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Can sleep deprivation affect clearblue easy fertility monitor?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Upon receiving some advice on MDC I decided to follow the Marquette Method to avoid pregnancy for the time being.  DS is not-quite 5 months and I have not had my first ppaf yet, but have been charting temps, cm, and clearblue easy fertility monitor readings.  LAM lasted 11.5 months after DD1 and 13.5 months after DD2; I was expecting about the same LAM this time but I feel better being in touch with my fertility signals so I don't get caught unaware if I were to ovulate before ppaf (I started charting temps and cm after my DDs at around 3 months postpartum because it made me feel more aware of what my body was doing--never ovulated before the first ppaf after either DD--I added the clearblue easy because this time I *definitely* don't want to get pregnant again, possibly ever, but at least not for a good while--3 kids is a good number, ya know?).  I'd been getting nothing but low readings on the monitor and my temps have stayed pretty level (between 97.3 and 97.7 with no clear patterns or "jumps").  I can usually feel when I ovulate, as I tend to get pains from it (unless I happen to be sleeping, the pains are noticeable).  I haven't felt any o. pains, and I have not had any fertile cm either.  However, my clearblue easy fertility monitor gave me a peak reading today!! headscratch.gif  There had not been any high readings in between, although, as per the Marquette Method, I had only been monitoring every other day since I have only had low readings.  DS has been coming down with a cold I think and hasn't been sleeping well the past two nights, and actually this caused me to totally forget to take my temp this morning--I've been so sleep deprived even in the family bed.  Could this monitor reading be a fluke?  Can sleep deprivation affect it?  It seems like way too soon to be ovulating, and I have no other discernible signs of returning fertility.  Anyone else experience something like this?  I've only started using the fertility monitor a few weeks ago--can it give you a "false positive"?  OTOH, if it is, despite all logic, a real ovulation, should I expect to get a period in 10-14 days?  Gosh that feels weird to even contemplate this soon!

post #2 of 4

I haven't used the Marquette Method myself, but I have heard of people getting seemingly random high readings (I don't know about peak readings, but we're talking about a very small sample size of people that I know using this method) while breastfeeding, and it wasn't associated with ovulation.  I have heard of lots of people getting false positives with OPK's, and that uses a similar technology, though the CBFM is much more accurate.  Basically, it's possible that you would get a peak reading (which would normally indicate that you are ovulating) when you're not actually ovulating, but I would be careful anyway if you are not planning to get pregnant.


As far as sleep is concerned, severe lack of sleep can affect your fertility in many ways.  It can delay ovulation in a normal cycle and has been associated with an earlier than normal return to fertility postpartum.  Different people's bodies respond differently, though, so it's hard to say.  The Peak reading on the CBFM was a response to something happening in your body that showed up in your sample, and I think that it is very likely related to your lack of sleep.  Whether or not it is actually ovulation or if it's just something that managed to trigger a false peak reading on the CBFM, time will tell.


As far as your period is concerned, if you ovulate now, your period will come within the next couple weeks or so.  It is quite possible that it would come much earlier than you think.  When ovulation occurs much earlier than expected due to sleep deprivation, it is quite common to have a very short luteal phase.  Your temps will also give you a pretty good idea if you actually ovulate.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

UPDATE and further questions:


Maybe I'd been so paranoid about LAM ending for good reason.  I woke up in a pool of blood when DS was about 5.5 mo old.  I was sad, shocked and angry.  Everyone kept telling me oh, there's so much variability, it's not your fault, sometimes these things just happen, etc.  I get that different women might have different durations of LAM, but as a scientist, I believed such a departure from MY normal LAM duration (ie. several sigma outside expectation value) warranted investigating the reason why.  I did some research and have come to believe that it was brought on by estrogen dominance that occurred due to overconsumption of soy (I am vegan).  Upon reaching this conclusion, I suddenly and drastically cut back soy consumption (almost completely eliminating it from my diet).  In the meantime, I discussed the effects of overconsuming soy with a vegetarian friend who had been suffering from really painful periods and who lived with me for a time and was consuming a nearly identical diet to mine.  She changed her diet much as I did and reported to me that for the first time in a long time she'd had a manageable period.  This lent further credence to my hypothesis.


Fast forward to now.  It's been 39 days since that first ppaf, and I have been monitoring all my fertility signals.  I have not ovulated, but neither have I gotten another period.  The clearblue easy has been giving me even more frustrating results.  From days 6-22 it gave me nothing but high readings (never a peak, though), and then stopped asking me for a test after day 22.  I went on to take opk every day thereafter and have never gotten a positive result.  According the Marquette method, we'd have been unable to have sex this whole month.  This is ludicrous and absurd.  We are a very intimate couple and it's hard to even go a week without sex, let alone a whole month.  Needless to say we were intimate but we were careful to use a condom each time.  I never had any fertile cm or temperature spike.  Now I'm wondering wth is going on.  Again, many will just tell me, oh, sometimes you get a long cycle, but again, for ME, this is abnormal.  I have much historical data to draw upon.  My first cycle after LAM is usually longer, but, for example, after my second child, I ovulated on day 33 then got my period on day 40.  That was the longest cycle I've ever had.  Ever.  And here I am with no signs of ovulating or period (no cramping or any other premenstrual signs).  So this leaves me to conclude that one of the following might be able to explain this:


1. The drastic dietary change kicked me back into LAM.

2. I am just going to have an exceptionally long anovulatory cycle.

3. It wasn't actually a period I had 39 days ago.  Reasons this could be: 1. it only lasted for two days 2. It began the morning after DH and I had sex and occasionally I do bleed after sex (though never more than spotting in the past).  3. perhaps there is some other reason I could be bleeding?  could it be a sign of something going on with my cervix or other anomaly from giving birth?  I recall when I was 41 weeks and the midwife swept my membranes, she asked if I had had any sort of surgery like cone biopsy or anything because my cervix seemed unusual.  I didn't ask for further explanation at the time but maybe there's something abnormal?


