Lesson 21 – How Your Fertility Pattern May Differ than the Ideal

Lesson Objectives:

  • Learn ways that your chart and ovulation pattern may differ from the ideal

Major Points in this Lesson:

  • Not all women experience an ideal fertility pattern.
  • Knowing how your fertility pattern differs from the norm can help you better analyze your own chart.

Fertility charts and patterns can range from woman to woman. As not all women experience “ideal” patterns, it’s important to understand the different ways in which your chart and pattern may differ from the norm and still show ovulation. 

Slow/Sloping Rise

In some instances, your temperature may rise in a slow or sloping rise, rather than an abrupt shift. You may notice a pattern of a gentle, curved shift that takes around three or four days to elevate which indicates ovulation has occurred. Slow temperature rises may occur slowly at one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit over a course of four to five days.

Fallback Rise

Your temperature may also indicate a “fallback rise”, which occurs when the temperature significantly rises as normal, but then immediately drops before rising again. It’s then sustained through the luteal phase. Looking at your non-temperature-based signs can help you better distinguish a fallback rise pattern.

Sawtooth Rise

During a sawtooth rise, temperatures rise in a sawtooth action meaning they rise, fall slightly, and rise again. This pattern often occurs frequently.

Staircase Rise

In a staircase pattern, you’ll find that the temperature rises, remains steady, rises, and remains steady again until it reaches an elevated level. This pattern will usually occur over a period of several days.

Long Cycles

Later in your cycle, your chart may indicate increased fertility. Charts containing longer cycles typically show signs of increased fertility multiple times before ovulation. During this time it’s not uncommon for your ovulation day to be later in your cycle. To determine ovulation, you may need to pinpoint a thermal shift.

Erratic Temperatures

There may be times when your temperatures are erratic, shooting up and down without showing a sustained shift. Correlating other signs to your chart can help you pinpoint ovulation.

Out of Place Temperatures

You may find that some temperatures simply do not “fit” in your pre-ovulation and luteal phases. This is normal and is often a fluke caused by various factors.

High Temperatures During Period

High temperatures are common during your period due to sustained progesterone levels from your previous cycle. These higher temperatures will usually lower again before your thermal shift occurs.

Erratic Temperatures During Period

Having high, low, or erratic temperatures during your period is also common, but will usually regulate before your thermal shift.

Dip Before Rise or Ovulation Dip

A slight temperature dip is common as estrogen increases before ovulation. Known as an ovulation dip, this sign could signal that ovulation is near and it’s the best time for intercourse to take place for a successful conception. 

Multiple Patches of Fertile Cervical Fluid

Over the course of your cycle, you may experience multiple patches of fertile cervical fluid. However, ovulation will only occur once. Treat any fertile-like cervical fluid as potentially fertile to avoid possibly passing over ovulation.

Multiple Positive OPKs

Ovulation prediction kits may detect elevated levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) even if you are not immediately approaching ovulation. In most cases, ovulation will usually occur after the last positive OPK. However, it’s best to treat any positive OPK as a signal that you may ovulate soon.

No Egg White Cervical Fluid

Not all women will experience a patch of fertile cervical fluid before a thermal shift. If this happens to you, time intercourse as close to ovulation as possible by treating any patches of fertile cervical fluid close to ovulation as your most fertile cervical fluid.

Microscope, Fertility Monitor, OPK Does Not Correlate

Not all tools and devices used to monitor fertility line up with your chart. Charting your basal body temperature (BBT) is often the best way to pinpoint ovulation. Use an easy-to-read, accurate device to take your BBT, such as an in-ear BBT thermometer. Correlate your BBT with other fertility signs, such as cervical fluids. 

Fertile Cervical Fluid After Ovulation

The cervical fluid typically dries up after ovulation. However, it sometimes remains as the corpus luteum produces estrogen. If you find that you have already ovulated but still have some cervical fluid, this is normal but should not be treated as a fertile cervical fluid.

Cervical Position or Fluid Does Not Correlate with BBT

Cervical positions or fluids do not always correlate with your BBT when cross-checked. Knowing your unique pattern can help you better target ovulation.

Temperature Shift Maybe Ambiguous

It’s not always easy to determine ovulation date with certainty. Your pattern may show a slow rising BBT with some dips. Some data on your chart may also be conflicting. While you may not always be able to pinpoint ovulation with certainty, you can increase your odds of having intercourse during your fertile window by looking at all your fertility signs.