical Mucus) you may notice a bit of Fluid that resembles raw Egg Whites. If you happen to see a bit of Pink, Red, or even Brown tinged EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus) that is considered to be amongst the most fertile, and is caused Sometimes by a bit of spotting due to the Mature Egg breaking through the Egg Follicle.

At other times, (although it is considered RARE) you may notice a bit of spotting between 7-10 DPO and if you’ve achieved Pregnancy than that can also be known as, “Implantation Spotting,” which OFTEN gets mistaken for a Period! (Now, not ALL spotting is associated with Ovulation and Pregnancy) BUT – it can be considered as a clue, and can therefore give you a bit of insight. To actually peak into your Fertile Window – you may wanna consider taking a OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kit), also to confirm Early Pregnancy I would highly suggest taking a High Sensitivity HPT (Home Pregnancy Test!)

So, how do you differentiate between Spotting and actual Flo? Well, (as some licensed Doctors have put it) if you wipe and only see a bit of Pink, or a few drops of Blood – then that would be considered, “Spotting.”

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Images: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak


Any amount of RED Blood that requires a pad or a tampon would be considered, “Menses or actual Flo.”

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Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak


So essentially, if you need a pad or a tampon than you can officially record that as, “Cycle Day 1.”

Cycle Day 1 (again) is defined as your first day of actual Bright RED or Dark RED Flo that requires a Pad or a Tampon!

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If you’re actively TTC (Trying To Conceive) and you have a higher Temperature above your coverline – (and you notice a bit of spotting) Don’t lose hope just yet! There may be a possibility that it’s simply Implantation Spotting.

If you’re new to Charting, (or tracking your Period) even if you’re NOT actively TTC – Charting is still a great way to pinpoint your Period each cycle and can also indicate whether or not you should possibly Test for Pregnancy.

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Home Pregnancy Test Sensitivities

Pregnancy TEST Sensitivities

Image: www.americanpregnancy.org Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 

At the end of every cycle, (one of two things can happen) either the dreaded AF (Aunt Flo) rears her ugly head or you find you’ve missed your Period!

Some of us Chart our cycles every month by taking our BBT (Basal Body Temperature) using a special kind of Thermometer called a, “Basal Body Thermometer.” They are a bit more sensitive, and can record even the slightest body fluctuations. The next thing would be our CM (Cervical Mucus) which goes through different phases throughout the course of our cycle, as well as our CP (Cervical Position).

During the first Part of our cycle, Estrogen is responsible for gearing our bodies up for Ovulation. Once that happens you’ll notice your CM and CP getting less fertile and Progesterone (which is a heat inducing Hormone) keeps our Temperatures higher and elevated until AF shows up. Progesterone is responsible for the second half of our cycle known as the (Luteal Phase). If your Temperatures remain elevated past your ETD (Estimated Testing Day) or the day you’re expecting your Period – chances are you may be Pregnant! Estrogen is responsible for the first Part of our cycle, (Follicular Phase) so it just makes sense that our Temperature will drop within a day or two of AF.

There are all kinds of different Test Sensitivities, and you’ll find it rather easy deciding which one is right for you depending on how far along you may be in your possible Pregnancy. Usually the first day of your missed Period you can expect a reliable result, although some opt to start testing as Early as 8dpo (Days Past Ovulation). A good rule of thumb is if you KNOW you’re testing Early, you may want to rely on a HIGHLY SENSITIVE TEST that’s at least 25 mlU/ml and if you’re far enough along than usually a 40 or 50 mIU/ml should be sufficient.

Here is a List I’ve put together by Name Brand and Sensitivity!

