I have enjoyed being part of a number of forums whilst trying to conceive (TTC), when I was pregnant for the first time with my son (DS), when I lost him and since I’ve been pregnant again with my second baby.
The online community is brilliantly supportive but can be hugely overwhelming. You can Google pretty much anything, someone will have asked the same question before on a forum. This is a good and a bad thing. The online community can open you up to a group of women (and some men) who you can ask questions of and gain immediate answer.s They will offer you advice, share their experiences and make you feel sane. However, they will also sometimes scare the absolute cr*ap out of you.
Unfortunately, TTC, pregnancy and being a mum is not always a guarantee and there are lots of people who have had issues on the way. Those with very straightforward pregnancies will probably post less on forums and so you are like to be exposed to more negative than positive stories.
So should you avoid forums? Not at all. In my view, their benefits far outweigh their negatives. But you should get involved cautiously. If you are hugely on edge then it will probably not help to be part of these groups. When I first entered this digital world I could have spent hours and hours reading articles online, threads and joining various groups and forums.
They online community was useful when I was TTC as other than my biology lessons at school I didn’t know a lot about the full details of how it all worked. Of course, it isn’t exactly complicated and we all know about the birds and the bees. However, not everyone gets pregnant their first try and even if it only takes a couple of months it is useful to have some tips. See the Acronyms below for more details.
I have also found forums particularly helpful since my son died. They led me to a lot of online resources which I found totally invaluable. It gave me the opportunity to fully inform myself about my loss and what it meant for the future and what action I could possibly take to prevent a future loss. It has meant that when I have spoken to my various doctors I have been armed with thoughtful, intelligent and important questions. My doctor is amazing but it gives me even more confidence in him that I am able to ask him fairly complex medical questions and fully understand his responses. It has given me a little control in a situation in which in reality I have very little control over at all. It has also given me confidence in the medical treatments I have chosen to receive, i.e. having a high Shirodkar cerclage, taking progesterone and being on bed rest.
Recommended Forums & Pregnancy Apps
Almost all of the below have apps available too:
As I said, this digital world really can be overwhelming, it even has its own language of sorts. It took me a while to figure this out but now I use acronyms like the rest of them! Here are some useful acronyms to help you out, you will need to use these so you don’t come across as an amateur!
|AF||Aunt Flo||Period, time of the month, the witch, the red crimson tide, whatever you wish to call it!|
|BBT||Basal Body Temperature||This is your lowest body temperature each day. It can be used as a way of finding out when you have ovulated. You would need to take your temperature first thing in the morning over the course of your cycle using a basal thermometer (an accurate thermometer). Two or three days after you ovulate your temperature will increase by about 0.4 to 1 degrees. You can keep track on various apps (e.g Ovia) of your temperature each day to establish a pattern. It should give you a good idea of which day of your cycle you ovulate so that for the following cycle you know when to DTD (just before ovulation).|
|BD||Baby Dance||Doing the deed, having sex, getting it on!|
|BFN||Big Fat Negative||What no one wants whilst TTC, it means that AF is probably on its evil way.|
|BFP||Big Fat Positive||What everyone TTC wants to see, that second line on the HPT.|
|CD||Cycle Day||The day of your menstrual cycle, the ‘average’ cycle being 28 CDs. On ‘average’ (it is certainly not a one size fits all approach when it comes to our cycles) you will ovulate half way through your cycle, e.g. on CD14.|
|CM||Cervical Mucas||If you’ve been TTC then you will probably get to know this. You may prefer not to get to know this but once you’re pregnant you won’t have much choice! Your discharge will change during your cycle and it can be used as a method to tell when you are most fertile. See EWCM below.|
|DD/DS/DH||Darling Daughter/Darling Son/Darling Husband||These acronyms can also be used for partners, other halves etc. Whoever you wish to refer to. An easy way to introduce yourself, e.g. I have two DDs and one DS.|
|DPO||Days Past Ovulation||The number of days passed since you ovulated. It can be used to symptom spot (a very popular TTC practice which can drive you insane!) e.g. you will see questions like ‘I am 10DPO and my boobs are sore, does this mean I am pregnant’. However hard you try to avoid symptom spotting, it will happen. Just go with it!|
|EWCM||Egg White Cervical Mucas||As mentioned above, if TTC you will get to know your CM, this is the type you get as you approach your peak fertility and it looks a bit like raw egg whites, lovely. So when you get it it is time to BD!|
|HPT||Home Pregnancy Test||There are lots of different brands, FRER (First Response Early Response) is a popular choice, especially for the inpatient, like me. It can be done a number of days before AF is due. Be careful though as you can take the test too early it can detect a chemical rather than a lasting pregnancy.|
|IVF||In Vitro Fertilisation||The process of fertilisation of an egg and sperm outside the womb in a laboratory. The resulting embryo (assuming the egg is successfully fertilised) is then transferred to your uterus.|
|LP||Luteal Phase||The stage of your cycle after ovulation and before your period starts.So on ‘average’ this would be CD14-28.|
|O||Ovulate/Ovulation||Ovulation is when an egg is released from your ovary. The egg will travel down your fallopian tube ready to be potentially fertilised. You can detect when this is about to happen via OPKS. To conceive you will want to BD just before ovulation or on the day of ovulation, after ovulation is too late.|
|OPK||Ovulation Predictor Kit||These are widely available POAS test which are similar to HPTs. They will let you know when your Luteinising Hormone (LH) levels have surged. This hormone is always present but there is a surge of it just before you ovulate. The 12 -36 hours between the beginning of the LH surge and the moment you ovulate is the most fertile part of you cycle and the time you are most likely to conceive a baby.|
|POAS||Pee On A Stick||The act of peeing on a HPT to find out whether its a BFP or BFN whilst trying not to splash! Pretty tricky.|