FAQ's about TTC and BBT and CM charting


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Nov 7, 2007
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Hi everyone :wave: I found this on a website and thought it answered alot of interesting questions and informed me of a few things I didnt know so thought Id share it with you all :D :

If everything spills out after intercourse, is conception possible?
This is the "most frequently asked question" so here's the scoop:
If you stay prone (lying down) for 20 minutes after intercourse, the only thing that "spills out" is seminal fluid and abnormal sperm.
Normal sperm is ejaculated into the vagina and immediately travels into the cervix (safe haven from the acidic environment of the vagina). (vagina - cervix - uterus "VCU")
Seminal fluid is the medium that carries the sperm out of the body.
Abnormal/malformed sperm are not able to advance through the net-like mucus (ferning) which we know as Egg White Cervical Mucus EWCM).

How do I chart my basal body temperature?
Your BBT is taken first thing in the morning before getting out of bed, after a minimum of three consecutive hours of sleep. Your temperature should be taken at about the same time every morning, preferably within an hour or so. It is usually taken orally, but can be taken vaginally. By charting your BBT’s you can determine if you’ve ovulated and how long your luteal phase is. Temperature ranges very tremendously but are typically between 96.5 - 97.5 before ovulation and 97.5 - 98.6 after ovulation. The high levels of estrogen causes the temperatures to be low before ovulation. Following ovulation, progesterone levels rise causing temperatures to rise as well.

What is a thermal shift and what does it mean?

The thermal shift will occur the day after ovulation due to an increase in progesterone levels. The temperature will rise 0.2-0.5 degrees. The presence of the thermal shift is a good indicator that ovulation has already occurred.

What is a slow-riser?

In some women, the thermal shift may be gradual over several days. They a called slow-risers, which means that it took a little longer for progesterone levels to rise high enough for temperatures to become elevated. This is a normal finding and does not affect fertility.

What is better - a glass or digital thermometer?

Either thermometer is acceptable to use as long as it is a basal thermometer and not a fever thermometer. Digital thermometers measure to the one-tenth degree whereas most fever thermometers measure in two-tenth degree increments. Glass thermometers must be kept in for 5 minutes, digital thermometers will give a reading in one minute. If you are getting erratic temperatures with digital you may want to compare them to a glass thermometer, since the glass thermometer can be more reliable.

What is a “fallback” temperature?
Some women may see a drop in temperature the day or two after the thermal shift. It is likely due to a surge of estrogen. This is normal and does not affect fertility. It should rise again the next day.

If I’m not pregnant, when will my temperatures drop?
If conception and implantation did not occur in a cycle, the BBT will drop near or below coverline the day before or the day of the start of AF. This is due to the degradation of the corpus luteum and the subsequent drop in progesterone levels.

Is it necessary to take BBT’s during AF?
No, it is not necessary to take BBT’s during AF. Most women will do them to stay in the habit of charting. Temperatures can be erratic during AF due to residual progesterone levels.

How do I determine my coverline?
Following the thermal shift, look at the preceding six temperatures. Take the highest of these six temperatures and add one-tenth to it. This is your coverline.

Why is my coverline important?
Once the coverline is determined, you will be able to differentiate between preovulatory and postovulatory temperatures. While it is not critical to determine your coverline for pregnancy achievement, it will allow you to see more easily when you ovulated.

What is a triphasic BBT pattern?
A triphasic pattern is when a second thermal shift is seen around the time of implantation of the embryo. The second thermal shift is due to increased progesterone levels from the presence of the embryo.

What does 18 days of high BBT’s mean?
If your temperature has remained above your coverline for 18 or more days, you are most likely pregnant. Rarely, a corpus luteum cyst will cause elevated temperatures in a cycle where conception did not occur. It is important to make sure you knew exactly when ovulation and the thermal shift occurred so the count will be accurate. Not all women ovulate on Day 14!

What is green tea used for?
Green tea contains chemicals which are antioxidants. We hope by drinking a cup or two every day to ensure a healthy egg and embryo. Green tea contains very little caffeine.

What is Robitussin used for?

Robitussin is a brand name of a product that is based on guaifenesin, an expectorant. There are other guaifenesin based cough syrups also (Equate also has one). It is used in TTC to thin the CM mucus to make it more sperm-friendly. 1-2 tsp. twice daily until ovulation. Make sure the product only contains guaifenesin without added decongestants or antihistamines, which could dry your CM.
BEWARE:Dextromethorphan, an ingredient in some cough medicines, may cause birth defects.

What is vitamin B6 used for?

B6 is used while TTC to normalize hormonal levels and may increase your LP. The dose is 100 mg once daily. You may want to check with your doctor before taking megadoses of any vitamin.

What is Evening Primrose Oil used for?
EPO is used to increase the amount of EWCM. The dose is 3000 mg once daily. Discontinue EPO when your thermal shift occurs as it can cause uterine contraction which may hinder implantation of the embryo in the uterus. It can be found at most health food stores, grocery stores, and here in "The Store" on the Vitamins and Herbs page.