Tests UNDER 25 mIU/ml:

– First Response Digital Gold 18mIU/ml
– First Response Early Result (Quantative Test that will pick up ANY amount of HCG per the manufacturer)

20 mIU/ml Tests:
– AimStep
– Aim Midstream 
– AimStick OTC PBO
– AimStick OTC/Accu Dip
At Home Pregnancy Test
– D Best One Step
Early Pregnancy Test
Save On Tests
– Simplicity
Tests For Less

25 mIU/ml Tests:
– AccuHome
– Answer
– Answer Quick & Simple
– Clearblue Easy (Digital) 35-50 mIU/ml
– Clearblue Easy Earliest Result
– Confirm 1-Step
– CVS Brand (Midstream)
– E.P.T. ( + or – ) Result Window
– Equate ( l l ) 2 line Result Window
– Equate ( + or – ) Result Window
– Fact Plus (Cassette)
– Fact Plus 1-Step (Cassette)

– First Signal One-Step Pregnancy Test (cassette)
– Health Check
– Health Mark
– Insta Test
– Iverness ( + or – ) Result Window
– Life Sign One Step (Midstream)
– New Choice (Dollar Tree Brand – Cassette)
– Smart Strip HCG (Fertilinet)
– Walgreens Brand (Digital)
– Puralin One Step Pregnancy Test
– One Step Be Sure Pregnancy Test

40 mIU/ml Tests:
– E.P.T ( l l ) 2 Line Result Window
– E.P.T ( + or – ) Result Window
– E.P.T Certainty

50 mIU/ml Tests:
– Clearblue Easy
– CVS Brand (Cassette)
– Early Pregnancy Test
– Iverness II
– Dollar Store Tests
– Target Brand
– Rite Aide Brand
– Drug Emporium Brand

100 mIU/ml Tests:
– Fact Plus Pro (Cassette)
– Walgreens Brand (Midstream)

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How To TEST with a OPK Test Strip

How To Test with a OPK

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So you’ve decided to start using OPK’s to help you determine when your BEST chance at Conception is? That’s great! You’re now on your way to maximizing your chances of successfully getting Pregnant. If you haven’t started charting, I highly recommend it!

Although testing with OPK’s (Ovulation Predictor Kits) is a great way to gain some much-needed insight into your Fertility Window – It only Does just that! You’ll need to follow-up with 3 days of sustained higher BBT’s (Basal Body Temperatures) to confirm that Ovulation has in fact taken place. Usually a great indicator (or second fertility sign) of WHEN to start testing with a OPK, is when you start to notice Fertile Cervical Fluid. Usually after Menstruation you’ll notice a bit of Scant, dry, or Sticky CM (Cervical Mucus) if any at all – followed by Creamy or Lotion-Like, and then as Estrogen starts to influence your hormones your CM will begin to thin out! You may start to notice a bit of a watery sensation and that usually will lead to the most fertile type of CM which is categorized as EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus) which the name sort of speaks for itself. If you’re not familiar with it, crack open a raw Egg and feel the consistency of the Egg whites! It should be slippery, clear and stretch 1-2 inches between your thumb and your index finger. Sometimes it can also be tinged with Pink, red Blood, or even brown! (That is considered to be amongst the most fertile) so if you happen to notice that type of CM along with a Cervical Position that’s High, Soft and Open – Now’s definitely the time to Test with a OPK! Here’s a Chart that can give you a Good idea as to when (based off of your average cycles) would be a Good time to start!

Cycle Chart

Image: www.conceiveeasy.com

There are 3 types of Tests you can use – “Midstream,” which is very Common at drugstores, “Cassettes,” which are also very Common, “Digitals,” and then lastly our Internet Cheapies, (also known as) “Test Strips,” which is what we are talking about today. They’re by far less expensive simply because you’re not paying for the fancy container they come in.

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Now with the most effective Test date being determined with your other secondary fertility signs – It’s also important to understand how to PREPARE for testing!

