Many women who would love to have a baby but find it difficult to get pregnant because of issues related to reproductive psychology, problems with ovulation, or blocked fallopian tubes, look for natural fertility methods.
Charting hormonal and temperature changes is a popular technique for getting natural biofeedback because fluctuations in progesterone, estrogen, and basal body temperature offer invaluable clues.
In this article, our research writers take a closer look at the efficacy of the basal body temperature fertility approach often referred to as the implantation dip.
What Is Body Basal Temperature?
Since body temperature is lowest when you’re at rest, this baseline temperature is called basal body temperature.
Low basal body temperature can be measured with a basal temperature thermometer immediately after awakening from sleep, whether it was after a long night’s rest or a deep afternoon nap if you work the night shift.
Ideally, a basal body measurement reading should be taken before doing anything else at all, including talking to someone, sitting up in bed, or getting out of bed for a minute.
If you move around too much, you will not be able to measure the temperature of your resting state.
Minimal movement before you take your temperature will provide the most accurate measurement over a number of days because basal body temperature if you conceive is high for about 18 days.
A consistently higher temperature indicates you’ve ovulated and become pregnant.
What Is an Implantation Dip on Body Basal Temperature Charts?
An implantation dip is a drop in your normal basal body temperature over the span of a day. It will occur 7-10 days after your ovulation.
Many women ask how big is an implantation dip or how many degrees is an implantation dip? It’s a small dip. Only around 0.3 degrees.
When Does Implantation Dip Occur?
An implantation dip generally occurs about 7 to 10 days after ovulation. However, it is not a definitive early sign of pregnancy.
One clear indication of pregnancy is if a blood test shows the placental hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
When your OB/GYN refers to the “pregnancy hormone,” they are talking about human chorionic gonadotropin ( hCG).
Human chorionic gonadotropin is first secreted by syncytiotrophoblast cells, which play a critical role in embryology.
Like guards at a secure facility, they only allow oxygen and nutrients to cross the placenta and prevent the entry of specific toxins and maternal hormones.
The presence of this hormone is an irrefutable sign of early pregnancy because it supports the ovarian corpus luteum, the remains of the ovarian follicle formed after ovulation.
This support, in turn, assists in the formation of the endometrial lining necessary to maintain pregnancy.
Since this hormone plays such a critical role in early detection, it’s the basis for home-kit urine tests and lab blood tests.
What Causes an Implantation Dip?
Before an implantation dip, your temperature will fall. Then after about 24 hours, it will rise again. In general, this cycle of falling and rising temperatures only lasts a day, but it could be a longer interval like two days.
So, an implantation dip is a drop in basal body temperature over the course of a single day, and it occurs about a week after ovulation. Then, after ovulation, progesterone levels increase, which, in turn, causes a rise in temperature.
Does an Implantation Dip Mean You Are Pregnant?
Is implantation dip a real thing? Pregnant women who have successfully used this method endorse it, but others share their “implantation dip, not pregnant” experience.
Here’s the thing: when it comes to human biology, mother nature often prevaricates rather than deliver an irrefutable, predictable, and reliable answer.
While physicists can affirm that gravity is an absolute physical event, biologists often shrug when it comes to predicting physiological events.
Does Implantation Dip Always Happen?
When charting body temperature, it can be a little confusing figuring out why temperature rises and falls.
For instance, is a drop-in temperature a sign of an implantation dip or period coming?
So, if you see what looks like an implementation dip, your drop in temperature could be due to some other biological event occurring.
Conversely, you may have identified an implantation dip on your fertility chart, but still not be pregnant.
The best way to get a more accurate understanding of the reasons behind temperature fluctuations is to look at the larger pattern rather than a singular event.
So, when both pregnancy and an implantation dip occur, progesterone will also cause it to rise again.
How Long After Implantation Dip Can I Test for Pregnancy?
“How long after implantation can you get a BFP?” is a common question. While it is common to get a big, fat positive (BFP) result just 24 hours after an implantation dip, it could take 48 hours for the hormone levels to show on an at-home urine test.
Is This a Reliable Way to Tell if You Are Pregnant?
While it would be nice to have a clear sign that you are pregnant based on a positive reading of your basal temperature chart, you are setting your expectations too high.
Think of your chart as showing statistical possibilities rather than an exact way to pinpoint the exact time of ovulation.
You can increase your chances of getting a more accurate statistical readout if you combine charting your basal body temperature with the use of an ovulation predictor kit, which is a home test kit to help women better understand their fertile days.
Here are some ways to find out if you have an early pregnancy:
- Get a home pregnancy test kit. It works by checking your urine for traces of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). If the result is negative, you’re not pregnant. However, these tests are not always accurate and are more reliable by taking it after you’ve missed a period.
- If you miss your expected menstrual cycle for a week or longer, you may be pregnant.