What is the luteal phase?
The LP is the number of days from ovulation until the start of AF. Typically, it is 12-16 days in length and does not vary by more than a day in each person. An LP shorter than 12 days is called LPD (luteal phase deficiency) and is due to early breakdown or the corpus luteum. LPD is a cause of infertility and your doctor should be consulted for treatment options.

Can I use artificial lubricants?
The use of artificial lubricants should be avoided while TTC. They maybe harmful to sperm. The only lubricant safe to use is Pre-seed. Some women suggest using raw egg-white as a lubricant, although it may pose a risk for infection if it is contaminated. Drinking plenty of water and taking Robitussin and/or EPO may help you produce more CM.

What positions are best for TTC?

The missionary position with man on top is reported to be the best at depositing the sperm close to the cervix. Other positions include “doggy style” with the man entering from behind. Woman on top is the worst position due to the effects of gravity.

What should I do after DTD?
Some women suggest staying in bed with a pillow under their hips or legs raised in the “bicycle” position for at least 20 minutes after sex. Others say it makes no difference if you get up right away. The choice is yours!

Why are Kegel Exercises important?
Besides increasing vaginal muscle tone, Kegels can be performed several hours after sex to expel any residual sperm in the vagina, which may make CM analysis confusing. Kegels are done by contracting and releasing the vaginal muscles (as you would if you had to stop urinating).

How do I check my CM?
Cervical mucous can be checked either externally, at the vaginal opening, or internally, at the cervix. Rub the CM between two fingertips to evaluate its texture and consistency. CM is absent or sticky after AF. Then, as ovulation nears, it will change to creamy or lotiony, then to the consistency of raw egg-white. EW CM may be stretched one or more inches between your fingertips and is considered the most fertile of all types of CM.

How to I check my CP?
Your cervical position should be checked daily (or more often at or near ovulation). It is firm (like the tip of your nose), low, closed, and dry during your infertile days. As ovulation nears, it will become soft (like your lips), high, open, and wet (SHOW). When this happens, your are considered very fertile, especially if you have EWCM as well. It will quickly return to its infertile state after ovulation and remain there for the rest of the cycle. CP can be checked while sitting on the toilet or squatting in the shower, just be consistent how you check. Insert one or two fingers in the vagina until the cervix can be felt and evaluated.

How often should I BD?

This is a tough question and it depends on you and your DH’s combined fertility. Generally, if your DH has a normal sperm count and quality, you can BD every day you have fertile CM. If he is marginal or low, or you fail to conceive after several cycles of this, then you may want to try every other day. One theory suggests you abstain for 3-5 days before your fertile days, then BD every day beginning two days before O’ing (or you get a positive OPK) for 3 days in a row. There is no right answer to this question, except you should BD on your peak day.

How do I use OPK’s?
OPK’s are used to help predict when ovulation will occur. The day you start testing depends on the length of your cycle. Women with a 28 day cycle are urged to begin testing on Day 11. OPK’s detect and increase in LH, which will “surge” 12-36 hours prior to ovulation. It is important to test at the same time every day after not urinating for 4 hours. It is best not to use first morning urine but to test between 10 am and 8 pm. Because the amount of liquid you drink can affect your urine’s concentration, it’s important to be consistent about the amount you drink during the days you are using OPK’s. An OPK is not considered positive until the test line is the same or darker than the control. Once a positive is seen, there is no need to test on subsequent days. It is important to remember that ovulation may not occur after an LH surge. Stress, illness, travel, and other causes may delay ovulation. You can only be certain that ovulation has occurred once the thermal shift is seen.

Should I take prenatal vitamins before becoming pregnant?
Yes, although it doesn’t have to be prescription prenatal vitamins. An over-the-counter multivitamin with 400 mcg folic acid and no megadoses of other vitamins is recommended in women TTC. Folic acid is crucial to prevent neural tube defects in the developing embryo. The neural tube is formed at a time when most women do not even realize they are pregnant, so it is a good idea to be taking supplements as soon as possible, preferably beginning up to 3 months before TTC.

Can I ovulate more than once per cycle?
Yes, it is possible to ovulate twice but it will occur within 24 hours of each other. Some experts suggest BD the day of your thermal shift in case a second ovulation has occurred.

How can I conceive a girl?
To improve your chances for conceiving a girl, you should BD a 4 to 2 days prior to ovulation, and abstain two days before and day of ovulation. This will allow the slower, longer-lived, female sperm to be ready for fertilization when ovulation does occur. Conceiving a girl is more difficult since you are abstaining on your peak fertility day.

How can I conceive a boy?

Time BD to occur the day before and the day of ovulation. This will allow the faster male sperm to get to the egg first.

When is Day 1 of my cycle?
Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of red menstrual flow, not any spotting that may precede AF.

