Fertility boards can provide a great sense of community for women who are trying to conceive a baby. It’s always comforting to hear from other people who face the same struggles and triumphs. But these boards throw out more acronyms than a stock exchange. What does AF mean on the fertility boards, anyway? Because it’s definitely one of the more confusing abbreviations.
Fertility Friend notes that, on fertility boards, AF means Aunt Flo. In other words, it’s a shorthand way to refer to your period. The fact that the boards use an abbreviated version of a euphemism for menses says a lot about the community’s feelings about this event. It is usually a very unwelcome visitor.
So why would Aunt Flo show up when you’re trying to conceive? It could be due to a number of factors, from implantation bleeding (AKA, you’re actually pregnant!) to irregular periods. Although no one who is TTC wants to be greeted by Aunt Flo, keep in mind that some spotting does not necessarily mean bad news. It may just be early pregnancy bleeding. And even if it is a regular period, you can always regroup and try again next month. In the meantime, here are some reasons you may get a period (or other signs of bleeding) while trying to conceive, and how to boost your odds of getting pregnant.
1. Implantation Bleeding
Light spotting does not automatically mean you aren't pregnant. In fact, it could signal that implantation has successfully occurred. "Implantation bleeding — typically defined as bleeding that occurs 10 to 14 days after conception — is normal and relatively common," as the Mayo Clinic explained. Although it may occur around the time of your regular period, it is generally a lot lighter.
2. Early Pregnancy Bleeding
Other changes to your body in early pregnancy can lead to some light bleeding. As WebMD explained, extra blood flows to the cervix during pregnancy. and various acts, from intercourse to a Pap test, can trigger bleeding. This isn't cause for concern, but don't hesitate to contact a doctor if you're worried.
3. Irregular Periods
If your cycle hops all over the calendar, then targeting your peak ovulation times can be extra tricky. So in this case, you may need to try out some other methods of tracking your fertility. "Fertility charting, basal temperature tracking, and purchased ovulation test kits can also be used to help predict a woman’s fertile times," the University of Rochester Medical Center explained. "These are especially useful if a woman has irregular periods." Because sometimes your cycle seems to have a mind of its own.
4. Regular Cycle
Even if your cycle is perfectly normal, most women don't have periods every 28 days on the dot. According to the Center for Young Women's Health, women get their periods between 21 and 35 days, on average. So even the most regular cycles may have a good bit of wiggle room when it comes to predicting ovulation. Again, an ovulation test kit might help your cause.
5. Need More Time
Getting pregnant takes time for most couples, so if you've only been trying for a couple months, you likely have nothing to worry about. "Most couples (about 84 out of every 100) will get pregnant within a year if they have regular sex and don’t use contraception," according to the National Health Services. Barring any major health issues, you and your partner will probably see the end of AF within a year.
6. He Has Fertility Problems
If you're following all of the TTC advice and still coming up negative, then it may be a good time for your SO to get a checkup. According to Andrology Australia, one in 20 men has some kind of fertility problem.
7. Early Miscarriage
This is probably the most heartbreaking appearance of AF. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 10 to 25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. You may not be able to tell the difference between an early miscarriage and a regular period. As always, if you are concerned about the potential of early miscarriage — or anything else regarding your fertility — then reaching out to your OB-GYN for advice may help tremendously.