- A reliable way to tell if you are pregnant is a blood test. This can detect pregnancy at the earliest stage. After a blood test, your physician will be able to check for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which has been dubbed the pregnancy hormone. You should take this test if you’ve missed your period.
- Another reliable way is to get an early ultrasound.
- While a few symptoms could be due to some other cause, a large number of symptoms suggest that you’re pregnant. So, look for symptoms like implantation bleeding, nausea, constipation, bloating, nausea, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, tender breasts, and frequent urination.
When Is a Basal Body Temperature Chart Inaccurate?
While an ultrasound or a blood test accurately confirm ovulation, natural fertility biofeedback methods can be inaccurate because they’re based on interpreting multiple variables.
In fact, the notion of the basal body temperature rising within a day of ovulation is just an educated guess.
It’s not a probability but a possibility. A “possibility” may or may not happen, but a probability suggests a high likelihood it will happen. Many women, for example, discover that basal body temperature does not rise until two days after ovulation.
Effectiveness of Basal Body Temperature Monitoring
The efficacy of basal body temperature depends on how well a woman monitors her temperature and it is usually the most effective before she has her first child.
For your best chance of success with this method, be sure to take your temperature before you get out of bed in the morning.
Even if you just get up to go to the bathroom and then jump back into bed, that short walk will have increased your body’s temperature.
Next, get a basal body temperature thermometer. Although a regular thermometer will work, it’s not the gold standard for accurate basal body temperature monitoring because it typically cannot accurately detect such small changes in your temperature.
Finally, take your basal body temperature after a good night’s rest rather than after a long afternoon siesta. This is because you will get the best reading if you’ve had at least 3 hours of deep sleep.
Other Signs and Symptoms of Implantation
There are numerous signs and symptoms of early pregnancy:
- Implantation symptoms like implantation cramping and implantation bleeding
- Light spotting
- Mood swings
- Basal body temperature changes
- Swollen or sore breasts
- Nausea without vomiting
- Constipation or bloating
- Increased urination
However, many of these signs and symptoms could be caused by other factors, such as Illness, stress, shift work, jet lag, insomnia, medications, food allergies, alcoholic beverages, or gynecological disorders.
To add to the confusion, some women show no signs or symptoms despite implantation.
Signs and symptoms should not be considered irrefutable evidence. Still, the more you have of them, the more likely you are to be pregnant.
Should You Chart Your Basal Body Temperature?
If you want to conceive naturally, you should use natural fertility methods.
Charting your basal body temperature can work but you need to be diligent about how methodically you take your temperature.
If, for instance, you take it first thing in the morning before you get out of bed, it is more likely to be more accurate than if you moved around a bit before taking it.
It is also more likely to be accurate if you had a good night’s sleep than if you tossed and turned into the early hours of the morning.
Besides being diligent about how you measure, you should also be careful about how you interpret your records.
Usually, the most accurate interpretations are based on the length of time charting. The more months of history you have in your chart, the more changes in your temperature will be noticeable.
However, you should only use this fertility awareness method if you are diligent about charting your temperature regularly. Otherwise, it won’t work for you.
So, what exactly do you have to do to chart properly? What steps should you take? Where do you even begin?
Taking these six steps will simplify things:
- Download our free Fertility Friend charting app from the Apple App Store or Google Play on your phone. Besides helping you track your basal body temperature, it will also help you record the frequency of intercourse, cervical position (CP), and cervical mucus (CM). This app will make it easier to notice patterns and accurately analyze your fertility.
- Buy a basal thermometer for the most accurate reading. Don’t rely on your fever thermometer in your medicine chest because temperature changes are subtle; an ovulation rise will only spike about 0.3 degrees. Your regular thermometer will completely miss such a tiny change.
- Place your thermometer on your bedside table within arm’s reach so that you can use it as soon as you wake up in the morning with minimal movement to avoid raising your basal body temperature too high above rest state.
- Develop a regular time for going to bed and getting up in the morning. This will reduce the variability in your basal body temperature measurements.
- When you wake up, move as little as possible. Don’t talk, go to the bathroom, sit up in bed to check your phone, or do anything else that could raise your temperature. The only movement should be to reach for the thermometer and use it either under your tongue or vaginally. Then wait a minute or until the thermometer beeps.
- Record your temperature in your charting app before you get a chance to be distracted by anything or anyone else.
Using your basal body temperature to predict fertility can help you figure out the best days to have sexual intercourse. It’s an inexpensive way of tracking your ovulation.
It also doesn’t conflict with any religious doctrines or adversely affect women’s health. It can also tell you with reasonable accuracy if you are pregnant.
When you think about it, it’s rather an ingenious way to detect pregnancy without the use of expensive ultrasound or blood tests.
Detecting early pregnancy may be as simple as noticing a slight dip followed by a rise in basal body temperature after ovulation for a period lasting 18 days or more.
While the implantation dip method offers a good way of tracking, the sympto-thermal method might be even better for you.
This is a combination of the basal body temperature approach and the cervical mucus procedure.