Know Your Body

Science-backed articles about women's health, fertility, sex, periods, and more.
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PregnancyTaking Geritol While Pregnant: What to KnowThere are numerous supplements, vitamins for fertility, and curative health treatments available for women trying to conceive that claim to help them fall pregnant. Today, we look at a popular brand, Geritol, and examine its efficacy. What Is Geritol? Geritol is a multivitamin brand, which produces different formulas to apparently boost energy, assist fertility, provide micronutrients, and improve health conditions. It's been on the market for many years and, for a time, was believed to be effective in boosting the chances of pregnancy, mainly due to its high content of iron. Side Effects of Geritol Common Side Effects TirednessLoss of appetite, indigestion, or nauseaStaining of teethConstipation or diarrhea More Serious Side Effects Multivitamins should not cause any serious side effects, so if they do, there's something wrong. If you have any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately: Difficulty breathingSwelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throatHives or rashBlood in your stoolsPain in your chest or throat when swallowing a tablet Taking Geritol During Pregnancy Pregnant women have different vitamin and mineral needs when compared to other people, so they need to be careful when deciding which vitamins to take. It's always a good rule of thumb for pregnant women to run any new tablets or medication by their doctors before beginning treatment. Geritol is not clinically tested or proven as a functioning prenatal supplement. Good prenatal vitamins have higher doses of folic acid than Geritol does. Take one that your doctor suggests. Risks Associated With Taking Geritol While Pregnant There is little information available to answer this question. Some women may experience any of the side effects listed above, or interactions with other supplements or medications. Does Geritol Boost Fertility? There is no evidence that Geritol assists conception. There are notes from the manufacturer on their website that confirm this, letting users know that claims of this are false. Who Should Avoid Geritol? If you have any of the following conditions or symptoms already, you should avoid taking Geritol or discuss it first with your general practitioner. Conditions: Blood sickle cell anemiaanemia from pyruvate kinase and G6PD deficienciesa type of blood disorder where the red blood cells burst called hemolytic anemiadecreased blood clotting from low vitamin Kincreased risk of bleeding due to clotting disorder Iron iron metabolism disorder causing increased iron storagean overload of iron in the bloodexcess iron due to repeated blood transfusions Imbalance of Vitamins and Minerals a high amount of phosphate in the blooda high level of calcium in the bloodhigh or low levels of potassium in the blooda high amount of chloride in the bloodan excessive amount of vitamin D in the body Kidney decreased kidney functionkidney stones Stomach and Intestines an ulcer from too much stomach acida type of stomach irritation called gastritisinflammation of the stomach called atrophic gastritispast history of complete removal of the stomachulcerative colitis, an inflammatory condition of the intestinesstomach or intestinal ulcerstomach muscle paralysis and decreased functionblockage of the stomach or intestinediverticular diseasediarrhea Esophagus inflammation of the epiglottiscompression of the esophagusproblems with food passing through the esophagus Urine a high amount of oxalic acid in urinecessation of urine production Other Thomsen diseasecomplete or severe heart blockLeber's hereditary optic atrophysarcoidosisAddison's diseaseexcess body aciddehydrationfamilial hyperkalemic periodic paralysissevere burn When a woman or couple are wanting to conceive and are struggling to do so, they may be tempted to try anything that claims to boost their chances of falling pregnant. However, sometimes it's not even the producer of a medication that claims this, but ordinary people through hearsay, "old wives' tales" or rumors. Geritol is an example of this situation and can potentially harm the user. Make sure to research medication thoroughly, read the packaging inserts, and get the go-ahead from your doctor before taking it.
A woman  in her bathroom looking at a pregnancy test
PregnancyCan You Get Pregnant After Ovulation?The normal and natural way to conceive is to track ovulation through your menstrual cycle, noting basal body temperature and cervical mucus as markers of the short ovulation period. However, you can also choose to induce ovulation, which requires taking hormones, and is the last resort if your fertility and ovulation pattern is not reliable. Tracking Your Fertile Period If you don't know when your fertile period is, start observing your vaginal mucus pattern from the last day of your period. It's helpful to get to understand the four phases of the normal menstrual cycle: The period comes first and can last from 2-7 days of menstrual bleeding. Then ovulation occurs around days 8-14 (it varies in each individual but you may find your own pattern to be consistent). You will notice how the watery and sparse vaginal mucus changes and becomes clear, transparent, and jelly-like towards the middle of your cycle. You are only fertile for about 36 hours after an ovum is released, and this jelly-like mucus helps sperm swim up to the uterus to fertilize an ovum. If you have sex a few days before you ovulate, you can still conceive since sperm may live for up to five days. You could also try increasing your fertility with a lubricant. This is technically the best time to conceive, but you can still get pregnant after ovulation, within the window period of 36 hours afterward. Alternatively, you can still try to conceive by inducing ovulation. Can Ovulation Be Induced? A modern technique to help couples conceive is to bring on ovulation artificially, using hormones to boost the release of an ovum. In this way, it is possible to make yourself ovulate with assistance from a medical professional. But if you have struggled to conceive, it's essential to get tested before inducing ovulation to check your overall reproductive health. There may be a hormonal or