Temperature rise after ovulation sign of pregnancy

Temperature rise after ovulation sign of pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting yet confusing period for expectant mothers. This is because the body undergoes many changes. A lot of first time mothers are unsure about the body changes to expect and this could lead to a lot of confusion and anxiety. One of the major changes that takes place is a rise in body temperature.

The best time to identify your average basal body temperature (BBT) is in the morning before you leave bed. There are three ways to monitor your BBT and these are through the rectum, vagina or mouth. For consistent results, you should take your BBT daily at the same time. That said, the average basal temperature for humans is 98.6º F. Read on to learn how your body temperature changes during pregnancy and what you can do about it.

Body Temperature During Pregnancy

If you notice a rise in your BBT two weeks after ovulation, chances are high that you have conceived. This is one of the first signs of pregnancy even before the missed period sign. Although pregnancy affects the BBT, this is only experienced during the first trimester.

Causes of Rise in Body Temperature During Pregnancy

Why does your temperature rise? Well, this could be due to two reasons. The first is an increase in your metabolic rate. The body naturally recognizes that it now has to take care of two and it increases its normal activity thus leading to a higher body temperature. Another reason is the hormonal changes that occur in the woman’s body. These hormonal changes lead to effects similar to hot flushes which increase the BBT.

How High Does the Body Temperature During Pregnancy Rise?

The rise is however not too high and on average your BBT will only rise by 0.4ºF. If for example your average BBT is 98.6ºF, it would rise to 99ºF and this rise could continue for the first few months of pregnancy. If you do not conceive, your temperature will go down to normal during menstruation.

Other Considerations

A rise in body temperature could also be a sign of sickness. If you notice the rise in your BBT and begin to feel as though you are coming down with illness, you need to call your doctor.

Sometimes, your body temperature could be due to lifestyle changes and the activities you partake while pregnant. Insomnia, stress, exercise, caffeinated beverages and hot humid weather all could increase your body temperature.

How to Get Relief

You can avoid overheating by staying away from hot, humid environments such as saunas and hot tubs. Also dress in clothes that allow proper circulation of air and exercise in areas that have proper ventilation as well. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and you can take up activities such as yoga to ease stress.

Warning: When to See a Doctor

Watch out for extremely high temperature changes. A fever that exceeds 101ºF (or 38 degrees Celsius) should be cause for concern while pregnant. It could be a symptom of an infection and this could affect your unborn child.

A fever that is accompanied by symptoms such as joint pain and rashes could be a sign of parvovirus, toxoplasma and cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV can be dangerous and it is one of the major causes of congenital deafness. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon and it is important that you seek immediate medical attention when you experience flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems and joint aches. Also, get your annual flu vaccine.

The Link Between Body Temperature, Ovulation, and Pregnancy

You may have heard that your body temperature can somehow tell you whether you are ovulating or pregnant. You’re intrigued, and now you want to know more. The good news is that it’s true! Ovulation and pregnancy both affect your body temperature, and charting your temperature daily can reveal whether these events occur. Charting your body temperatures can also reveal weakened hormones or other health concerns, affecting your fertility and the length of your cycles.

Keeping track of your daily body temperature is useful information to those who simply want to know more about their cycles, those who wish to avoid pregnancy, and those who are trying to achieve pregnancy.

Male and Female

When a woman’s body is maturing egg cells, the body is cooled by the affects of estrogen. Likewise, when a man’s body is maturing sperm cells (which is all of the time!), they are cooled by the scrotum, which removes the testicles away from the heat of the body. It seems these cells like to mature a little cooler than all other cells in the body!

Phases of the Female Cycle

In order to understand the link between your body temperature and ovulation, you’ll also need to know a little bit about the female menstrual cycle. A new cycle begins with menstruation (having your period), which is the result of your hormones dropping after the previous cycle.

After your period, the pituitary gland in your brain sends hormones to the ovaries to begin ripening a few egg cells. Egg cells are each kept in their own follicle in the ovary, and thus the hormone that begins to ripen them is called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). This phase of the cycle is called the Follicular Phase. As these follicles ripen, they release Estrogen. This hormone has a cooling effect on the body and lowers your overall temperature.

The estrogen created by the ripening eggs eventually triggers the pituitary gland to create Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which in turn causes the most mature egg to burst from the ovary, known as ovulation. The body is now in the Luteal Phase, which lasts only 12-16 days in a healthy individual. Within 24 hours of ovulation, the burst follicle (now known as the corpus luteum) begins producing the hormone Progesterone. As opposed to estrogen, Progesterone has a warming effect on the body and raises your internal temperature.

