The Fertility Nutrition Index: Terms for all things Supplements, Preconception, Pregnancy, and Postpartum

Like all highly specialized fields, the world of supplements and fertility healthcare utilizes its own set of vocabulary, abbreviations, acronyms, and yes, even #hashtags. Here's a quick, easy guide to keep you on the same page with your research!

Anovulation (AO)

Anovulation occurs when an egg isn't released from an ovary during your menstrual cycle.

Artificial Insemination (AI)

No, we don't mean artificial intelligence! We're talking about the medical procedure of injecting semen into the uterus.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

Fertility treatments in which eggs or embryos are involved (e.g. IVF). These treatments are helpful for those struggling to conceive or who have a formal diagnosis of infertility.

Aunt Flo/Menstruation

Menstruation (aka your period!). The process where the lining of the uterus is shed and flows out of the vagina as period blood.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

BBT is the temperature of the body at rest. BBT can be used as a natural way to identify ovulation as it usually causes an increase in BBT.

Big Fat Negative (BFN)

A negative result on a pregnancy test.

Big Fat Positive (BFP)

A positive result on a pregnancy test.

Birth control pills

A daily hormone-containing pill that is commonly used to help prevent pregnancy.

Blood work

Blood work is one of the most common types of lab tests where blood is drawn and analyzed. It can be helpful when trying to conceive to help understand general health and nutritional baseline.

Cervical Fluid or CM for Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus is a type of fluid made and released from the cervix at the opening to the uterus. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can cause cervical mucus to change in color, amount, and texture, and can signal when ovulation is near.

Cervical position

The cervix is a small canal that connects the uterus and the vagina. The position of the cervix can change at certain points during the month. For example, around ovulation the cervix is likely to be softer, more open and positioned higher up, making it easier for a sperm to fertilize an egg.

Cycle Day (CD)

The first day of a period. It is typically marked by bright red menstural bleeding.

Days Past Transfer

The number of days after an embryo was transferred into the uterus during an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure.

Donor Eggs/Embryos

Donor eggs or embroys are donated unfertilized eggs (donor eggs) or embryos (eggs and sperm that have already joined together) that can be used in assisted reproductive procedures to help couples who are unable to conceive on their own.

Donor Insemination

A fertility procedure in which frozen sperm is thawed and placed into the uterus around ovulation.

Egg White Cervical Mucus (EWCM)

Cervical mucus thatis the consistency of egg whites, usually signaling that ovulation is near.

Embryo Transfer (ET)

When a newly-formed embryo is implanted into the uterus with the hopes of it resulting in pregnancy.

Endometriosis (ENDO)

A condition in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus.

Estimated Due Date

The estimated date a baby may be born.

Estradiol (E2)

The main female sex hormone.

Fertility Monitor

A monitor/device that tracks data to help identify the fertile window. This could monitor signs like basal body temperature, or hormone levels in urine, saliva, or cervical fluid.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

A hormone created by the pituitary gland in the brain. FSH helps regulate the menstrual cycle and the creation of eggs by the ovaries.

Frozen embryo

A process that freezes and stores fertilized eggs for later use.

Gestational surrogate

Where one person, who did not provide the egg used in conception, carries a fetus through pregnancy and gives birth to a baby for another person or couple.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

A hormone made by the placenta that is found when pregnant. When pregnant, hCG can be found in urine and blood.

Home pregnancy test

A test that can be taken at home using urine to help determine pregnancy.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

A procedure used during in vitro fertilization (IVF) where a single sperm is injected directly into the egg for the purpose of fertilization.

Insulin resistance (IR)

When cells in muscles, fat, and liver don't respond well to insulin and can't easily take up glucose (or sugar) from blood.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Sperm that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly in the uterus around the time the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

The joining of a woman's egg and a man's sperm in a laboratory setting (in vitro means "outside the body").

IVF with Donor Eggs (IVF-DE)

An IVF cycle that uses another woman's eggs which are fertilized and implanted into the recipient's uterus.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

A hormone that stimulates important processes in the reproductive system, like ovulation.

