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Measuring basal body temperature has become an increasingly popular natural family planning method that helps predict days of ovulation. This can be a great addition to your daily fertility health, and when done consistently and accurately, can help you get a better understanding of your ovulation cycle. But what is the basal body temperature method, how is it done, and how accurate is it? Read on to learn more about the method below!
Basal body temperature (BBT) is the body’s lowest resting temperature, which can be measured as soon as you wake up in the morning. There is a link between ovulation and temperature as a shift in basal body temperature occurs after ovulation takes place in the menstrual cycle due to an increase in progesterone. This shift in resting body temperature can help predict where you are in your cycle.
The basal body temperature method is the tracking of BBT over the course of time to naturally predict the days you are ovulating to find a fertile window. Once there is a change in your recorded temperature of about 0.4°F over a 48-hour period and this shift stays constant for three days or longer, it’s likely an indication of ovulation.
Basal body temperature tracking is a non-invasive method that requires no medications, hormones, or special equipment (though there are BBT thermometers and tracking apps available to help with the process), and can be paired with other natural family planning methods such as the cervical mucus method to form a more comprehensive picture of your cycle.
Tracking basal body temperature has many benefits in natural family planning, as it can help identify fertile windows for those both trying to conceive and those avoiding pregnancy, and it can also help detect pregnancy:
All you need to begin tracking your basal body temperature is a thermometer and some method of tracking your daily readings. Remember to be consistent. Take your temperature first thing every morning at the same time, before you do anything else – movement throughout the day will cause your temperature to rise and can throw off the data. Accuracy is very important to help you get the most reliable results. Taking your BBT and charting it should roughly follow this schedule:
Basal body temperature can be a helpful tool in family planning, and there are essentially zero risks to taking your temperature. However, it is important to understand that fertility isn’t the only thing that may influence your basal body temperature. Because of this, it can often be unreliable to trust fully when tracking for ovulation. Some women may also ovulate without their basal body temperature fluctuating at all. These additional factors can also have an impact on basal body temperature:
Tracking basal body temperature also takes time and dedication for the most accurate results, so it might not be the right method for you if you are looking for a quick or hands-off fertility tracking method.
After tracking one complete cycle, review your results. Chart your BBT data for a few months so you can look for patterns and get a better understanding of your ovulation cycle. After you feel more confident in your findings, you can try to plan when to have sex on your fertile days to try to conceive. However, the basal body temperature method isn’t always accurate as cycles can fluctuate. For a fully comprehensive way to monitor your fertility, schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist and bring your basal body temperature findings to your appointment. With this data and the knowledge of your doctor, you’ll be able to have a better understanding of your fertility health and higher chances of conception.