Dr. Amanda Svendsen,BSc,ND
Typically we only check our temperature when we’re feeling sick and feverish with flu like symptoms, but did you know a woman’s body temperature changes every month when she ovulates? Using this information (and other fertility markers), a woman can get better acquainted with her cycle to help her conceive or to avoid a pregnancy.
Basal body temperature (BBT) is the body’s resting temperature, and is most accurately taken each morning when you wake up, but before getting out of bed. Remember, just because you have a period, doesn’t mean an egg has been released, but BBT tracking but help determine if you are in fact ovulating. After an egg is released, a woman’s temperature should consistently raise by at least 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit because of changes in hormone levels. If this temperature shift doesn’t happen, you have not ovulated that cycle. Once you’ve gotten some practice with BBT tracking, you can learn when you are most fertile, how long the second half of your cycle is (and if it’s long enough to allow an egg to implant), if your progesterone levels are adequate, and if you become pregnant.
Don’t be intimidated by all the details, just get a thermometer and a chart and get tracking. As you get practice and get familiar with your readings over a few months, you will reap the benefits!
Here are a few key pointers for BBT monitoring:
-Always aim to check your temperature at the same time each morning (within an hour or so). If you sleep late, the reading may be slightly skewed so note this on your chart.
-Use a digital thermometer or a glass basal thermometer (if using a glass thermometer, be sure to shake it down after each reading and take the reading for a full 5 minutes).
-Take your temperature orally upon waking, before getting up to use the washroom, brush your teeth, or any other activity as this will lower the reading. You’ll need to leave the thermometer on your bedside table as a reminder when you wake up.
-Note any unusual events such as illness, travel, erratic sleep pattern, or stress, as it may increase your temperature. Drinking alcohol the night before will also usually raise your waking temperature.
For more information on natural fertility awareness, read ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. It is a wealth of detailed information on tracking your cycle for fertility or for contraception.
Related Articles of InterestLeave a reply