Now if pregnancy does not take place, then the progesterone-emitting follicle will die after 12-16 days and the hormone levels will fall (along with your temperature), causing the body to shed the uterine lining during menstruation. If pregnancy does occur, then the fertilized egg produces hormones to begin the the process of pregnancy. When an egg is fertilized and pregnancy takes place, your body temperature remains raised at or higher than levels during the luteal phase.

So, your body temperature is affected by your cycle in these ways:

  • Estrogen cools the body temperature before ovulation
  • Progesterone warms the body temperature after ovulation and until menstruation
  • Pregnancy will maintain the warmer body temperature until birth

How Long are the Two Phases?

The Follicular Phase (pre-ovulation) has great variability in how many days it can last. Many factors such as stress, health, and diet can affect its length. It can range from being less than two weeks long to being several months long, and change from cycle to cycle. This is the number one reason why many women have “short”, “long”, or “missed” cycles. (They’re not missing cycles at all, really, just experiencing very long cycles).

The Luteal Phase (post-ovulation), on the other hand, is much more consistent. A healthy luteal phase is always between 12-16 days long. The lifespan of the egg cells and the follicle dictate this, and is common to all women. Shorter luteal phases indicate poor hormone levels, and longer ones either indicate pregnancy or ovarian cysts.

Warm or Cool: It’s all Relative

So what does it mean that these hormones “warm” and “cool” your body temperature? While 98.6 Fahrenheit is often cited as the human body temperature, it is just an average daytime temperature. Some people’s temperatures are a little lower or a little higher than 98.6, and it varies a little day by day, depending on your health, sleep, cycle, and activities.

The best way to keep track of your temperature is to chart your basal body temperature. This is your body’s temperature as soon as you’ve woken from a night’s sleep. Every night your body temperature dips, and taking your temperature the moment you awake will avoid many factors that change your temperature during the day, such as eating, activity, stress, bathing, and more. Without these daytime activities to complicate your charts, you can easily see your temperatures rise and fall with your cycle.

Each day your temperature will vary within a few tenths of a degree. During a given phase however, whether follicular or luteal, there will be a noticeable range that your temperature tends to stay in. Then, when you switch into a different phase, the temperatures will move into an entirely different range of temperatures. Even though any given day may be slightly higher than the one before, ALL the days in the luteal phase will be higher than ALL the days in the follicular phase, with few exceptions. Take a look at the chart below to see how the daily changes differ from the change in range between the two phases.

  • When the luteal phase begins at ovulation, your temperature will rise and remain high for 12-16 days. A single day with a high temperature does not indicate ovulation.
  • When the follicular phase begins with menstruation, your temperatures will drop and remain low.
  • The change in temperature is clear enough that a horizontal “cover-line” can be drawn, separating the two ranges of temperatures

Sometimes there are a few days with higher temperatures during your period due to residual hormones from the last cycle, but these will fall again as soon as bleeding ends. The follicular phase will then remain cool until ovulation.

A chart showing clear change in temperature at ovulation and menstruation

To draw a cover-line like you see above and distinguish between the temperatures of the follicular and luteal phases, follow these steps:

  • Identify the day your temperature rises at least two tenths of a degree higher than the previous six days.
  • Count back the six days before the rise, identify the highest day of those six, and draw a horizontal line one tenth of a degree above it. This cover-line will change slightly from cycle to cycle.
  • With few exceptions, the luteal phase will remain above this cover-line. If it does not, then you may have misidentified the day of ovulation.
  • Anovulation

    Anovulation is the absence of ovulation, where an egg is not released and the hormones do not enter the luteal phase. Anovulation is essentially a prolonged follicular phase.

    Anovulation may or may not occur with Amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstrual bleeding. Some women can go months without experiencing a “period”, although they are not pregnant. Many health issues and hormonal imbalances can result in amenorrhea.

    Not all women realize, however, that having an apparent “period” does not guarantee that ovulation has taken place. If a woman is anovulatory, her hormones can still periodically weaken, resulting in the shedding of the uterine lining as a “period”. Or the prolonged follicular phase builds the uterine lining until it cannot structurally support itself, and it breaks down. These are not true “menstrual periods” because a full cycle has not taken place. Without any other information, however, these women believe they are having periods and may not realize that they might be anovulatory.

