By Jessie Brebner
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Earlier this year, I tried out the Tempdrop device for the first time and had such a fantastic experience that I am now a Tempdrop convert! If you’re like most people, then 2020 has been quite the ride, and I’m no exception! Join me as I rewind to July 2020, where my Tempdrop journey began.
With a history of IBS (a condition of the gastrointestinal tract that is exacerbated by stress), living through a pandemic has been tough on my health. I was consistently feeling extremely fatigued and struggling with my IBS. At around the same time, I also started using Tempdrop for the first time ever.
I was working with a women’s health expert on a functional medicine approach and was busy having a lot of testing done. As part of a holistic healing approach, it was essential to allow my body the rest needed and reduce stress as much as possible.
This meant that for the first time in around four years, I turned off my iPhone alarm (I used to wake up at 4:30 am each morning) and simply let myself soak in as much sleep as my body needed each morning. Cue some very erratic waking temperatures and some very erratic charts! If you’re familiar with the Symptothermal Method (which I suspect you are if you are reading this), then you know the importance of taking your temperature at the same time each morning after at least 1-3 hours of quality sleep to ensure the accuracy of your data!
As it turns out, Tempdrop arrived in my life at just the right time to allow me to keep charting while also supporting my body to sink into an easier morning pace that supported healing! Chart after chart, it became more and more apparent to me how valuable the Tempdrop device is. I was seeing erratic oral temperatures that made it difficult to establish and confirm a temperature shift (if you’ve ever experienced spiky follicular phase temperatures, you will know what I’m talking about here!). Meanwhile, my Tempdrop provided my true core resting temperature each night, and my charts were consistently smooth and stable.
My experience alone is enough for me to highly recommend Tempdrop to any of my clients struggling to obtain accurate oral temperatures each cycle. While my iPhone alarm clock is back on these days, Tempdrop has become so much a part of my routine that I am continuing to use it. I especially recommend Tempdrop to my TTC (trying to conceive) clients who may be feeling overwhelmed by the process of learning to chart their cycles. Stress is not the friend of any couple trying for a baby. Sometimes, the act of charting multiple fertility biomarkers each menstrual cycle can paradoxically cause more stress than it alleviates. Given the interaction between cortisol (our stress hormone), and our reproductive hormones, anything we can do to reduce stress while trying to conceive is a win-win situation.
So, what did my experience look like day to day?
Downloading the Tempdrop app was easy, and the app itself has a user-friendly interface. If you’re not familiar with Tempdrop, you simply need to sync it each morning with the app to see your temperature. The device itself can hold roughly up to three nights’ worth of data, but I prefer to do this daily just to ensure I don’t lose any temperatures. I chart my cycle in a Fertility Charting journal, so I simply sync my Tempdrop with the app each morning, and then jot down the temperature on my chart. The most recent three temperatures are always subject to retroactive changes, so I choose to use pencil until each temperature has been through the app syncing process three times (read on for further info on retroactive temperature changes).
A positive note for anyone who may be concerned about EMF exposure: the Tempdrop only emits EMFs while actively syncing it with your app. During the night, the data is stored directly on the device and not transferred to your phone via EMF.
It actually took me a little while to get used to wearing the armband to sleep. I’m particular about feeling comfy and not having tight or restrictive clothing on me while I sleep. I think it took about a full week before my body got used to the sensation. Now, I don’t even register it and have to physically look to check if the armband is on in the morning.
In terms of remembering to use the Tempdrop itself, I keep it on my bedside dresser so it is easy to access, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve forgotten to use it in the past five months (especially useful if you’re someone who always forgets to temp in the morning!).
I’m using a pre-loved Tempdrop and did need to change the battery during the first month of using it. This is where the app itself is so great, as I was sent a notification alerting me to the low battery. It was very easy to source a CR2032 3V lithium coin cell battery from my local Kmart. Provided with your Tempdrop is a small tool to help prize open the plastic case to reach the battery, but I found it easier to use my fingernail for this part. It took a little bit of fiddling, but I eventually got it and the process was overall straightforward and smooth, even for a tech novice!
The Tempdrop device is a wearable thermometer that continuously logs your body temperature, movement, and the external temperature of your sleeping environment throughout the night (or day, if you’re a shift worker!). This data is run through an algorithm that establishes which of the many temperatures taken during sleep was your true basal body temperature. The algorithm is constantly learning and adjusting, which means that the most recent three temperatures are always subject to a retroactive change.
The algorithm doesn’t kick in until you’ve used the Tempdrop for 15 days. After this point, it is actively learning the “normal” of your body and sleep patterns. It takes 60 days before you can rely on the accuracy of your temperatures for pregnancy prevention. During those 60 days it is important to continue charting with your oral BBT thermometer (or either abstain/use coitus-dependent contraception). “Coitus-dependent contraception” simply refers to any contraceptive method that has to be implemented with each sex act. This includes barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms, and coitus interruptus (known colloquially as the “pullout” method).
If you are charting for pregnancy prevention, I recommend speaking with your instructor regarding retroactive temperature changes. Depending on how seriously you are trying to prevent pregnancy, your instructor will likely advise you to wait an extra 1-2 days past the first three raised temperatures, to ensure that your temperature shift is valid. This can be inconvenient for some charters, but as I’m not actively trying to prevent a pregnancy right now, this was not an issue for me. Usually, I find that waiting an extra day or two is a small sacrifice for those who would otherwise be unable to use the Symptothermal Method due to erratic oral temperatures.
Tempdrop has not been through a clinical trial to assess whether its use would have any effect on the 99.6% perfect use effectiveness estimate of the Symptothermal Double-Check Method (this is the method that I use and teach to clients). This may mean that we may not be able to say with certainty that using Tempdrop is as effective as charting with an oral BBT thermometer for the purposes of pregnancy prevention. Despite this, it is a device that I feel confident recommending to clients as a Symptothermal Method Instructor. I have closely watched the development and use of the Tempdrop device since its launch in 2017 and remain impressed with the company and the accuracy of their product to this day.
Finally, Tempdrop also has a fantastic peer-support Facebook group where you can connect with others who are using Tempdrop to chart their cycle. At the time of writing this article, there are almost 8,000 avid Tempdrop users in this Facebook group. On top of this, there are a number of qualified FABM instructors and Tempdrop staff in the group, which is very reassuring for anyone who is just learning how to use their Tempdrop.
My experience with Tempdrop has been overwhelmingly positive. It is picking up my temperature shifts with accuracy, allowing me to sleep in, taking a little mental stress away from my charting journey, and really catering to my inner FABM nerd that likes to see as much data as possible on my charts!
I can highly recommend the Tempdrop as a wonderful piece of Femtech that makes FABM charting accessible to those who were often previously excluded, including shift workers, postpartum parents and nursing parents.
Here’s to the rest of 2020 and plenty of sleep-ins!
Jessie Brebner is a certified Symptothermal Method Instructor with the Natural Family Planning Teachers Association of the United Kingdom.Jessie is also the creator and developer of Fertility Charting Journals – one of the first high-quality, hard backed A4 journals designed specifically for users of Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM’s) to chart their menstrual cycles.Jessie holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Waikato, New Zealand where she double-majored in public relations and marketing.