Unlike Pregnancy Tests that usually are taken with FMU (First Morning Urine) especially with possible Early Pregnancy – It is HIGHLY recommended to use Afternoon Urine when testing with a OPK, usually between the hours of 2-8pm and at the SAME TIME EVERYDAY! Why you ask? Because the LH (Luteinizing Hormone) in FMU usually isn’t metabolized enough, and can therefore give you a False Negative! (Which of course if you’re actively Trying To Get Pregnant you definitely don’t want that) essentially it can cause you to possibly miss your Surge. (When dipping your Test Strip there is a black line that says, “Max Line,” it’s always best not to dip your Test past that line to avoid over-saturation of the Test)

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Image: www.naturalfertilityshop.com

So what is a LH Surge? Well, LH tends to flow through our bodies at all times. Just a few days prior to Ovulation the LH Hormone starts to increase to a higher concentration (thus as we call the “Surge”) and that higher concentration of LH can then be measured by a OPK.

Typically speaking there are different brands of OPK’s that can detect different levels of the Hormone so to speak. A normal, healthy female would probably opt to use a OPK that detected 30-40 mI/U only because we have the Hormone constantly running through our system and would not want to yield a False Positive result using a lower sensitivity test. (In some cases though, you may need a lower sensitivity Test just depending on what YOUR “normal” concentration is that’s running through your body during non-peak times) – We on average, typically have anywhere from 1-20 mI/U prior to our Surge. You can find Tests that are 10-25 mI/U, 30-40 mI/U (which is considered average) and then the lower sensitivity Tests that can run up to even a 100 mI/U! (Again, I highly recommend NOT purchasing those Tests simply because according to some Consumer Studies it’s usually next to impossible to have a LH Surge that High in concentration!) You’ll more than likely yield nothing but Negative Results.

Once you’ve established the best brand, day, and time to start taking your Tests – a Good question most have is, “How Do I Read Them?” Here’s a few illustrations that may help you learn how to interpret the results.

If you’re using Test Strips, you may see packaging very similar to this:

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Image: www.dhgate.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

This can be a bit confusing if you’re unfamiliar with how they work. This claims if there’s 2 Lines, it’s positive. Don’t be fooled though! Regardless of what kind of OPK’s you opt to use, essentially they all work the same way.

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Image: www.spermmeetseggplan.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

A TRUE Positive Result, (unlike a Pregnancy Test) is when the Test Line is EQUAL TO or DARKER THAN the Control Line.

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Image: www.ovulation-calculator.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Here’s another good illustration:

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Image: www.opktests.com

And here is one displaying ACTUAL OPK Results:

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Image: www.babyornot.co.uk Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Some also opt to use a Digital Ovulation Test, to confirm the Midstream Test or the Test Strips Positive looking Results!

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Image: www.amazon.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

You can’t go wrong with a digital. There’s absolutely no guessing involved although they are a bit more expensive. But if you happen to get a Blue Dye Test, you’ll understand WHY it may be a Good idea to FOLLOW up with a digital since they can be a bit harder to interpret. (You’ll have to check out my OPK reviews if you want some further insight with that subject).

Name Brand OPK’s that you can find in your local drugstore can be a bit costly. Some opt to use the Internet Cheapies known as “Test Strips” Because essentially you can buy a Big bundle of OPK’s and HPT’s for a small fraction of the price. If you like to Test frequently it can add up, and I’ve found over the years that it’s a much more cost-effective way to gain more insight into your Fertile Window each cycle.

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Which (I might add) you can’t beat FREE! You have a great chance of winning a bundle of OPK’s and HPT Strips (on me) simply by “Liking” our Facebook Page – (PeeOnAStickFreak) “Following” our Twitter (@PeeOnAStickFRK) and lastly our Instagram (PeeOnAStickFreak) – The more referrals you have, the greater your odds are! All you have to do is have your friends/family members comment on each account stating WHO refered them! SIMPLE! I will be picking winners randomly and the ultimate prize is the bundle along with a $25 Gift Certificate to a restaurant of your Choice! GOOD LUCK!