    Charting your basal body temperature is the best and easiest way to determine if you are ovulating. If you find or suspect that you are anovulatory, your chart will not show a clear and sustained rise in temperatures, whether or not you are experiencing apparent “periods”. Tracking your temperature may relieve some of the uncertainty for women who have irregular periods or very long cycles by providing a little bit of insight into what is going on. If you are concerned about your fertility, then discovering an anovulatory chart can signal a need for dietary changes or a health check-up.

    • Anovulation can be identified in a chart with no clear and sustained rise in temperatures.
    • Anovulatory cycles can result is seemingly regular “periods”, or last for months with irregular or no periods.
    • Improving diet and health can strengthen your hormone levels so that ovulation naturally occurs again

    An anovulatory chart showing no clear or sustained change in temperature


    Any luteal phase lasting longer than 16 days indicates pregnancy. Rarely, however, a longer luteal phase may occur with the presence of an ovarian cyst that continues to emit progesterone. If your luteal phase has lasted longer than 16 days but a pregnancy tests reads “negative”, wait a few days and take another test. If it still reads negative, a gynecologist can perform an ultrasound and determine if pregnancy or an ovarian cyst is lengthening your luteal phase. Many cysts resolve on their own, others may require intervention.

    Temperature and Pregnancy

    Remember that I said the luteal (post-ovulation) phase only lasts 12-16 days? This fact is common to all women, and only severe hormonal imbalances will change it. A luteal phase that lasts longer than 16 days almost certainly means that the woman is pregnant. Rarely, an ovarian cyst can cause the luteal phase to lengthen.

    If pregnancy occurs, your body temperature will remain raised because the fertilized egg creates progesterone and the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), keeping you warm, building the uterine lining, and preventing menstruation. Your temperature will remain raised until the end of the pregnancy.

    Often pregnant women will experience a “tri-phasic” temperature shift, where there are three distinct temperature ranges, rather than the typical two. The “third” temperature phase usually occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, about a week after ovulation, and is likely due to the increased hormones that are being produced. The tri-phasic pattern is not a necessary symptom of pregnancy and does not always occur. If you see this distinct temperature shift and your temperatures remain high for more than 16 days, then you can be sure of pregnancy. The colored chart below shows this pattern.

    • Any luteal phase (with raised temperatures) that lasts longer than 16 days indicates pregnancy
    • Sometimes a “tri-phasic” temperature pattern will be apparent with pregnancy

    Temperature charts showing pregnancy

    Can I take my temperature and know if I am pregnant?

    No! Remember, “high and low” is completely relative, and you need context to know what your temperature is telling you. You cannot take a single temperature one day and determine if it is “high” or “low”.

    Furthermore, even if you are convinced your temperature is “high”, you will not know if it is high merely because you are in your post-ovulation, luteal phase (but not pregnant!) or if the luteal phase has continued into pregnancy. Nor can you determine that your period is “late” unless you have charted your entire cycle. Cycles can easily vary from the past, and unless you track your temperatures you will not know if it’s due to a prolonged follicular phase or due to pregnancy. You need to have been charting your temperature throughout your cycle to accurately use it to determine your current state.

    If you have not been charting your temperatures but suspect you are pregnant, take a pregnancy test or visit your gynecologist.

    What Else Can Your Temperature Tell You?

    Besides ovulation and pregnancy, there are a few other things that charting your basal body temperature can tell you.

    • Low temperatures, below about 97.5 and into the 96’s, usually indicates hypothyroidism.
    • Very high temperatures might indicate hyperthyroidism, adrenal issues, or other health issues.
    • Predicting when you will menstruate: this only works for women who are ovulating. Once you have ovulated, you know that you will menstruate in 12-16 days (assuming pregnancy does not occur).
    • Low hormone levels: you will see this as luteal phases that are shorter than 12 days, prolonged follicular phases, or anovulatory cycles. Low hormone levels may make it more difficult to become pregnant and/or increase the risk of miscarriage.

