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How Mira Can Help You Get Pregnant Through At-Home Intracervical Insemination (ICI)

  • 6 min read

How Mira Can Help You Get Pregnant Through At-Home Intracervical Insemination (ICI)

Article written by Mira Fertility.

Your first pregnancy is a special moment -- and you don't want to miss a minute of it. Tracking your hormones can help you get the most of your at-home intracervical insemination (ICI) with Mosie Baby to ensure you're spending more time celebrating and less time stressing.

Traditionally, you needed to visit your doctor's office for the newest fertility testing and technology. But just as Mosie Baby is bringing ICI to the home, Mira Fertility Tracker offers laboratory grade hormone concentration testing without leaving your own four walls.

How Your Hormones Affect Your Chances of Conceiving

The average person with ovaries in their 20s has approximately a 25 percent chance of conceiving during each menstrual cycle. In other words, most people can only conceive during one out of every four weeks in a month. You are most fertile during the six days prior to and the day of ovulation, a period of time known as your fertile window. 

Your hormones do much more than make you cranky, hungry, and tired during your period: in addition to playing an important role in the menstrual cycle, they regulate everything from your weight, to your body temperature, to your fertility. Identifying when your ovulation occurs helps you time ICI with your fertile window for the best odds of conception -- and tracking your hormone levels can help you pinpoint the date of ovulation. 

There are many different hormones with essential functions in the body. You have probably heard of luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, and progesterone. All of these hormones have an important part to play in regulating your menstrual cycle and fertility. 

These hormones can affect your odds of conception by controlling if and when you ovulate. Throughout most of the month, LH levels remain fairly stable, but they surge at the time of ovulation. This LH surge tells the body to produce more progesterone. Progesterone levels peak about one week after ovulation. Estrogen levels reach their highest peak just before ovulation. By measuring your concentrations of LH and progesterone, you can identify when in your cycle you are most likely to ovulate. 

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Luteinizing hormone, or LH, controls the function of the ovaries and the testes. In people with ovaries, the function of LH changes throughout the menstrual cycle. During the first half of your cycle, LH is produced to stimulate the follicles of the ovary to produce estrogen, which helps ovulation occur regularly. At ovulation, LH levels surge to trigger the release of an egg from the mature follicle. Afterwards, LH stimulates the dead follicle, or corpus luteum, to produce progesterone, which helps thicken the endometrium for a potential pregnancy.

The first phase of your cycle is called the follicular phase since follicles are growing in the ovaries. During this phase, a normal LH level is 1.37 to 9 IU/L. At ovulation, a normal LH level is anywhere from 6.17 to 17.2 IU/L. After ovulation, the second phase of your cycle is called the luteal phase, named for the corpus luteum. During the luteal phase, a normal LH level is 1.09 to 9.2 IU/L. After menopause, the average LH level rises to 19.3 to 100.6 IU/L.

Causes of higher than normal LH levels include:

  • Perimenopause or menopause

Causes of lower than normal LH levels include:

  • Pituitary gland disorders

  • Anorexia nervosa

  • Malnutrition

  • Stress

Estrogen

Estrogen is a sex hormone found that helps regulate menstrual cycles, fertility and overall health. Estrogen regulates your bone and cholesterol metabolism, as well as your body weight, glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

There are three main types of estrogen:

  • Estradiol, the most common type of estrogen found in those of childbearing age

  • Estriol, the most common type of estrogen produced during pregnancy

  • Estrone, the only type of estrogen produced after menopause

Estrogen is mainly produced in the ovaries. It can also be found in small amounts in the adrenal glands and fat tissue as well. Estrogen levels naturally fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. They are highest during ovulation (when your fertility is at its peak) and lowest during your menstrual period. Sometimes, the ovaries produce too much or too little estrogen, which can negatively impact fertility and well-being.

Suspect your estrogen levels may be low? Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Missed or late menstrual period

  • Fatigue and/or trouble sleeping

  • Painful sex and breast tenderness

  • Frequent urinary tract infections due to the thinning of the urethra

  • Depressed mood and low libido

Some of the symptoms you may experience when your estrogen levels are too high include:

  • Heavier or lighter periods than usual

  • Weight gain in the hips and thighs

  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome

  • Uterine fibroids and/or fibrocystic breasts

  • Fatigue, loss of sex drive and/or changes in mood

Progesterone

Progesterone's main role in the body is preparing the uterus for pregnancy. After ovulation, progesterone levels rise so the uterine lining, or endometrium, will thicken. The thickened lining supports the growth of the embryo if conception occurs during your fertile window. If conception does not occur, the lining is shed during menstruation.

Progesterone levels should rise six to eight days after ovulation, during the luteal phase of your cycle. If it does not rise, it may be a sign of  anovulatory cycles. An anovulatory cycle is a cycle where ovulation does not occur, which cannot result in a pregnancy. When tracking your hormones reveals you are having anovulatory cycles, you should always visit your OB/GYN or fertility doctor to discuss what this means for your pregnancy and how to resume ovulating normally.

A normal progesterone level for people with ovaries is less than 0.89 ng/mL before ovulation and up to 12 ng/mL after ovulation. However, some people may have lower or higher than normal levels of progesterone due to different medical conditions or lifestyle factors.

Low levels of progesterone can be caused by:

  • Obesity

  • Insulin resistance

  • Stress

  • Poor diet

  • Sedentary lifestyle

High levels of progesterone can be caused by:

Tracking Your Fertility Hormones at Home with Mira

Mira Fertility Tracker tracks your unique hormone levels throughout your menstrual cycle to help you conceive more easily. And the best part? It measures your LH and Estrogen levels with 99 percent accuracy right at home, making it as accurate as leading laboratories.

Mira works the same way as a digital pregnancy test, in that it uses your urine to measure your hormones. You simply submerge the test wand in a sample of urine for 10 seconds and insert the wand into Mira Fertility Analyzer. The analyzer syncs with the Mira App to give you your results. You can expect to track 10 to 20 times in an average menstrual cycle. Your Mira App will notify you when it's time to track, so you won't waste money by testing unnecessarily.

The Mira App is powered by artificial intelligence to give you the most accurate predictions possible. In as little as one cycle (for those with regular cycles), it can predict when you will ovulate and when you will be most fertile to help you better time your ICI for conception. As it collects more information about your cycles, Mira also becomes more accurate at predicting ovulation over time.

How is Mira Different from an Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK)?

Ovulation predictor kits, or OPKs, are another way to measure your fertility at home, but they do not have the same power that Mira has to help you conceive. OPKs compare the LH levels in your urine with a threshold (based on the average LH surge) to tell you if you are currently ovulating or not. 

Because of the way OPKs work, they have limited capabilities, especially for those with irregular cycles. Some people with conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) experience "mini-surges" of LH during their menstrual cycle, which OPKs can confuse with ovulation. Other people may have a low baseline level of LH, so OPKs may miss their ovulation because it does not meet the threshold they use.

Mira can:

  • Predict ovulation for those with irregular cycles

  • Differentiate between "mini-surges" of LH and ovulation

  • Detect LH surges in those with low baseline levels of LH

  • Identify ovulation before it occurs, giving you time to plan for ICI

  • Save money by telling you exactly when to test

  • Provide you with personalized insights about your cycle

  • Become more accurate with continued testing over time

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