physical capacity that is not working well, and in that case, inducing ovulation may also not be successful. Using Conceive Plus tablets or injections to stimulate ovulation does carry side effects, and the injections are expensive, so be informed about what to expect when inducing ovulation. Ovulation induction is only recommended for women who have a pattern of low ovulation or who are anovulatory (don't ovulate). The current success rate is low (up to 25%) and multiple pregnancies may result (for example, twins). When to Take an Ovulation Test It can be helpful to use an ovulation test to judge when exactly you are ovulating. Use the home kit from the end of your period, until you notice the fertile, jelly-like mucus. When this thick mucus changes to a drier. cream-colored mucus, this suggests that the fertile phase has passed. The other additional symptoms of ovulation should guide you too, namely breast tenderness, increased libido, and possibly pain in the abdomen. Take the ovulation test first thing in the morning, so that your urine is not diluted by drinking anything (drinking fluids may lead to a false-negative result). Take the test at the same time every day. When to Take a Pregnancy Test If you have tracked your ovulation and used the window period of fertility to have sex in order to conceive, you probably want to know as soon as possible whether you're pregnant or not. If you want to know when to take a pregnancy test, be aware that there is an issue of timing in getting a reliable result. The most reliable method of confirming pregnancy is with a blood test administered by a health professional after you have missed your period. You may prefer to use a home pregnancy test before your period, but this can give a false-negative result. The result will be more accurate if you wait for a week or two after missing your period. At that point, the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) will show up clearly in your urine. Can You Take an Ovulation Test if You’re Pregnant? The purpose of taking an ovulation test is to tell when you are ovulating. However, the test is not completely reliable. If you take it when you are pregnant, it may give a false positive. Here's what to expect from an ovulation test when you are pregnant: The test will show low levels of LH; but it may instead show high levels of hCG, indicating pregnancy. (The test cannot tell the difference between LH and hCG.) If you have a positive ovulation test result for five days in a row, take a pregnancy test to be safe.
Ovulation test and tracker during pregnancy
PregnancyWill an Ovulation Test Give a Positive Result if Taken When Pregnant?Ovulation tests are commonly used by women who want to get pregnant and do what's most effective, which is to keep track of ovulation. These tests are urine-based and measure LH (luteinizing hormone) levels of the body. LH levels are important and can help determine when a woman is ovulating because they tend to surge shortly before ovulation. The luteinizing hormone is also responsible for the stimulation of the ovary to help it release an egg. What Will LH Levels Be When Pregnant? A woman’s LH levels will increase about 36 hours before it is time for her to ovulate. That means you will get higher readings of this hormone’s level during your body’s ovulation cycle. During pregnancy, the woman will have less than 1.5 IU/L. However, some factors can affect your LH levels and ovulation test, such as hormone imbalances. If that is something you are concerned about, it’s best to visit your doctor. Can You Have an LH Surge When Pregnant? Because of how your body works, it’s not possible to experience an LH surge during pregnancy. This hormone assists the body in ovulation, and when you’re pregnant, there is no need to ovulate. As such, the hormone doesn’t have any work to do. Does Low LH Mean Pregnancy? Once a woman has ovulated, her LH levels will decrease rapidly, and they do not remain the same throughout the time before her next ovulation. Here’s a look at what a woman’s LH levels can look like: The follicular phase of the menstrual cycle: 1.37 to 9 IU/LMidcycle peak: 6.17 - 17.2 IU/LLuteal phase: 1.09 - 9.2 IU/LPostmenopausal: 19.3 - 100.6IU/L Low LH levels can typically indicate pregnancy, but it’s always best to consult a doctor before assuming that you are pregnant. Can Two Lines on an Ovulation Test Mean You Are Pregnant? Ovulation tests are often used instead of pregnancy tests, but this might not be the best course of action. A pregnancy test is specifically made to test for pregnancy, and ovulation tests monitor ovulation — that’s what they’re best at. Two lines on an ovulation test are not a positive result because the female body has varying levels of LH during its cycle. If the line is dark (or darker than the control line), you have a positive result. This only means you will be ovulating within about 36 hours. It is important to note that if you have a positive ovulation test five days in a row, you could be pregnant. You should either get a reliable pregnancy test or visit your nearest clinic or doctor for a pregnancy test. Can Pregnancy Affect the Results of an Ovulation Test? It is possible to get a positive result on an ovulation test if you’re pregnant. But, it’s also possible to get a negative test result and be pregnant. Note that the protein in hCG and LH look similar, and no ovulation test can distinguish between the two, so the test can be positive when you’re actually pregnant. How Accurate Are Ovulation Tests? Ovulation tests are suitable for the purpose they were made for - checking ovulation of the female body. They are very precise and can detect an increase in LH levels with an accuracy of more than 97%. However, for the most reliable ovulation monitoring, it’s recommended that you use other methods in addition to ovulation tests. Ovulation tests aren't the best action to take when you want to know if you’re pregnant. Even the best ovulation test, such as Clearblue, won’t be able to detect and provide you with accurate and reliable information on whether or not you’re pregnant. Will an Ovulation Test Be Negative if Pregnant? Even the best ovulation tests can still produce a false negative. That’s why it’s important to use other methods to complement the way you’re monitoring your ovulation and fertility window.