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Feasibility of continuous distal body temperature for passive, early pregnancy detection

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PLOS Digit Health. 2022 May 16;1(5):e0000034. doi: 10.1371/journal.pdig.0000034. eCollection 2022 May.


Most American women become aware of pregnancy ~3-7 weeks after conceptive sex, and all must seek testing to confirm their pregnant status. The delay between conceptive sex and pregnancy awareness is often a time in which contraindicated behaviors take place. However, there is long standing evidence that passive, early pregnancy detection may be possible using body temperature. To address this possibility, we analyzed 30 individuals’ continuous distal body temperature (DBT) in the 180 days surrounding self-reported conceptive sex in comparison to self-reported pregnancy confirmation. Features of DBT nightly maxima changed rapidly following conceptive sex, reaching uniquely elevated values after a median of 5.5 ± 3.5 days, whereas individuals reported a positive pregnancy test result at a median of 14.5 ± 4.2 days. Together, we were able to generate a retrospective, hypothetical alert a median of 9 ± 3.9 days prior to the date at which individuals received a positive pregnancy test. Continuous temperature-derived features can provide early, passive indication of pregnancy onset. We propose these features for testing and refinement in clinical settings, and for exploration in large, diverse cohorts. The development of pregnancy detection using DBT may reduce the delay from conception to awareness and increase the agency of pregnant individuals.

PMID:36812529 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pdig.0000034

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