Getting back to business (Ha Ha) when taking your Test, you’ll want to make sure that your urine doesn’t sit out for any length of time, and you also hold the Dip stick in your (CONCENTRATED) urine for at least the specified amount of time on the instructions. Otherwise I highly recommend dipping it for a full 5-10 seconds! Only Because you want to avoid under-saturating your Test and yielding a lighter Test line, and in some cases a False Positive Result! (Check out my OPK Experiments, Videos, and of course my Informational Tidbits) to my conclusions with those results! Also, I highly recommend waiting the full 5-10 mins before interpreting the results. You’ve got to keep in mind that OPK’s work a bit differently than your average HPT.

(Something else I just wanted to add which I also mentioned in my video) is when you purchase a pack of Midstream Tests, Cassettes or even Test Strips – you have to judge each Test individually! The reason I’m saying this is because different Tests have different amounts of Dye in them. You may have taken a Test yesterday (that came in the same pack) that had a very Dark CONTROL Line, whereas today’s Test has a very Faint one. No worries! Your Test Line (if positive) will reflect how light or dark your CONTROL line is. So if the CONTROL line is very light, as long as your Test line matches that or is a bit Darker than it’s considered positive! Same thing if the line is lighter, that would be considered Negative!

So with that being said, (Yes I know it’s a ton of information to absorb if you’re not familiar with these things) after a few cycles, you’ll get more familiar with it the same as you would with all of your other secondary fertility signs!

For a more, in-depth demonstration I made this lovely video showing you just how simple this can be but most of all BENEFICIAL! When you yield your first true positive result, don’t forget to DTD! (Do The Deed) also known as Baby Dancing!

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Blue Dye vs Pink Dye OPK

How long Do You Have to hold a HPT or OPK in urine?

So we you’re about to take a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) or even a OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kit) – usually when you’re reading the instructions that come in the box, there’s a reccomended length of time they specify holding the Dip stick in the urine stream (or same difference if it’s a Midstream Test)! Honestly, I never really gave it much thought. Sometimes whenever I’m making these awesome, fun Videos for you guys, I can get a bit distracted, (say if one of my kiddos starts knocking on the door for example Ha Ha) and it may not be until I actually go back and watch the video that I catch something I hadn’t noticed during filming! When I first got the Equate Brand OPK I tested one with PM urine and being as it was a dreadful Blue Dye Test, I was a bit confused by the results! So maybe 15 mins later I dipped another one (in the SAME urine sample) and held it a few seconds longer. Guess what? The T (Test) line was darker than the C (Control) line! Whereas with the Test before, the 2 Lines were the SAME! Soooooooooo I concluded from that experience that it DOES matter how long you actually hold a Dip stick in the urine and (of course) how CONCENTRATED the urine sample is! I highly recommend holding the dip stick a minimal of 5-10 seconds! Anything less, may yield a much lighter result. Now keep in mind (whether it be a OPK or a HPT) a positive result is a positive result as long as the Tests are taken properly and read within the correct time frame. If you have a High enough concentration of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) a HPT will yield a POSITIVE result, much like a OPK will if you have a high enough concentration of LH (Luteinizing Hormone) BUT – the Line opacity can differ! So, I will be conducting more Tests like this in the near future. But for now, I’m using the Blue Dye Tests and I hope you find this helpful! 

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The Difference Between CONCENTRATED Urine and DILUTED Urine

New Choice OPK vs Equate OPK

Positive OPK’s CD35 using a New Brand!

Going on CD35, and 7 days of BLAZING POSITIVES with (First Response – 100m/IU according to consumer studies) The Dollar Tree Brand (New Choice – 25m/IU) I decided to get yet a 3rd Brand! Of course my DH (Darling Husband) went to the wonderful world of Walmart and bought their (Equate – 100m/IU according to consumer studies) Ovulation Midstream Tests. But Yeah, they were the HORRIBLE BLUE DYE TESTS! Eeeeeeek! (Another story for another day!) So I thought I would give them a try……….

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HPT vs OPK

What happens when you reuse a NEGATIVE HPT with normal urine?