Thursday, May 15, 2008

Basal Body Temperature Charting for Conception

So you’ve made the decision. You and your partner have decided to start a family. If you’re like most couples, you’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying not to conceive; be prepared, it might take more time, energy, and perseverance, to get that baby started. While being conscious of lifestyle (i.e. health, exercise, diet, etc.) is necessary, there are other things that a woman can do to know her body better and help to maximize the chances of conceiving. Guys, you have your own health considerations to consider, but it is important to keep in mind that charting basal body temperature in order to conceive a child is the first effort made when a pregnancy does not occur naturally. It can be an arduous and frustrating endeavor at times, and the woman usually feels the brunt of responsibility for success in determining and interpreting the parameters necessary to achieve a budding pregnancy.

Most women are well familiar with their menstrual cycle inasmuch as they know when it begins due to the beginning flow of their period. Knowing when ovulation occurs requires more attention and observation. This observation of changes in body temperature as an indicator of ovulation is known as Basal Body Temperature Charting. Let’s start by looking at the monthly menstrual cycle itself. The cycle can be observed as two halves: the first part being the follicular phase, the second, the luteal phase. During the follicular, or proliferative phase, follicles that have been growing in the uterus for much of the year mature and begin to compete with each other for dominance. As estrogen levels increase, the clear follicular winner (or sometimes two) emerges. Estrogen, oft described as a “cool” hormone in temperature, is secreted at highest levels during the follicular phase, and lowers a woman’s body temperature minutely. For this to be adequately observed, a digital thermometer is a necessity, for the difference is in the decimals, and body temperature should be taken orally (vaginally for more precision) at the same time each morning, before ingesting anything. This observation should be recorded on a daily chart, and on a month-to-month basis, a discernable pattern should emerge. The second half of the cycle, the luteal, or secretory phase, begins as the follicle is released, usually 6 to 7 days after the temperature drop. Progesterone, a “warm” hormone, then takes over, and a woman’s body temperature can be observed to rise .2 degrees higher than the temperatures of the previous 6 days. This temperature will then stay elevated for at least 3 consecutive days, denoting that ovulation has truly occurred. Charting this temperature rise, and keeping in mind the temperature drop, can help better discern when ovulation occurs, and allow a couple to pinpoint the times and days to have intercourse and better their chances of conceiving.

Observing basal temperature, though, admittedly tedious, is a viable non-medical, intervention-free tool at a couple’s disposal when attempting conception. The best a male (or non prospective child bearing partner) can do during this time is listen and be supportive; otherwise, the charting and observation that most always falls to the female can often result in feelings of isolation and insularity to the burden bearing partner.

About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of ovulation testing. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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