Fertility Awareness
Alphabet Soup


Are you TTC checking BBT with STM and wondering if your OPK caught LH this cycle?

Or perhaps you’re new to FABMs and TTA, and you recall your LMP but can’t tell on which CD your LP began.

If you decoded both of those sentences, consider yourself fertility awareness user level: EXPERT.

Medical jargon has long been known to include a wide array of cryptic acronyms, yet a quick google search will reveal the meaning of most of them. However, many women find themselves wading through a similar alphabet soup in the world of cycle charting – and the same internet search won’t always yield helpful results!

New and seasoned cycle charters alike may engage in classes, webinars, or internet based groups seeking advice and support. But sometimes, it can be difficult to keep up with clinicians or peers when the language seems to be spoken or written in code. If acronyms have been a roadblock to understanding these discussions in the past, we’ve complied a comprehensive list of commonly used and important acronyms to navigate the world of fertility awareness based methods. The best part about this guide? It’s universal – it isn’t method or user specific.

So the next time, you will be the first to answer when someone asks, “What CD does AF start on?”


Common Abbreviations Discussed in Cycle Charting

ART: assisted reproductive technology

BC: birth control

Beta: pregnancy test from blood draw

BF: breastfeeding

BIP: base/basic infertile pattern of cervical fluid

CD: cycle day when day 1 (CD1) refers to the first day of the last menstrual period

CF/CM: cervical fluid, cervical mucus

CL: coverline, horizontal line in a basal body temperature chart – used as a pre-ovulatory baseline to help identify a temperature shift

CP: cervical position

DPO: days past ovulation

Dx: diagnosis

E: estrogen, hormone that is released from growing follicle (egg) before ovulation

EBF: exclusive breastfeeding

EDD: estimated due date

ENDO: endometriosis, a disorder where endometrial tissue exists in other places beyond the endometrium (uterine lining) and may contribute to pain, bleeding, or other symptoms

EWCF/EWCM: egg-white cervical fluid

FAM: fertility awareness methods

FABM: Fertility Awareness Based Method(s)

FP: follicular phase, the first of two phases of the menstrual cycle, it begins with the first day of the period and lasts through ovulation. This phase of the cycle may vary in length from cycle to cycle.

FSH: follicle-stimulating hormone, hormone released from the brain that stimulates follicle (egg) to grow before ovulation

HcG: Human chorionic gonadotropin (early pregnancy hormone detected with home and lab draw pregnancy tests)

HPT: home pregnancy test

Hx: history

I/IC: intercourse

IF: infertility

LH: luteinizing hormone, hormone released from the brain responsible for rupture of the follicle in the event of ovulation

LMP: last menstrual period (usually referring to the first day of your last menstrual period)

MF: male factor infertility

LAP: laparoscopy, a minimally-invasive procedure in the abdomen or pelvis for diagnosis or treatment performed through small incisions in the abdominal wall and aided by a camera

LP: luteal phase, this is the second of the two phases of the menstrual cycle, it lasts from ovulation until the first day of the next period. This phase is generally stable in length.

NFP: Natural Family Planning

O/Ov: ovulation

OPK, OPT: ovulation predictor kit, test, these strips detect the presence of LH in concentrated urine

P: Peak day. The last day of highest quality cervical fluid. This term is associated with the mucus sign.

PCOS: polycystic ovary syndrome, and endocrine disorder. Women with PCOS may have irregular cycles, evidence of elevated androgen hormones, and/or a higher than normal number of small follicles (cysts) on their ovaries.

PG: pregnant

PGN: progesterone, hormone that rises after ovulation and falls before menses, or remains elevated if a woman is pregnant

PMS: premenstrual symptoms/syndrome

PP: postpartum

POAS: pee on a stick, usually either referring to a pregnancy test or a symptohormonal method monitor strip or OPK

RRM: Restorative Reproductive Medicine, an application of medical and/or surgical health care that focuses on restoring optimal health and function

SF: seminal fluid

TTA: trying to avoid pregnancy

TTC: trying to conceive

US, U/S: ultrasound

VD: vaginal discharge


Common Method Name Abbreviations

BCC: Boston Cross Check

BOM: Billings Ovulation Method

CrMS: Creighton Model Fertility Care System

FEMM: Fertility Education and Medical Management

FF: fertility friend

LAM: Lactational Amenorrhea Method

MM: Marquette Method

NC: Natural Cycles

SDM: Standard Days Method

SHM: sympto-hormonal methods

STM: sympto-thermal methods


Common Online Discussion Thread Terms

AF: Aunt Flo (your monthly menstrual flow)

BFN: big fat negative (pregnancy test)

BFP: big fat positive (pregnancy test)

DTD: do the deed (referring to intercourse)

DH: dear husband (W, S, D… wife, son, daughter…)

LO: little one

OP: original poster

SO: significant other

TCOYF: Taking Charge of Your Fertility, one of the first well-known books about fertility awareness, written by Toni Weschler




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