    Find a Basal Thermometer to Start Charting:

    Learn About FA & Charting

    How To Keep Track of Your Temperature

    Charting your basal body temperature is really very easy. Find a thermometer that is specifically labeled “basal”. These thermometers have a shorter range (typically stopping around 100 degrees) but are more accurate within that range. Keep this thermometer at your bedside and get into the habit of taking your temperature as soon as you’ve woken up, while you are still laying down. Try to take it at the same time every day. It’s okay if you forget to some days in the beginning, as long as you are committed to remembering it in the long run. If you wake up to an alarm clock, place the thermometer next to or on the alarm so that it is right next to your hand when you turn off the alarm. Do whatever makes sense to your wake-up routine.

    If you want to chart your temperatures, I suggest looking into the Fertility Awareness Method. This method will lay out all the rules on how to recognize ovulation and other conditions through your temperatures, plus many more signs. Fertility Awareness is a method where you gather daily information and use it to be aware of your cycle and fertility. This method can be used simply for information purposes, or to help prevent or even achieve pregnancy. By learning Fertility Awareness you will learn a lot more about your body and cycle than is written in this article. Even if you choose to only look at your temperatures, FAM is a very helpful tool. The article on the right is an introductory article on FAM for those who would like to learn more.

    If you would like to start tracking your temperatures, use the other article on the right to find a chart that works for you.

    • Use a basal body thermometer to take your temperature every morning, as soon as you’ve woken up.
    • Use a chart from the article on the right to records your temperatures.
    • Day 1 is the first day of your period, where bright red blood is present. When your next period begins, start a new chart with Day 1.
    • If ovulating, draw a cover-line according to the steps written previously in this article. The cover-line should be one tenth of a degree higher than the six days preceding the rise (ovulation).
    • If ovulation has occurred, the following days will remain above the cover-line. If they do not, then you have either not ovulated, or are seeing the symptoms of poor hormone levels. Turn to Fertility Awareness for explanations of confusing cycles.
    • Pregnancy is indicated by luteal (higher temperatures) phases lasting longer than 16 days. Always confirm pregnancy with a test or a visit to your gynecologist.

    A brief outline of ‘why basal body temperature is used as a fertility indicator’ is given below on this page.

    Click on any of the following headings listed below for further information on basal body temperature.

    Why is Basal Body Temperature (BBT) used as a fertility indicator?

    Both Dr W. Squire, London in 1868, and Dr Mary Putnam Jacobi, Philadelphia independently in 1878 noted that the early morning temperature, (basal body temperature, see below), in women of child-bearing age was higher during part of the menstrual cycle but they did not know the reason for this. In 1904, Van de Velde in Holland noted that the rise in temperature (‘thermal shift’) is due to ovulation, (release of an egg), and in 1928 he pointed out that the rise in BBT is due to progesterone secretion from the corpus luteum in the ovary, (see below).

    The rise in basal body temperature (BBT), called the ‘thermal shift’ is the sign of ovulation. When the woman takes and records her temperature every day during the cycle and if she has ovulated in that cycle, the record shows that the temperature is low in the first part of the cycle before ovulation, and high in the second part of the cycle after ovulation. This temperature pattern showing a phase when the temperature is low followed by a phase when the temperature is higher is called a biphasic temperature pattern and is the pattern typically seen in the menstrual cycle when ovulation has occurred.

    WHAT CAUSES THE RISE IN TEMPERATURE AFTER OVULATION ? After the ovum (egg) is released from the ovary (i.e. ovulation), the cells lining the ruptured ovarian follicle remaining in the ovary become a small gland called the corpus luteum which secretes the hormone progesterone. The rise in basal body temperature is due to progesterone and therefore the ‘thermal shift’ as defined by the NFP Rules indicates ovulation has occurred as progesterone is present only after ovulation.

    To be most effective , the woman must be taught the symptothermal double-check method of Natural Family Planning by a qualified natural family planning teacher.

    EWCM After Ovulation – What Does it Mean?

    Before, during and after ovulation, your body’s hormone levels fluctuate greatly. Estrogen (or Oestrogen) and progesterone levels rise and fall resulting in different frequencies and types of cervical mucus.

    Normally, the body prepares itself for ovulation by producing a particular type of mucus called EWCM (egg white cervical mucus).

    Every woman’s cervix produces different kinds of mucus at each stage in her cycle. The purpose of most of the mucus produced is to maintain a healthy pH balance in the womb and ensure that you are not at risk of infections or vaginal dryness.​

    • EWCM differs in that its purpose is primarily to prepare the cervix and uterus for conception and pregnancy.
    • It has a unique texture and chemical make-up which facilitates sperm reaching the egg in the fallopian tube.​

    However, EWCM is usually only produced at a certain point in a woman’s cycle –what does it mean if your body is producing EWCM irregularly?

