By Tarina Mosley
One fundamental piece of many fertility awareness methods is basal body temperature. Generally, you need to have a regular schedule in order to take your temperature at the same time every morning after at least 3-4 hours of sleep. However, shift workers can have a very hard time with schedules like this simply because they have different sleep schedules every day, wake up on call throughout the night, or just grab a few different periods of sleep whenever works best in their schedules.
Tempdrop can be a game changer for shift workers! If you're working night shifts, sleeping short hours, or waking up during the night while on-call, Tempdrop makes fertility awareness a real possibility. Here’s everything you need to know.
Why might your traditional BBT not be up for the task?
When you are tracking basal body temperature using a traditional thermometer; one where you manually take your temperature upon waking, there are specific parameters that must be met.
Most methods require a minimum of 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep prior to taking your temperature. Something as simple as getting up for the bathroom multiple times throughout the night or course waking an hour or two early to head out after receiving a call may render the temperature invalid. This can prove particularly difficult if you are expecting ovulation and trying to identify a temperature shift. As you can imagine, after several days of interrupted sleep - and thus interrupted temperatures - you might as well call the cycle a bust.
This can lead to frustration and hopelessness and has the potential to discourage us from using a fertility awareness-based method – particularly in the case of seriously avoiding pregnancy.
Waking at the same time every day.
A conventional basal body thermometer requires that you wake and take your temperature at approximately the same time every day. In some cases, as little as half an hour to an hour can make a difference, and possibly render the reading invalid.
In the case of shift workers, there is often no chance one can wake at the same time consistently. Those who work rotating schedules, from nights to days or even just straight nights, while having days off have extreme variances in waking times. As you can imagine, from the knowledge above, the user will likely experience drastic variations in temperature readings and the chart may be unreadable.
Why would one recommend a Tempdrop for shift workers?
Tempdrop is one of the best pieces of technology for shift workers. It's placed on the arm prior to going to bed. Once you turn it on, it needs at least 3 hours of data before you remove it. If you're called in the middle of the night, you can wake up, remove your Tempdrop and be rest assured that the data is valid for use as long as it's been on for at least 3 hours. Tempdrop has been designed to filter out external interference through the algorithm, such as bathroom trips, or waking to take a pager call. Even if you aren’t getting up to head out, you can be confident that those calls throughout the night won’t impact Tempdrop’s ability to provide an accurate reading.
Why would one recommend Tempdrop versus a hormonal method?
I have come across those who have argued that a symptohormonal method, such as one that uses the Marquette monitor, is of greater use to those who are shift workers. My argument to that is this method requires the ongoing purchase of sticks to use with the machine and the initial up-front cost of acquiring the monitor. It also requires you to collect urine within a 6-hour window at the same time throughout a cycle. For some, the ongoing cost is the biggest hindrance! For others who may be working a long shift and not have time to do a urine dip, it becomes prohibitive. In the case of Tempdrop – once you purchase the device, you receive fantastic customer support and are equipped with a device that does not require ongoing investment and is completely compatible with erratic sleep schedules.
As a shift and on-call worker, Tempdrop has literally changed my ability to practice the symptothermal method of fertility awareness accurately! I am thankful to have discovered Tempdrop early in my fertility awareness journey. There have been many days of interrupted sleep, and shift changes. If I had been using a conventional basal body thermometer, I would have given up long ago!