Trying to conceive can be a stressful game of waiting, wondering, and hoping. Between wondering whether you ovulated and whether you are pregnant, you may wonder, how do I know if implantation occurred?

Aside from waiting for those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, are there any clues to help you find out if you may be expecting a baby and just not know it yet? To understand the implantation dip, first you need to know about basal body temperature.

Tracking your basal body temperature (BBT), sometimes referred to as “temping,” can give you more knowledge into your cycle, hormones, and potentially into whether successful implantation has occurred.

This type of tracking is one of many ways to monitor fertility more closely, including ovulation prediction kits, cervical mucus tracking, various fertility prediction apps, and more medical procedures in a doctor’s office.

BBT tracking is one of the cheapest, most painless ways to check out what’s going on with your cycle. It’s helpful to track for at least 3 months to determine your body’s temperature trends over time.

Those who use BBT log their temperatures in a chart. Logging can allow you to see a biphasic chart, meaning two phases.

The first phase, in which the body’s hormones are gearing up and triggering ovulation, shows a lower temperature. The second phase is a slight increase in temperature which shows ovulation has taken place.

Of course your chart may also show a 1-day dip, 7 to 8 days after this rise in temperature. Some people refer to this as the implantation dip.

Implantation is a fancy word for the egg and sperm, after fertilization, burrowing into the uterus lining and getting comfortable for a nice long 9-month stay, if everything goes as planned.

An implantation dip refers to a decrease in basal body temperature of a few tenths of a degree — for example from 97.9 to 97.6°F (36.6°C to 36.4°C) — for a period of one day.

This happens around 7 to 8 days after the second phase temperature increase, before returning to the normal trend of elevated temperatures typical after ovulating. This creates a “dip” in the chart showing your BBT.

Whether or not this dip in temperature actually has anything to do with implantation isn’t so clear. Many factors can affect your basal body temperature, including illness, stress, sleep disturbances, schedule changes, and hormonal factors.

When does implantation usually occur?

Implantation happens 6 to 12 days after ovulation, but usually closer to days 8 to 10, according to researchers. This 1999 study on implantation timing followed more than 200 women, and most of the successful pregnancies implanted during that window.

Some women experience symptoms with implantation such as cramping or light spotting, called implantation bleeding. For those tracking their BBT, the dip may be seen as another indicator, in addition to these possible other symptoms, that implantation was successful.

What happens after the implantation dip?

No matter how (or if) you’re tracking your cycles, the next step is to wait for a missed period to take a pregnancy test. Although it may be a challenge, waiting for the day your period is supposed to start will give you the most reliable results.

If your test is positive, consult your doctor for prenatal care. If your test is negative, you can try again in a few days or consult your doctor if you still think you may be pregnant.

Unfortunately there aren’t many clinical studies to support a definitive answer. At this stage, an implantation dip isn’t a reliable sign of pregnancy.

A large analysis by the fertility tracking app Fertility Friend pointed out that the dip observed in pregnant women’s charts usually takes place on days 7 to 8, while actual implantation most commonly takes place on days 8 to 10, as discussed in the previous study above.

Additionally, the dip was present in 11 percent of charts that did not result in pregnancy, and in 23 percent of charts that did. These numbers mean that the implantation dip alone is not a reliable way to determine if you are pregnant or not.

You can indeed be pregnant without the dip, and even with the dip you may not be pregnant. So, it should just be considered as one of many potential signs, rather than proof of pregnancy.

So is there anything to be learned from an implantation dip? The answer isn’t yet clear.

While a dip might indicate two pink lines are on the way, it is definitely not a guarantee. The best way to find out for sure is to persevere through the difficult 2-week wait and to test when you have missed your period.

While trying to conceive can be extremely exhausting, frustrating, and confusing, BBT charts can provide you with a bit more information about your cycle beyond the implantation dip.

If you’re having trouble trying to get pregnant, schedule a consultation with your provider to discuss your options.