The Infertility Guidebook
Stage 2: Clomid
Meds: Clomid / clomiphene
Alright, so you’ve been to your OB/GYN for diagnostics, and she determined it was time to kick it up a notch. The first step is almost always an oral medication called Clomid. This pill essentially helps boost your FSH – the hormone that grows your follicles.
Clomid is so easy, you guys. The hardest part is waiting for your period to start so you can get the show on the road. If you’re like me and your cycles are long and unpredictable, your doctor may prescribe you a pill called Provera, which forces your period to start.
Once your period starts, you’ll take Clomid once a day for 5 days – either days 3-7 or 5-9 of your cycle.
There are lots of different opinions on why different people take it on different days. The most common one I’ve seen is that taking it on days 3-7 grows a greater quantity of follicles, and days 5-9 grows a greater quality of follicles. Your doctor will surely have his/her reasons for choosing which days you should take it, so just ask if you’re curious.
After taking the Clomid, you’ll most likely be instructed to have intercourse every other day from days 10-20 of your cycle. Let me assure you that this will not be fun. In fact, it’s the worst. Inevitably, one of you will be sick, or super busy at work, or have a last-minute out-of-town trip pop up, and you’re going to have to make it work. So it’s best to just accept that now.
Somewhere between days 21-24 of your cycle, you’ll go back in for a blood draw to test your progesterone. About seven days after you ovulate, your progesterone spikes to at least 15 ng/mL, so that’s what they want to see.
If your progesterone levels are still low, chances are you didn’t ovulate, and you’ll need to try a higher dosage of Clomid the next month.
Most OBs will let you do 3 – 6 rounds of Clomid before sending you off to a specialist. In theory, if it’s working, it shouldn’t take longer than that to get you pregnant, so there’s no sense in wasting your time if it’s not going to work.
I only did two rounds of Clomid – one at 50 mg, one at 100 mg. The first time, my day 21 progesterone level was 2.3, and the second time it was something like 0.7. So, it was somehow making it worse, rather than better. At that point, my OB decided to cut our losses and send us off to the specialist. At the time, I felt ripped off, but in hindsight, I’m so grateful that she didn’t waste any more of our precious time.
The good news is, Clomid works for most people. It’s such an easy fix, and I have so, so many friends who have had success with it. So if you’re at this stage, chances are this is as far as you’ll have to go! If Clomid has worked for you, I would love to hear your story in the comments (and be a beacon of hope to anyone who’s about to get started with this!).
What to Expect:
- Cramping: Your ovaries may cramp up as the follicles grow, and as you ovulate. It’s a good thing – that’s how you know it’s working.
- Mood swings: I didn’t personally experience this, but a lot of people say Clomid wreaks havoc on their emotions, so you may want to preemptively apologize to your husband.
If it doesn’t work, then it’s time to start looking into Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs) – AKA, fertility doctors. This step probably feels daunting, like overkill, and like something you can’t possibly need. But I promise, you will not regret seeing an RE at this point. You’ll get such dedicated care and attention, and you’ll know that they care just as much about getting you pregnant as you do. OB/GYNs are pros at delivering babies; REs are pros at making them.
So jump on over to Stage 3: RE Consult, if you’re at that point!
*This should go without saying, but this is the internet and therefore it doesn’t: I am not a doctor and you need to consult your doctor about any kind of medical treatment.