    Read on to find out what’s normal and what you need to be on the lookout for. ​

    What is EWCM?​

    EWCM is an important part of a woman’s cycle; it is usually produced right before ovulation and acts as a protector for sperm. It differs to usual cervical mucus in that it is far clearer and stretchier and acts as the perfect vehicle for sperm in the cervix.

    • The “egg-white” texture of the mucus facilitates the movement of the sperm up the fallopian tube and ensures the longest possible “life-expectancy” of the sperm.
    • Without EWCM, sperm wouldn’t normally live past an hour in the cervix, thus making EWCM an extremely fertile mucus to facilitate conception.​

    It is caused by an increase in your body’s estrogen levels; before ovulation, your body releases a hormone called estrogen which prepares your body and your uterus for pregnancy.

    It is responsible for ensuring the lining of the womb is a fertile habitat for an embryo and ensures the breasts and bone density are healthy and ready to care for a baby!​

    Interestingly, your uterus is not the most habitable place for sperm.

    The uterus has a pH level that is too low for sperm to survive. This ensures that only the strongest sperm will make it to the egg. However, the body does facilitate this with the production of EWCM.

    The pH of EWCM helps to balance the acidity levels in the uterus and cervix to ensure that conception can take place more easily.​

    How Do I Know I am Producing EWCM?​

    A quick test is to work out when you usually ovulate – for most women this is around 10-16 days before the beginning of their period. Your temperature will usually rise after ovulation and cervical mucus will dry up.

    Once you know you are ovulating, you may notice a change in your cervical mucus to EWCM. The mucus will be far stretchier and, quite simply, will resemble egg-whites.

    The texture will be different to normal cervical mucus which can be watery and cloudy or even “creamy” in color. Don’t confuse EWCM with spotting or your period. The texture and clear appearance is unmistakable.​

    “But I’ve Ovulated and I’m Still Producing EWCM!”​

    Firstly, don’t panic! There can be many reasons for the production of EWCM after ovulation and some of these can be quite normal:​


    Usually, the hormone estrogen is produced before ovulation. However, sometimes hormone levels can fluctuate without warning and so, if estrogen continues to be produced after ovulation, you may continue to see EWCM.

    A week after ovulation, women usually experience a small rise in estrogen and progesterone levels in order to prepare the lining of the womb for pregnancy.

    This small rise in estrogen can cause the production of “secondary EWCM” . while not all women will experience this, it is perfectly normal.

    Stress-levels, anxiety or certain medication can cause a delay in ovulation. If this happens, your body may continue to produce EWCM until after ovulation is occurred.

    It’s possible that, if you are experiencing EWCM after ovulation, your body is attempting to ovulate without success. If this is the case, you may not experience a rise in temperature as ovulation has not occurred.

    In this instance, the body will continue to produce EWCM in preparation. If you think this might be the case, it is best to visit your local doctor or family-planning clinic in order to ensure everything is in working order.

    EWCM After Ovulation – Does it Mean I’m Pregnant?

    For some women, post-ovulation EWCM can be an early indicator of pregnancy; the cervix continues to produce mucus as the lining of the uterus builds in order for the fertilized egg to embed itself in your womb.

    However, this is not the most common reason to produce EWCM and, while taking a pregnancy test might be a good idea, producing EWCM post-ovulation does not definitely mean that you are pregnant.

    “I’ve Gone Through the Menopause – Why am I still producing EWCM?”

    Surprisingly, your ovaries can remain active throughout your life – even after the menopause!

    While not a regular occurrence, your ovaries can still produce eggs after the menopause which are then released into the fallopian tube. Of course, along with this comes a fluctuation in estrogen levels.

    Even after your periods have stopped, you may still experience EWCM on an infrequent basis.

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    Final Thought

    EWCM is a normal part of every woman’s monthly cycle; it plays an important part in conception and facilitating sperm reaching the egg in the fallopian tube.

    This stretchy egg white-like substance is responsible for making it as easy as possible to conceive to maximize your chances of fertility.​

    There are many reasons why a woman could experience EWCM after ovulation, however in most circumstances, this can be a normal part of your cycle.

    The most important thing is to learn what your regular monthly cycle looks like; if you know what is normal for you then you can make a note of any changes.

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    EWCM After Ovulation – What Does it Mean?

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