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Basal Body Temperature: Why It's Important for Tracking Ovulation

What is Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

Have you ever considered tracking your basal body temp?

After a few months of trying to conceive, you might start to wonder what you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

You also might be exploring how to use basal body temperature as a way to avoid pregnancy.

Charting your basal body temperature (BBT), a key fertility indicator, is one common way to track your ovulation and it will help you to understand when you are most fertile each month.

But, if learning to identify your fertility window seems daunting, know that you are not alone.

The daily task of charting your BBT as a method of tracking ovulation can be simplified if you have the right tools at your bedside.

Understanding Your BBT

According to the University of Michigan Medicine Center basal body temperature (BBT) is your body's temperature when at rest.

Tracking your BBT is a part of most fertility awareness based methods, which encompasses both natural family planning (NFP) and fertility awareness methods (FAM). We also recommend tracking your cervical fluid and, to a lesser extent, your cervical position, to better understand your fertile window. 

BBT fluctuates throughout your menstrual cycle each month, with lower temperatures during the follicular phase before you ovulate and higher temperatures during the luteal phase after you ovulate.

Why Track Basal Body Temperature

According to Our Bodies Ourselves, "The important concept to understand is your pattern of low and high temperatures. Your temperatures before ovulation fluctuate in a low range, and the temperatures after ovulation fluctuate in a higher range."

The trick, in other words, is not to get hung up on day-to-day changes. It's important in BBT tracking to focus on the forest rather than the trees, and watch for overall trends in low and high temperatures.

What you'll see is that your basal body temperature usually rises within a day or so after ovulation to indicate that ovulation has occurred.

However, it is important to note that some factors may influence your BBT. Some examples include having a fever, alcohol use, and using a heated blanket.

If you are trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy, you will want to start tracking your BBT daily. You can then record the temperature on a paper chart or in a fertility tracking app like Ovuview (Android) or Neofertility (iOS and Android), both of whom automatically sync with Tempdrop.

Ultimately, tracking your basal body temperature and reviewing your charts, you will start to see temperature patterns that will help you identify your fertility window each month and understand when you are ovulating.

Why Track Basal Body Temperature

Each month when your body releases an egg is considered your ovulation time. Planning baby-making activities around ovulation may help you to achieve pregnancy more quickly. Likewise, you can use what you know about your fertility window to avoid pregnancy.

By learning to track your BBT you will have a better understanding of when your body is ovulating.

One change that often indicates that ovulation is about to happen is a drop in BBT. When you notice this shift your body is right about to releases an egg. Then, about 1 day after your egg release's, your BBT will likely rise and stay up for the next several days. 

However, it is important to understand that while you cannot predict ovulation with temperature, only confirm, you can use fertility data from previous months to help you understand if you're about to ovulate.

How to Track Basal Body Temperature

For some, tracking BBT comes with a bit of learning curve. But once you have the right tools and understand the actions steps it will become second nature.

Traditionally, you would need to take your temperature using a special basal body thermometer as soon as you wake up, preferably at the same time every morning. A common digital thermometer is typically not sensitive enough to convey changes in BBT. To track basal body temperature, you would need readings to two hundreds of a degree, for example 97.71 rather than 97.7.

Using a basal temp thermometer presents many challenges, especially for parents who care for small children and have to wake up during the night to tend to them.

When Sarah, a woman who was hoping to get pregnant, first started tracking her BBT with a basic digital thermometer she often felt frustrated because she wasn't sure if she was getting accurate basal temps. Some mornings she would forget to take her BBT and other times she would fumble around in the dark trying to find her thermometer, leading to potentially inaccurate basal temps and anxiety about the accuracy of her charts.

Like Sarah, another challenge you might face when attempting to track your BBT is needing to take it at the same time every morning. Waking up at the same time every day isn't realistic for most people. Some women have found that to get accurate temps, they need to wake themselves up in the early AM at the same time each day, for example, 4AM, take their temperature, and then go back to sleep until they would ordinarily wake up.

Doesn't sound like fun! These issues can introduce user error which reduces the accuracy of identifying your most fertile days each month.

Confidently Track BBT

One way to confidently track ovulation by recording your BBT and reducing user error is to use a Tempdrop.

Tempdrop is a first of its kind, a smart basal body thermometer that learns each women's temperature fluctuations throughout her ovulatory cycle. 

When you wear Tempdrop, you can confidently measure your armpit temperature throughout your sleep. Then record an accurate basal body temperature when you wake up by plugging the wearable device into your smartphone.

It doesn't matter when you wake up or if you slept poorly.

As you continue to chart your BBT you will gain a clear understanding of when you are ovulating on your unique fertility journey. You can learn more about how Tempdrop works here.

Why BBT is Important for Tracking Ovulation

In this article, you learned information that is essential for understanding your basal body temperature and why it's important for tracking ovulation.

Knowing how to accurately identify your ovulation signs by tracking your basal body temperature will help you understand when you are ovulating so that you can better understand your ovulatory cycle. It's one sure way to make your fertility journey more predictable.