Content originally provided by Church & Dwight, makers of First Response.

While many women think that getting pregnant will be no trouble, millions of women in America struggle with infertility. According to a new survey conducted by RESOLVE, 70 percent of women who may want to have children think they can get pregnant whenever they want. But according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, infertility affects 7.3 million Americans.

My patients frequently ask me about those life-changing questions in a woman’s reproductive cycle: Am I fertile? Am I ovulating? Am I pregnant?” said Dr. Peter Ahlering, M.D., a St. Louis based OB/GYN and Medical Director at SIRM-St. Louis.

Am I fertile?

Question MarkEvery woman is born with all of the eggs that she will ever have.  Each month one or more eggs will mature in the ovaries in preparation for ovulation. As the eggs mature and are released over time, the number of eggs, which is a measure of your fertility potential, decreases.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone, (FSH), is one of many hormones that your body uses to regulate your menstrual cycle and to control the maturation of your eggs.   FSH signals the ovaries to mature one or more eggs for ovulation each month/cycle.

If your ovarian reserve (eggs) is low in quantity or quality, your pituitary will produce higher than normal FSH levels early in the cycle trying to stimulate your ovaries to produce a mature egg.  In other words, when your quantity or quality of eggs (your fertility potential) is low, your FSH level may be high.

Therefore, knowing your FSH level on Day 3 of the menstrual cycle can be helpful in finding out your fertility potential.

FSH is one of the leading single indicators of a woman’s fertility potential and now it is possible to gauge your fertility potential through a simple at-home test.

Am I Ovulating?

There are only about 2 days a month when are you most likely to get pregnant. Identify the most fertile days within your cycle and then plan intercourse to correspond with these times of peak fertility.

  • Every month an egg matures, leaves the ovary and travels down one of your fallopian tubes. This is called “ovulation”.
  • Ovulation is primarily triggered by a monthly surge in a hormone referred to as “LH” (Luteinizing Hormone). The level of LH rises during the 24-36 hours before ovulation this is the “LH Surge”.
  • Your best chance to become pregnant occurs when you have intercourse within 24-36 hours after the LH surge.
  • Women’s menstrual cycles can vary from 20-44 days.  This means the day of the month you ovulate can vary significantly. Most women do not ovulate mid-cycle. With so much variability, it may be difficult for a woman to find her peak fertility.
  • Become familiar with your cycle by using ovulation tests before you’re actually ready to get pregnant. Ovulation Tests help you to identify the timing of your “LH Surge”: †

† Certain medical conditions and drugs can adversely affect the reliability of tests for predicting ovulation.

Am I pregnant?

At-Home Pregnancy Tests detect the pregnancy hormone hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in urine as early as 5 days before missed period.  Knowing sooner is important! The sooner you know you’re pregnant, the sooner you can take better care of yourself and your developing baby.