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Basal Body Temperature and Implantation Bleeding

Among the many signs and physical changes that women monitor when attempting to conceive, basal body temperature is one of the most popular ways to track and detect ovulation. The BBT is defined as the lowest temperature level that your body reaches within a 24-hour period. It is typically measured right after waking up, and before any physical activity or exertion takes place.

Usually the body’s temperature drops to its lowest level during sleep. However, temperature reading, taken immediately upon awakening, can provide a reasonably accurate measurement. It is best to use a special basal thermometer to take these measurements, as they are significantly more sensitive, than regular thermometers, and they are able to detect tiny temperature changes into the fractions of a degree. You can buy such ‘device’ at most drug stores. The majority of BBT thermometers include a chart, in which you can record your body’s daily temperature reading and ascertain its temperature patterns.

Among the many signs and physical changes that women monitor when attempting to conceive, basal body temperature is one of the most popular ways to track and detect ovulation. The BBT is defined as the lowest temperature level that your body reaches within a 24-hour period. It is typically measured right after waking up, and before any physical activity or exertion takes place.

Usually the body’s temperature drops to its lowest level during sleep. However, temperature reading, taken immediately upon awakening, can provide a reasonably accurate measurement. It is best to use a special basal thermometer to take these measurements, as they are significantly more sensitive, than regular thermometers, and they are able to detect tiny temperature changes into the fractions of a degree. You can buy such ‘device’ at most drug stores. The majority of BBT thermometers include a chart, in which you can record your body’s daily temperature reading and ascertain its temperature patterns.

How Ovulation Affects Basal Body Temperature

As part of a fertility awareness program, many women take their basal body temperature upon waking up for several days in a row in order to determine their specific day of ovulation. On average, ovulation will cause a rise in BBT by roughly one-half to one full degree Fahrenheit, or one-fourth to one-half of a degree Celsius. Before ovulation occurs, the typical female body temperature ranges anywhere between 97.1 and 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Roughly 2 to 3 days after ovulation, changes in hormonal activity typically cause a rise of 0.40-1 full degree in BBT.

This tendency of the body to have warmer temperatures after ovulation is referred to as a biphasic pattern. Woman’s organism simply tries to provide the best conditions for implantation. The pre-ovulation period is known as the follicular phase, and the post-ovulation period is known as the luteal phase. For women looking to get pregnant, charting the patterns of change in basal body temperature can be a good way to indicate the best days for conception (or when to abstain from having sex if pregnancy is not planned). Moreover, with this chart and period calendar it is theoretically possible to determine the so-called ‘safe’ days.

Charting Basal Body Temperature

The process of charting basal body temperature is fairly straightforward. The only thing you will need is a basal thermometer and some type of charting device – it can be as simple as using a notebook and a pen, or you can create an electronic version such as an Excel spreadsheet. Simply remember to take your temperature with the basal thermometer as soon as you wake up each morning, and then plot it on your chart. The primary thing to look for is a change of at least 0.40 degrees in your BBT after ovulation. Combining this basal charting with ovulation predictor kits will help you to pinpoint the days of the month, when you are the most fertile and have the highest chances of conceiving a child.

Basal Body Temperature and Implantation Bleeding

The implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterine lining typically takes place about 9 days after ovulation. Although the exact number of days may vary, it will occur in the fourth week of pregnancy. The process of implantation (also referred to as “trophoblast invasion”) causes a slight disruption or trauma to the uterine lining, which ruptures the local blood vessels and causes light bleeding. This is known as implantation bleeding, and it is experienced by roughly one-third of women. The bleeding is characterized by a light pink or sometimes brownish vaginal discharge, mixed in with cervical mucus. If you experience a rise in your basal body temperature about 9 or 10 days after ovulation, and you are also experiencing some implantation bleeding along with it, you have a fairly reliable indication, that you are pregnant. In most cases, you should see an increase in your BBT of at least four-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit on the low end, and up to one full degree Fahrenheit on the high end during the estimated time of implantation.

Other Factors That Can Influence Basal Body Temperature

Basal body temperature charting is not an exact science; there are a variety of factors that can influence your BBT, such as:

  • Recent discontinuation of birth control pills.
  • Illnesses or infections (with or without a fever).
  • Fever, common cold or sore throat.
  • Breastfeeding.
  • Physical stress or exertion.
  • Emotional or psychological stress, high excitement.
  • Sleep disorders or disturbances (nightmares, insomnia, etc.).
  • Inconsistent waking times.
  • Prescription or illegal drugs or medications.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Changes in external temperatures or humidity.
  • Extensive travel or jet lag.

Although none of these factors will skew your charting or analysis to the point where it is no longer reliable, great care should be taken to document any one of these moments whenever they occur. Taking meticulous notes of these aspects will greatly help you to properly interpret your BBT chart.

Cervical Mucus and Basal Body Temperature

Cervical mucus is produced in the cervix by tiny glands known as cervical crypts. One of its main functions is to act as a layer of protection to prevent bacteria from entering into the uterine cavity. It is jelly-like in substance, and changes in composition throughout the process of ovulation. Before ovulation takes place, the cervical glands produce a thin and watery version of the mucus, allowing the sperm easy access into the uterus. After ovulation, the hormone progesterone is produced in increasing amounts, which thickens the mucus and creates a barrier that prevents any more sperm from passing through.

Ovulation can often be approximated by closely monitoring the appearance and texture of cervical mucus discharge. The act of analyzing the quality and composition of cervical mucus in order to track ovulation is known as cervical scoring. Combining cervical scoring with BBT charting over a period of a few months can give you enough information to determine a fairly reliable window of time, during which ovulation will take place. Fertility is at its highest level during the five-day span that surrounds your ovulation date (from three days prior to ovulation until one day following).

Some women definitely enjoy the process of BBT charting because it can help them to gain a better understanding of their body’s cycles. The others usually feel overwhelmed by the entire ordeal. It is important not to add any further stress to the process of conception, so for many women, utilizing an ovulation predictor kit may be the best way to go; just be aware that it can become expensive to do so. Many experts state that if you simply have sex at least twice a week, you should be fine. The important thing to remember is that the entire process of conception is intended to be a joy and not a burden. The best course of action will always be the one that fits your particular situation.

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