Taking your basal body temperature (BBT) while trying to conceive is an important step to understanding what is going on with your menstrual cycle hormones.
What is basal body temperature?
This is the temperature of your body when you are at rest.
What happens to basal body temperature throughout the menstrual cycle?
Your basal body temperature adjusts throughout your menstrual cycle in response to changes in your hormone levels.
During your follicular phase (menstruation through to ovulation), your body temperature will stay at a lower level due to a drop in hormones. Once you have ovulated and have entered your luteal phase, your body temperature will increase about 0.5 degrees C in response to progesterone (or about 1 degree Fahrenheit).
A rise in your basal body temperature confirms ovulation because your temperature will not rise unless progesterone is produced, and progesterone is only produced when you have ovulated. The leftover follicle from which the oocyte was ovulated stays behind in the ovary and becomes the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone.
What type of thermometer should I use?
Your best bet is to use a digital basal body thermometer because it will record your temperature within a 10th of a degree (2 decimal places in Celcius and 1 decimal place in Fahrenheit). For example, BBT-tracking guru and author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Toni Weschler, encourages her readers to use OvaCue, but there are other options like Femometer.
Are there other options instead of an oral thermometer?
Of course, in our digital era there are lots of options to track fertility. TempDrop is a new piece of technology that senses your temperature throughout the night. LadyComp is another option to consider.
OvaCue and OvuSense require vaginal insertions, but are helpful if you have irregular sleep patterns.
When is the best time to take your basal body temperature?
It is best taken first thing in the morning. I recommend patients leave their basal body thermometer on their nightstand. Once they wake up they are asked to take their temperature immediately. Do not snuggle, do not get up to pee, do not drink water – just stick the thermometer in your mouth. It does have to be done at a consistent time each day in order to have the best results.
How do you keep track of your temperature results?
There are excellent apps out there to help keep track of your basal body temperature. I recommend:
- Kindara – they even have their own thermometer called the Wink
- Fertility Friend (this one is very popular in the TTC community)
These are just a few of the many temperature charting apps out there.
What does a normal temperature cycle look like?
Here’s an example of a typical temperature chart: https://www.ovagraph.com/chart-tags/typical-cycles
What happens if my temperature does not rise or does not stay elevated?
If your temperature does not rise then it means you have not ovulated.
If it does not stay elevated it likely means that you are not pregnant and can expect a period, or that the embryo has not implanted properly as with a chemical pregnancy.
What do I do with the information I have charted?
I encourage patients to chart for 3 months so we can understand their patterns. You can use the data to:
- Predict ovulation in future cycles
- Time intercourse appropriately – prior to when your temperature rise occurs
- Share with your healthcare provider if there are issues with conceiving. A naturopathic doctor trained in preconception care may be able to see insights in the charts such as thyroid issues, adrenal issues, or ovulation issues.
To learn more about how you can support your fertility, or to book a virtual appointment with a fertility naturopath, contact us today.