Last Menstrual Period

The first day of your last menstrual period.

Low sperm count

Low sperm count means that the semen sample contains less sperm than what is considered normal.

Male factor infertility

The inability of a male to make a female pregnant after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex.


When a pregnancy stops progressing resulting in a pregnancy loss.

Morning sickness

Normal nausea and vomiting that happens in the first few months of pregnancy.

Obstetrician (OB)

A specialist who is trained to provide medical care during pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum.

Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN)

A specialist who is trained to provide medical care for conditions that affect the female reproductive system, including pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum.


When a mature egg is released from an ovary.

Ovulation Predictor Kit or test

At-home tests used to determine ovulation timing.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - or PCOS - is a genetic, hormonal, metabolic, and reproductive condition that affects up to 1 in 10 women in the United States.


Pregnancy is the term used to describe the period in which a fetus develops inside a womb or uterus.

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)

Testing pre-implantation stage embryos or eggs for genetic defects.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

An infection or inflammation of organs affecting the female reproductive system.

Prenatal vitamin

Supplements made for pregnant women to give the body the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy.

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)

When the ovaries stop functioning as they should before age 40.

Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE)

An obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) who diagnoses and treats endocrine disorders that are either directly or indirectly related to reproduction.

Reproductive Immunologist (RI)

A specialist who looks at the immune system to help understand reasons behind recurrent pregnancy loss and repetitive IVF implantation failures.

Recurrent pregnancy loss

Two or more pregnancy losses.


Herbs, roots, and other plant substances that help the body adapt to stress.


Antioxidants are small molecules that help support the body’s free radical defenses against molecules that have gone rogue.


The bioavailability means how well and how fast something is absorbed by the body.


Chelated means that a mineral is bound to an organic molecule, forming a protective shell around the mineral. For example, chelated magnesium means the magnesium is attached to an organic molecule (in this case the amino acid glycine). This allows the magnesium to be more easily absorbed.


When the nutritional value or potency of a substance decreases over time or when they are exposed to heat, sunlight, water or other liquids.


Herbs that support the nervous system.


Oxidation is a chemical process where a substance loses electrons, often leading to changes in its properties and interactions with other substances. It is a normal chemical reaction that can occur quickly when something is exposed to heat, air, or light.

Oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.


Prebiotics are a type of specialized plant fiber that feeds the microbes in your gut and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria.


Are foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms to encourage more "good" bacteria in your body.

Sperm/Semen Analysis

A semen analysis looks at the volume of semen, and count and overall quality of a man's sperm.


The loss of a baby from 20 weeks gestation or 400g of body weight, if gestation is unknown.

Synthetic nutrients

Synthetic nutrients are isolated or artificial nutrients that are chemically produced in a laboratory to mimic the structure and function of naturally occurring nutrients found in whole foods.


A tincture is a concentrated herbal extract made by steeping plant material, such as herbs, roots, berries, or bark, in alcohol or a mixture of alcohol and water. This process extracts the active compounds from the plant material, creating a potent solution that can be used for medicinal, therapeutic, or culinary purposes.

Trying To Conceive (TTC)

Having unprotected sex with the aim of becoming pregnant.

Two Week Wait (TWW/2WW)

The two weeks after ovulation when waiting to see if a pregnancy has occurred.


A trained technician (sonographer) presses a small, hand-held device (transducer) against the area being looked at to take images. This can be done to check on a pregnancy as it progresses.

Vasectomy reversal

A surgical procedure to allow a man to try and conceive again performed using microsurgery to reconnect the vas deferens cut during a vasectomy.

Whole Food nutrients

Whole food nutrients refer to the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that naturally occur in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and animal products. These nutrients are present in their original, unprocessed form.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)

Eggs are stimulated and collected using IVF procedures. The eggs are mixed with sperm and then fertilized eggs (or zygotes) are returned to the fallopian tubes with laparoscopic surgery, with the hope of a resulting pregnancy.

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