Does anyone have any comparable experiences?  Anyone care to vote on which of the three possibilities above seem most likely or posit another possibility?  How long should I wait before I discuss this with my midwives?  (I will take a pregnancy test before I talk to them just so I can say with 100% confidence, no I'm not pregnant, but truly I don't see any way how I could be based on my temps that have been consistent with a straight horizontal line and there are zero other signs of ovulation having occurred, nor do I have any pregnancy symptoms which, in 5 pregnancies {two of which resulted in m/c}, always begin very quickly for me).


post #4 of 4

From what I have read, there is ample research that too much soy wreaks havoc in a healthy woman's reproductive system, and every nutritionist I know of who writes about healthy fertility now recommends against soy.  One of the most comprehensive researchers connecting charting and nutrition, Marilyn Shannon, author of Fertility Cycles and Nutrition (Couple to Couple League), turned her back on soy only very recently due to overwhelming new evidence that it is not healthy for fertility.  I haven't seen any evidence linking soy to an early return of menstruation during breastfeeding, but it is important to note that the body's natural, healthy state following childbirth is amenorrhea.  This preserves extra nutrients (including iron) for the growing baby and allows for a healthy spacing of pregnancies that makes sure that there is enough milk supply for the nursling and allows the mother's body to replenish nutrients.  An early return of menstruation following childbirth is not natural or normal and is correlated with an unhealthy state in the mother's body: not breastfeeding, extreme stress or sleep deprivation, obesity, etc.


To understand what is going on, it would be helpful to know if you ovulated before the bleeding you experienced.  Were you charting temperatures or using the CBFM at the time.  I don't think that the Peak reading you got almost a month earlier could have been ovulation that lead to a true period that you experienced.  Did the CBFM continue to ask for tests?  Did another Peak reading show up within a couple weeks before your bleeding?  Did you chart a temperature rise within a couple weeks before the bleed?  Did you experience fertile CM followed by a dry up in those couple weeks?  If you observed any of these, I would guess that you ovulated.  That would make things more difficult.  Remember that an early return of menstruation is a sign of an unhealthy state, not a healthy one, and if so, it is quite likely that your body will continue to express to you this unhealthy state for a much longer period of time.  It is quite difficult to shut down the cycles of ovulation and menstruation once they have started, so it is quite unlikely that your cycles would stop if you did indeed ovulate.  Instead, you may experience long cycles, anovulatory cycles, and cycles that are very difficult to understand.  No, you've never experienced cycles that crazy before, but you've never experienced such an early return of fertility either.  If this is the case, I recommend looking into the CM-only methods, Creighton or Billings, since they would help you the best to minimize the need for abstinence during this time.  (I'm still partial to taking my temp to confirm ovulation, but you'll get better CM info from them than anybody else, and until you ovulate within a cycle, CM is all that matters.)


A second theory is that you didn't ovulate.  I wouldn't count on this one unless you were charting and did not observe signs of ovulation.  If so, you are still in your postpartum cycle "0," that is, you have not experienced a true menstruation.  While a warning bleed is usually a sure-fire sign that menstruation is returning quite soon, you'd have a much easier time shutting down the process of an early return to fertility if your body has not actually reached the threshhold for ovulating.  If this is the case, if excessive soy was causing your early return to menstruation, cutting soy could cause your body to stay in amenorrhea.  If you still have not experienced ovulation followed by a true menstruation, I believe you would still be using the MM breastfeeding protocol for before the return of menstruation, not for cycling.


I'm really not sure which is true.  I don't think sex would cause a "pool of blood," spotting yes, but not much more than that.  It's common to have unusual bleeding the first time postpartum, but I haven't seen anything that has connected it to ovulation or lack thereof except that spotting is not a period but is usually a sign that one is coming soon.  Not knowing which it is, Sheila Kippley (author of Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing) considers 6 weeks without bleeding to be a return to amenorrhea.  However, it is still unclear how effectively this amenorrhea would be to prevent pregnancy.


My personal experience (As a scientist, you know not to put too much trust in the experience of one person on the internet.) is that I experienced one day of spotting at about 4.5 months postpartum, no other bleeding until 20 months postpartum (so it was a true continuation of amenorrhea) when I experienced a second day of spotting followed by ovulation and a true period about a month later (less than 6 weeks).  5 cycles later, after having 1 cycle with an adequately long LP, I had a cycle that I ovulated over 5 weeks into the cycle.  I assume that the cycle would have ended up being longer than 6 weeks if I had not gotten pregnant in that cycle.  However, all other cycles in the meantime were under 6 weeks long, and if I had assumed that I was infertile after 6 weeks of that cycle, I would have been correct (based on my STM fertility charting).  Hope that helps.  Let me know how it turns out.

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