When you’re trying to get pregnant and it isn’t happening as quickly as you’d like, the support of social media, online message boards, and forums can be a lifesaver. You log on and type a question. Much to your delight, you start getting replies. Only problem is, you don’t understand them.

“It looks like we’re CBs! Start BDing 2 days before O and then wait to POAS until at least 9DPO. Hopefully AF will stay away and you’ll get your BFP. FX for us both!”

Say what?!

They say — whoever “they” is — necessity is the mother of invention. We believe that general rule extends to languages — even online ones. To that end, here’s the 411 about the sometimes-cryptic acronyms unique to the TTC — that’s trying to conceive — community.

Note: As with all acronyms we’ll cover, you may see them in all caps or in all lowercase.

If you’re wanting to become pregnant, perhaps a defining moment in your journey is the pregnancy test. Did your efforts pay off? Here’s the associated lingo:

  • HPT: Home pregnancy test.
  • POAS: Pee on a stick. Essentially, this is how you take a home (urine) pregnancy test. You’ll often encounter self-proclaimed “POAS addicts” in TTC community groups.
  • FMU: First morning urine. This is the urine most home pregnancy test instructions tell you to use when testing. Some users claim SMU, or second morning urine, is better.
  • BFP: Big fat positive. This refers to a positive home pregnancy test — typically, two parallel lines or two lines that form a plus sign, depending on your brand of test.
  • BFN: Big fat negative. This refers to a negative home pregnancy test — typically one line on a stark white background.
  • VFL (and VVFL, VVVFL, and so forth): Very faint line, very very faint line, etc. On an HPT, a line is a line — even a faint result is considered positive. Some forum users may share pictures of “squinters” and ask if others see the VVVVVVVVVVFL that they see, or if they just have “line eyes” from looking at so many tests.

These are generally relevant at different times in your cycle:

  • CD: Cycle day. CD1, for example, is the first day of your cycle — the first day of your period.
  • CB: Cycle buddy. If you and another user discover you’re on the same cycle day, you may consider yourself cycle buddies and check up on each other’s pregnancy efforts throughout the month.
  • O: Ovulation. This is when your body releases an egg and is therefore the time of the month when you can get pregnant.
  • DPO: Days post ovulation. You won’t get a positive pregnancy test on 1DPO or for several days after, because it takes time for a fertilized egg to travel to the uterus, implant, and starting making the hormone that a HPT picks up. Many people (and HPTs) recommend waiting until 12–14DPO, or the day of your missed period, to test.
  • AF: Aunt Flo. Slang for your period.
  • BD: Baby dance (sex) or baby dust (good luck), depending on context. A fellow user may tell you to BD (have sex) the day before O, the day of O, and 1DPO in order to maximize your chances of getting pregnant. Alternatively, if you share with other users that you think you’re pregnant, they may wish you baby dust or good luck.
  • BBT: Basal body temperature. This is a measurement taken with a special thermometer each morning around the same time, before you get out of bed. If you chart your daily BBTs and you ovulate, you should notice an upward shift of a few tenths of a degree right after ovulation. This can help you (in hindsight) figure out your general pattern of when you ovulate each month.
  • TWW: Two week wait. This is the time period between ovulation and when you can find out if you’re pregnant. For many people, it’s excruciating. This is the time to talk with your cycle buddies!
  • CM: Cervical mucus.
  • EWCM: Egg white cervical mucus. Mucus of this consistency is considered the most fertile. Time to BD if you’re TTC!
  • OPK: Ovulation prediction kit. This a store-bought kit with test strips that can predict when you’re going to ovulate (unlike your BBT chart, which can only tell you if you did).
  • IUI: Intrauterine insemination. This is when sperm are placed in your uterus in hopes one of your eggs will be fertilized.
  • IVF: In vitro fertilization. This is when your eggs are harvested by a doctor and then fertilized by sperm (your partner’s or a donor’s) outside your body. The fertilized egg, which is allowed to grow into an embryo or blastocyst for anywhere from 3 to 7 days, is then placed in your uterus.
  • RE: Reproductive endocrinologist — often simply referred to as a fertility specialist.
  • Frostie: Frozen embryo. No, this isn’t an acronym. But it’s not always clear that this refers to embryos that result from IVF and are then frozen, to be transferred the uterus at a later date.
  • DP3DT, DP5DT, etc.: Days post 3-day transfer, days post 5-day transfer, etc. This is the number of days since your frostie was transferred to your uterus. So if you’re 5DP3DT, you’re 5 days post 3-day transfer. (The second number refers to how long the fertilized egg grew — in this case, 3 days — before it was frozen.) This is the approximate equivalent of 8DPO.

Once you get pregnant, there’s a whole new set of acronyms. Sadly, because pregnancy loss is fairly common, there are also acronyms for that.

  • EDD: Estimated due date. This is typically determined by your doctor based on your… wait for it…
  • LMP: Last menstrual period. Yep, the first day of your last period is used to determine your EDD, as long as it was a natural conception (i.e., without reproductive technology).
  • M/C: Miscarriage. If you go through one, an online TTC group is actually a very supportive place to hang your hat during difficult times.
  • EP: Ectopic pregnancy. Unfortunately, this type of pregnancy is nonviable and requires medical attention.
  • BCP: Birth control pill. You may encounter users who say when they stopped BCP in order to give context.
  • US: Ultrasound. This isn’t just for after you’re pregnant. Your doctor may order an US while you’re TTC to see your ovaries and identify any cysts or issues with your uterus. Ultrasounds are also used in IVF and IUI cycle monitoring.
  • DS, DD, DH, DW, DP (“the darlings” or “the dears”): Darling son, darling daughter, darling husband, darling wife, darling partner. These are endearing acronyms used to refer to family members.
  • FX: Fingers crossed.

Let’s translate our earlier example:

“It looks like we’re CBs! Start BDing 2 days before O and then wait to POAS until at least 9DPO. Hopefully AF will stay away and you’ll get your BFP. FX for us both!”

“It looks like we’re cycle buddies! Start having sex 2 days before you ovulate and then wait to pee on a stick until at least 9 days after you ovulate. Hopefully your period will stay away and you’ll get a positive pregnancy test. Fingers crossed for us both!”

Easy peasy, right? OK, so it may not seem like it now — but trust us, you’ll quickly learn the lingo.