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Conceiving Naturally: Get Everything You Need With HealthNow

Whether you’re trying for your first baby or adding to your brood, the journey to parenthood is an emotional one filled with excitement, nervousness, anticipation and surprises. Thankfully, there are now a range of products and services at your disposal to help remove some of the guesswork from your trying-to-conceive (TTC) experience and give you back some control over a seemingly uncontrollable process. 

Here are five ways that New Zealanders are adding some reliability, predictability and accuracy to their TTC process that you can purchase directly from your pharmacy without a prescription, or book in to without a referral – and how you can access all of these without paying the full upfront cost.

  1. Basal Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) describes your body’s lowest resting temperature, which must be measured as soon as you wake up in the morning and before you stand up, get out of bed or do anything else. BBT is a very sensitive measurement, meaning that it’s imperative you do it while laying still in bed, ideally at the same time every day, and using a thermometer that has two decimal places for accurate, precise rounding (think 36.42ºC, not 36.4ºC). As soon as you get out of bed and start to move, the reading becomes unreliable as your temperature can rise in response to the movement.

The importance of your BBT when TTC is that when measured accurately, you will notice an increase in your temperature after ovulation around the middle of your menstrual cycle, so many women use this to feel confident that they have likely ovulated. BBT can also be used as a sign of pregnancy, as towards the end of your cycle, your BBT tends to stay elevated if you are pregnant, or otherwise will drop shortly before your period begins. The temperature rise and drop is typically as little as 0.3-0.6ºC, which is why a precise two-decimal thermometer is essential. These are available from your pharmacy, and some brands even have specific thermometers dedicated to measuring your BBT.

  1. Ovulation Predictor Kit

An ovulation predictor kit (OPK) is a urine test that measures the level of luteinising hormone (LH) your body is producing at the time of measurement. LH is present in your body throughout your cycle, but when the developing egg in the ovaries reaches a certain size, your LH levels rapidly rise. It is this “LH surge” that triggers the start of ovulation, where the body releases an egg anywhere between 12-48 hours after the surge. This means that when the LH surge is detected, you are in your fertile window where intercourse has a higher chance of conception by having the sperm ready and waiting to meet the egg as it is released.  

OPK’s look almost identical to a dip and read pregnancy test – except instead of detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that is produced in pregnancy, it detects LH. There are two primary types of OPK’s available – those that rely on the colour of the two red lines produced (where a test line that is equal to or darker than the control line indicates a LH surge) or a digital reading, producing a smiley face to distinctly indicate periods of ‘low fertility’, ‘high fertility’ or ‘peak fertility’, with the latter indicating the detection of the LH surge. OPK’s are readily available from the pharmacy, where multiple brands and styles are usually offered to suit your preferences and budget.

  1. Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins contain a range of essential nutrients for healthy baby development including folic acid, iron, B vitamins, vitamins D, C, A and E, iodine, calcium, zinc and many more. While there is no evidence that taking prenatal vitamins when TTC will improve your fertility, taking them in the early stages of your pregnancy (even before you find out you are pregnant) can help ensure that your baby is getting the nutrients they need to help support healthy growth and development. In fact, taking folic acid – which is an essential part of prenatal vitamins, has been proven in many studies to prevent foetal neural tube defects, where the spine or brain fail to properly form in the growing baby.

Specific prenatal vitamins for pregnancy are available from the pharmacy and come in tablets that combine all of the recommended vitamins and nutrients packed in one or two tablets.

  1. Fertility Lubricant

Fertility lubricant is designed to help improve the chances of conception by mimicking natural cervical fluids. It differs from standard lubricants as these tend to have spermicidal properties that may hinder chances of conception, as confirmed by studies. The lubricants themselves are formulated with ingredients that don’t harm sperm or reduce sperm movement, while being pH balanced and isotonic. While there is no evidence that fertility lubricants do improve the chance of conception on their own, they are thought to help create a better environment to support sperm on their journey through the cervix to meet the egg. It may also encourage comfortable intercourse if dryness is a problem that is causing pain and discomfort. 

  1. Pregnancy & Blood Tests

Now it’s time to see if you’re pregnant – and the simplest way to check is with a home pregnancy test (HPT). HPT’s detect the levels of hCG in your urine, which unlike LH, are undetectable (though present at very low concentrations) unless a pregnancy has occurred. hCG plays a critical role in sustaining the pregnancy by stimulating the body to produce progesterone in the first trimester until the placenta is fully formed and can take over by the second trimester. Like OPK’s, there are various types of HPT’s including line tests and digital tests that give a ‘YES +’ or a ‘NO -’ result. These are available directly from your pharmacy. 

Alternatively, if you have missed your period, you can see your doctor for a blood test to confirm your pregnancy. A pregnancy blood test is more accurate than a HPT as it presents the hCG as a measurable number. If you test positive on a HPT, you will need a blood test to confirm your pregnancy anyway, so some couples choose to skip the added cost of the HPT and wait it out. Thankfully, if cost is an issue, it is now possible to purchase everything you need from the pharmacy to help you conceive naturally at a fraction of the upfront cost thanks to the world’s first Buy Now Pay Later platform dedicated entirely to health and medicine: HealthNow.

Buy Conception Products Now, Pay Later

HealthNow is an intuitive app on your smartphone that is used to split the cost of your medical costs or pharmacy purchases into up to six payments over six weeks. This means you only pay a fraction of the total cost on the day you buy your products or see your GP. The service is completely free for health consumers with no fees or interest, and can be used on a range of other services related to pregnancy like ultrasounds. Your pharmacy or doctor gets paid in full on the day, while you pay your bill off over the amount of weeks you select at the time of purchase.

HealthNow also has a specifically-designed health wallet to put away money safely to cover the costs of any medical or health-related appointments, services and products, meaning that you can start putting money away while TTC to help take the pressure of the expenses. You choose the amount and frequency that you’d like to contribute – and others can also contribute to your health wallet, from family members who want to help you look after the health of you and your baby, to employers as part of employee wellness programs or maternity leave packages. Once the money is in your wallet, it’s yours in full to spend any time on any health-related cost with HealthNow, and can be used for yourself or any other family member or loved one – including baby.

Get Started With HealthNow Today

Getting started with HealthNow so you can book your scan is free and easy. Visit the app and follow the instructions to set up your account. You can also check out HealthNow’s full benefits and features, and see how it can help ease some of the financial stress off both your TTC journey and your pregnancy.