Which HPT is the best to use?
All urine HPT’s can be used on the first day of your missed AF. However, the sensitivity level varies from brand to brand. Below is a list of some of the available HPT’s and what level of hCG they detect.

HPT Brand HCG, mIU/ml

Lifesign = 25
One Step Be Sure = 25
Self Care = 25
Clear Blue Easy = 50
EPT = 50
First Response= 50
Equate = 100
Answer = 100
Conceive = 100
Precise = 100
Q-Test = 100

What should happen at a preconception doctor’s visit?
A preconception visit to your doctor should include a medical history, complete physical examination, including Pap smear, blood tests to check for immunity to Rubella, Toxoplasmosis, or other diseases that may affect pregnancy, and advice on what type of vitamins to take. The doctor can also discuss their philosophy on trying to conceive and what you can do to improve your chances.

How can I tell if I’m having an anovulatory cycle?
An anovulatory cycle occurs when an egg is not released. The BBT’s will be erratic and show no thermal shift. The length of the cycle can be normal, long, or short. The menstrual flow can be light or heavy. Causes for an anovulatory cycle are illness, travel, stress, coming off of birth control pills or Depo Provera, strenuous exercise, and sudden weight loss or gain.

What are signs that I’m ovulating?
Some women may have ovulatory pain or spotting. Other signs may include a SHOW CP, temperature dip, and EWCM. Also, breast tenderness, increased sexual feelings, abdominal bloating, and irritability may be signs of ovulation.

When does the embryo implant in the uterus?
Typically, implantation occurs from 7 -14 days after conception. Symptoms can range from none to cramping and spotting.

How early after conception can I test?
Most urine tests will detect a positive on the first day AF is due, although the more sensitive tests will detect hCG as early as 10 dpo (Equate brand). Blood tests can detect hCG levels as early as 7 dpo.

What are signs of pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure if conception has occurred until a positive HPT is seen. Common symptoms include sore breasts and nipples, nausea, fatigue, backache, food and smell aversions, triphasic temperatures, creamy or yellowish CM, implantation spotting, cramping, frequent urination, and irritability. It is important to remember that early pregnancy can have no symptoms at all!!

When is my peak fertility day?
Your peak day is the last day of your wettest CM. No matter what BD regimen you are following, it should include you peak day (unless you’re trying to conceive a girl).

Why take baby aspirin?
Well, I believe it does suppress natural killer cells in the uterus, so it is used for those with immune problems. It has other effects on the immune system that I don't fully understand - I will try to find out more. But, it also improves blood flow to the ovaries, improving follicle development, and improves blood flow to the uterus, improving the quality of the uterine lining. This increases the odds that implantation will be successful. Also, during pregnancy, it will help to prevent mc or fetal demise in those prone to blood clots. Having blood clots form in the placenta and/or umbilical cord in the cause of many of these pg losses.

There's a great article in People magazine about a women who had failed many IVF, presumably due to a weak uterine lining. Her sister agreed to be a surrogate but they also decided to give both women a few embryos. They both got pregnant. They said they don't know why this worked when all other attempts had failed but they think it was due to her starting to take baby aspirin 2 weeks before the transfer.

A good friend of mine just got pregnant after 10+ years of infertility (PCOS). It was a complete surprise. They were even using condoms!! But, they only thing different she did was she started taking daily aspirin for an unrelated reason several weeks before conception!

My clinic has also given their blessing for me to take it.

So, in light of this recent evidence, I am now an advocate for its use!
WOW.............. excellent stuff, thanks for posting this.

Can we make this a sticky please.
Thank you for posting! that was interesting to read. Like Gypsy said can we put it as a sticky please :D

Thanks Dr Loola

After all that I MUST CONCIEVE!!!!!!!!!!

You are now a fertility doctor :cheer:
CazH said:
Thanks Dr Loola

After all that I MUST CONCIEVE!!!!!!!!!!

You are now a fertility doctor :cheer:

Haha! If I was Id have bloody made myself pregnant somehow by now! :wall:
However, a Dr of Copying and Pasting I am! :lol:
Nice one Loola... i noticed your sig says you're testing tomorrow - Good luck!!!!! :pray: :hug:
Thanks Notty :hug: I have already tested... twice! BFN both times, not surprised at all as I have no symptoms other than that AF is on her way.
theres some really usefull stuff there thanks loola :D xxxxxxx
Wow very interesting :hug:

Does anyone here drink green tea?

Whats it like?
That's really useful, thanks Loola.

Tasha - Green Tea's quite bitter, some people love it but I'm not that keen. You can get different flavours though which are nicer.
I haven't taken green tea as well, but would wish to take once no matter what the taste is.
Thank you for posting this...it's answered so many of my questions.

I drink green tea with peppermint, it's lovely, takes that bitter edge off and is great for aiding digestion. It is an acquired taste but this one is really nice.
Thanks for the information Loola. Well, I'm still a little confuse about how to conceive a boy but I'll try my best to understand it. If you could give more information that would be greatly appreciated :)

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