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Basal Body Temperature Charts: Why Do You Need Them?

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Basal body temperature charts help women immensely at the stage of preparing for pregnancy. You might have heard from your gynecologist about the importance of taking basal body temperature (BBT) during at least 3 menstrual cycles if you’re currently trying hard to get pregnant. It’s also remarkable that World Health Organization recognizes taking BBT as one of the two major methods of fertility monitoring. Here we are going to look into the rules of the procedure and how this method works for you.

What Is Basal Body Temperature?

You may wonder why we talk about BBT and what’s the difference between regular and basal body temperature. Actually, BBT is the temperature of the organism in the quiet state and after at least 6 hours of sleep. During the day your body temperature is constantly changing, depending on physical activities, stress, clothes, you are wearing, as well as food and drinks you consume. So, it’s extremely difficult to catch the optimal moment for taking an unaffected body temperature reading. Therefore, we refer to measuring basal body temperature.

BBT Charts: When Should I Use Them?

This popular method of fertility monitoring is applied in the following cases:

  • If you want to increase your chances for pregnancy
  • If you are planning baby’s gender
  • If you want to understand physiological processes in your organism better and become more sensitive towards the slightest changes, occurring in your body
  • If you are trying to get pregnant during 12 months with no success
  • If you think you may be infertile
  • If your gynecologist suspects that you may have hormonal disorders

BBT Charts: How Do They Work?

Ovulation occurs approximately in the middle of the cycle, dividing it into 2 phases. In the 1st phase before ovulation your temperature is normally lower than in the 2nd phase when ovulation has already taken place. Right after the ovulation a female organism actively produces hormone progesterone that promotes a slight rise in body temperature by 0.4 to 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit. The next 2 days after ovulation are the best time for conception. So, an increase of body temperature in the 2nd phase is a reliable indicator of ovulation and sufficient production of progesterone. The 2nd phase of your menstrual cycle normally lasts for 13-14 days, and before menstruation your body temperature slightly dips again. If your basal body temperature stays the same throughout the cycle, there are no rises and falls in the chart, you are dealing with absence of ovulation that can be a cause of infertility.

How to Measure Basal Body Temperature?

  • It’s better to start monitoring basal body temperature in the very beginning of your cycle (the 1st day of menstruation).
  • Taking body temperature under the arm doesn’t present accurate results. Opt for oral, vaginal or rectal method and don’t change it throughout your cycle. If you opt for taking readings orally, place a thermometer under your tongue and measure the temperature during 5 minutes with your mouth closed. With rectal or vaginal method 3 minutes are enough.
  • Measure temperature every morning after you wake when you are still lying in bed every day at the same time (no more than 30 minutes earlier or later than usual). You are supposed to have slept at least 6 hours.
  • It’s important to use the same thermometer (mercurial or digital) throughout one cycle.
  • If you use a mercurial thermometer, shake the mercury down before going to bed in the evening. Any physical efforts you take the next morning before measuring temperature may influence its results.
  • Write down the readings every day in a note-book or use special websites for composing BBT charts.
  • Any trips anywhere may impact your basal body temperature.
  • If you are getting sick, your temperature may raise that’s why the results for BBT won’t be significant. So, you may stop your monitoring until you recover.
  • BBT may get under influence of various medications (sedatives, sleeping pills or hormonal drugs).
  • Taking BBT and using contraception at the same time doesn’t make any sense.
  • After consumption of large alcohol doses your results will skew.

When you know how to compose your basal body temperature chart and do this properly, it can identify the beginning of ovulation in the current cycle or its absence. Your gynecologist will provide you with accurate estimation of your chart. In order to make precise forecasts about the most beneficial time for conception or come to the right conclusions about possible hormonal disorders, you should gain reliable information about exact dates of ovulation during at least 3 cycles in a row.