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Ovulation temperature changes in basal body temperature

Updated on August 9, 2014

Whether you are trying to get pregnant or are concerned about getting pregnant, getting acquainted with your body through a better understanding of ovulation and your basal body temperature changes will turn out helpful. Fertility awareness practices using basal body temperatures have been utilized from ancient times. Your basal body temperature is the lowest temperature of your body which is recorded during sleep. You can effectively record this temperature by using a basal thermometer first thing in the morning when you wake up before you get up and start walking around and being overall active.

There are several days during your cycle during which you are infertile, and as such, not likely to conceive. These infertile days are present before ovulation (pre-ovulatory infertility) and several days after ovulation right before getting your period (post-ovulatory infertility). If you are trying to conceive, you may be interested in learning that you are fertile instead during ovulation. According to Baby Center, your most fertile stage is about five days long, taking place about three days before ovulation up until one day after. This rule though isn't set in stone; indeed, consider that certain women have reported getting pregnant as early as having intercourse six days before they ovulated!

What happens during ovulation?

Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovaries so that it can be fertilized. At the same time, the the lining of the uterus thickens so it can accommodate the fertilized egg. You will also notice the presence of a secretion resembling an egg-white which is called "Fertile cervical mucus". The purpose of this secretion is to create the right environment so to promote sperm life and to help guide the sperm through the cervix and into the uterus. Other signs of ovulation include slight pain felt on one side of your pelvis which is called mittelschmerz, the word for “middle pain” in German, tender breasts, bloating of the abdomen, increased sexual drive and heightened senses. When you are ovulating, you will witness a slight rise in temperature of about one-half to one degree Fahrenheit.This raise in temperature is triggered by hormones. It is thanks to this rise in temperature that you can take steps in increasing or decreasing your chances for getting pregnant.

Let this computer do the work for you!

Why does temperature rise during ovulation?

The rise in temperature in your body takes place so your body creates the ideal, fertile environment for the fertilized egg to thrive. This temperature increase as mentioned is triggered by the increase of the hormone progesterone. When exactly does this temperature rise take place? During pre-ovulation, that is, before you ovulate, you will have lower temperatures; whereas, about 48 hours after you ovulate the temperature rises. This rise in temperature is slight and generally consists of a 0.4 degree Fahrenheit but can be as low as 0.2 degrees or as high as 1 degree.

By understanding better the process of ovulation and the trend in temperature shifts, you can up your chances of pregnancy by having intercourse one to two days before ovulation and 24 hours afterward. The odds of getting pregnant are more in your favor during these days. In the same way, by avoiding intercourse in these days, or by using protective measures, you can reduce the chances of getting pregnant if that is your wish; however, consider that this method is not fail-proof.

Yet, statistics show that relying on electronic fertility indicators may turn out helpful. According to a study by Freundl G1, Frank-Herrmann P, Godehardt E, Klemm R, Bachhofer M, Babycomp/Ladycomp devices produced by Valley Electronics Ltd.,which combine the temperature method and calendar methods can be effective in avoiding pregnancy. It was found that after one year of use, the chances for an unintended pregnancy was 5.3% (0.053), after 2 years 6.8% (0.068) and after about 3 years of exposure it was 8.2% (0.082). According to the Lady Comp website, this device is 99.3% effective.

About basal thermometers

Why use a basal thermometer? This thermometer works best because it's capable of recording the most minimal changes in body temperature which most regular thermometers are incapable of. You can easily find these thermometers at your local pharmacy. Many of them come with a chart that is useful in recording the readings. The Baby Center website offers a free printable blank chart ready to use.

Your cycle explained

You may be aware of your cycle when you get your menstrual flow, but it may come handy knowing exactly what happens during your entire cycle which on average is about 28 days.

Day 1: The first day of your menstrual flow is the beginning of your cycle. The length of a woman's menstrual flow may vary from one individual to another. On average it last between 4 and 7 days. Menstrual flow is triggered by drops in the hormones progesterone and estrogen which cause the uterus to shed its lining and unfertilized egg.

Day 7: About 7 days after menstruation, your body prepares again in the event of a pregnancy. Your egg is again getting ready in the event it becomes fertilized.

Days 11-21: Ovulation occurs. The egg is released from the ovary and travels through the Fallopian tube all the way towards the uterus. If the egg is fertilized it will attach to the lining of the uterus and grow.

Day 28: If fertilization doesn't occur then the egg and lining of the uterus will need to be expelled. This occurs through menstrual flow.


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    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks. Good to know more about this. I do not want to get pregnant. :)