Monday, August 14, 2006

Biology Lesson

BBT, for those of you who've never wanted or needed to be intimately tuned-in to a woman's menstrual cycle, refers to basal body temperature, or the body temperature at its base, in other words, first thing in the morning, before getting up to pee, before sitting up, before anything. It seems like an obscure piece of information, but taken regularly, it means a lot. Taken regularly, by the way, if you are trying to conceive, it can also drive you crazy. I'll get into that later.

You see, the menstrual cycle is made of two phases: The first phase, called the follicular phase, begins with bleeding, shedding all that cushy extra uterine lining built up from the previous cycle. It is called follicular, because the follicles of the ovaries are stimulated to prepare eggs. Only one egg will make the cut, but it takes a couple of weeks or so for it to be ready.

The luteal phase begins with a surge of hormone (luteal hormone, that is) which causes not only the egg to be released, but the BBT to rise, and stay risen, until menstruation is on its way. That is, unless fertilization has occurred and menstruation is not on its way, in which case the BBT will rise even more.

I've begun my day by shoving a thermometer in my mouth more times than I care to count. I recommend it, as a get-to-know-your-body exercise, but with a prominently placed WARNING: It's very hard to shake that first thought of the day, whatever it happens to be. And when pregnancy is on your mind, there isn't room for much else. But then again, I'm glad I've done it as much as I have. And I'm glad I've done it lately. This morning might be a whole lot more tension-filled if I couldn't read those BBT-leaves.

You see, I'm not bleeding, and I thought I would be by now.

But my temperature is in steady decline, has been for the past four days, and my period, technically, is not yet late.

Bottom line, for those of you in suspense:

Am I pregnant, dear readers? I think not.

1 comment:

chaos_girl said...

I'd second your thoughts- but then, how reliable are the temps you've taken recently? If there is room for error, then I wouldn't exactly check off 'not pregnant' on any medical forms yet!