Know Your Fertility

Get pregnant naturally. Avoid pregnancy naturally.

Basal Body Temperature and Fertility

TemperatureThe body’s resting temperature increases four-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit or two-tenths of a degree Centigrade under the influence of progesterone at ovulation.

Observing this sign involves taking your temperature at the same time each morning before rising. (This is not as hard as it sounds. It takes less than two minutes and you can go back to sleep if you want.)

To observe your temperature rise, buy a BD brand digital basal thermometer. This brand will give you a consistent and accurate reading. Other high quality brands of digital basal thermometers are also probably accurate, but have not been tested for fertility awareness. Make sure the battery is good. (You can replace it.) An ordinary clinical thermometer is not accurate enough for fertility awareness. Nor is the “ear thermometer” (tympanic thermometer).

Take your temperature every day immediately upon waking, before 7:30 a.m. The body’s rhythms (circadian rhythms) fluctuate over a 24-hour period. Your temperature is lowest in the early morning and highest in the afternoon.Fluctuations are greater after 7:30 a.m. If you go to bed before midnight and wake up before 7:30 a.m., you will get the clearest temperature readings. If it is not convenient to take your temperature immediately upon waking, you may take it during light morning activity. For example, if you need to go to the bathroom, you may take your temperature while getting up and using the toilet. If you are consistently wakened by your baby, you may take your temperature while caring for your baby. But be consistent about the circumstances under which you take your temperature. If you take it during light morning activity, take it that way every morning. Don’t take it sometimes before getting up and at other times during light morning activity. If you have sexual relations, take your temperature before.

Many women find that the digital thermometers require such a short time to use that it is easy to take their temperature before getting up. Take your temperature by mouth. Under arm and ear temperatures are not accurate enough for family planning purposes. The thermometer will beep softly several times before beginning to beep slightly louder and repeatedly. Keep the thermometer under your tongue until the louder, repeated beeps begin.

You can read and chart your temperature as soon as is convenient after taking it.Your thermometer has a recall button that allows you to read the last temperature taken. Be sure to wash your thermometer after each use.

Charting Your Temperature

Put a dot on a graph on the spot corresponding to each day’s temperature. Join the dots of consecutive days. If you do not take your temperature one day, do not join the dots across that day. Also note the temperature numerically.

Interpreting Your Chart

1) Breathe and relax. Study your chart.

2) Can you find six low temperatures on or before Key Day? (If you do not know how to determine key day, you will have to read the article entitled Charting the Fertile Mucus to Avoid Pregnancy.)

3) Draw a horizontal line at the highest of the six low temperatures. This is your low temperature line. (See sample chart.)

4) Draw another horizontal line four-tenths of a degree F. or two-tenths of a degree C. above your low temperature line. This is your full thermal shift line.

5) Can you find three high temperatures after Key Day? All of the high temperatures must be above the low temperature line. At least the third high temperature must be at or above the full thermal shift line.

6) All the low temperatures must be on or before Key Day and all the high temperatures must be after Key Day. This temperature pattern of low and high temperatures is called a biphasic pattern with a full thermal shift.

A biphasic pattern with a full thermal shift confirms that you really did ovulate. If you are avoiding pregnancy, you may consider the ovum dead and yourself infertile the evening (after 6:00 p.m.) of the 4th high temperature day after Key Day. If you are achieving pregnancy, you can feel confident that you really are ovulating.

If your temperature does not rise four-tenths of a degree F. or two-tenths of a degree C. (or at least a smaller, but visible, rise) and stay there until the end of your cycle, it is called a monophasic pattern. A monophasic pattern indicates that you may not have ovulated. (Then again, you can’t be sure.)

A drop in temperature 10 – 15 days after a thermal shift indicates that menstruation is about to begin that day or within 48 hours. Probably that day. If your temperature stays high for 18 days or so after the high temperature begins, you are most likely pregnant. Congratulations.

For more information, and a sample chart for the basal body temperature, see the free download, Fertility Awareness, at www.knowyourfertility,net.

– Marie


Pregnancy Without Intercourse?

Pregnancy regularly happens without intercourse to unsuspecting couples who do not understand the function of the fertile type mucus.

Fertile mucus, produced by the cervix, is present in the woman’s body for five to six days before ovulation, as the ova are ripening. This mucus flows down the vagina to the outside of the body. The vaginal canal is normally acidic. Seminal fluid is alkaline. Sperm would normally die in the acidic environment of the vagina. However, the fertile mucus is alkaline – just like the seminal fluid, and so it protects and nourishes the sperm on their journey to the egg.

Even without ejaculation, sperm are present in the small amount of fluid produced by a tiny gland called the Cowper’s gland. Cowper’s fluid leaks out of the penis during sexual activity. Therefore, sperm are often present before ejaculation. The presence of sperm in the Cowper’s fluid may be one reason for the ineffectiveness of withdrawal as a method of birth control. Another reason may be the leaking of a drop of seminal fluid before withdrawal occurs. The first drop of seminal fluid may contain millions of sperm.

In addition, even without penetration (of the penis into the vagina,) pregnancy is possible. This is because, during the woman’s fertile mucus time, the tiny, microscopic sperm can swim from outside the vagina, into the vaginal opening, up the vagina, into the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes. There the sperm may fertilize the ovum, and pregnancy may begin. For this reason, during the woman’s fertile time, pregnancy is possible with only genital contact. Genital contact means contact of the penis near the vagina.
For more information, see the free Fertility Awareness download available on this site.

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