Temperature charting is beneficial for those trying to get pregnant, avoid getting pregnant, or for those trying to get to the bottom of hormone issues.
I first came across temperature charting when looking for an alternative to the oral contraceptive pill. I was prescribed the pill by my doctor when I was 16 to regulate my period which, at the time, I was getting every 2 weeks.
To be fair, the pill helped. I took it for over 10 years until I started to take more of an interest in my health and became aware of the risk associated with taking it long term. That’s when I started looking into natural methods of contraception and I stumbled across the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM).
I’ve now been using temperature charting and FAM for almost 2 years. In this time I have learned so much about my body and my cycle. I’ve used it to track ovulation and determine the underlying cause of hormone issues - because, like most people, the pill didn’t fix my original problem, it just masked it for 10 years - but that’s a story for another day.
As a naturopath, I now teach this method to my patients as a way to track hormone and thyroid health. If used correctly it can be a natural form of contraception as well as help patients to conceive. I also use temperature tracking, as a way to determine underlying causes to patients hormonal irregularities.
The thing I love most about temperature charting is that it tells us if and when we ovulate. This is the ultimate goal of the menstrual cycle.
Most women rely on apps to tell them the date of ovulation and the length of their fertile window. This can be a problem as apps are programmed to think that all cycles are 28 days long and that everyone ovulates on day 14.
This just isn’t the case for many of my patients, including myself. In fact, sometimes no two cycles are the same for the individual person. Stress, diet, sleep, and illness can all affect ovulation which then affects your fertile window.
It can be a BIG problem if you are using an app to help you to get pregnant and even worse if you are using it to avoid getting pregnant!
Learning to temperature chart is a far more accurate way to track YOUR fertility specific to YOUR cycle and YOUR body.
How does it work?
When you ovulate the hormone progesterone spikes and creates a slight rise in your temperature. By taking your waking temperature every day and tracking it on a chart, you can see if or when this rise occurs. If it does rise and stays above 0.2 degrees Celsius compared to the previous 6 days, it’s a sign you’ve ovulated. Your fertile window is a few days before this temperature rise.
Other fertile signs are cervical fluid and the position of your cervix. I’ve included more information about what to look for in my quick guide to temperature charting which you can find at the bottom of this blog.
How to chart?
Apps on smartphones are the easiest way, but you can use a paper chart too.
My app of choice is Kindara. I find it simple and easy to use. You can chart your temperature, cervical fluid and any other symptoms you want to track. It also provides an easy to read chart (pictured above).
There are many other apps that can work for temperature charting. I recommend downloading a few to try and then continue with what works for you.
Taking Your Temperature
A simple basal body temperature thermometer can be purchased from a chemist and works just fine.
It’s best to take your temperature as soon as you wake, at the same time each morning, before moving around too much.
It can be hard to remember, which is why I use the Tempdrop tracking device. It’s an armband that tracks your temperature while you sleep. In the morning you sync it to your phone via Bluetooth and add the temperature to your app or chart of choice.
It’s great for shift workers, co-sleepers, breast-feeding, inconsistent sleepers, or women who lead busy lifestyles.
I’ve been using mine for almost 2 years now. It’s really easy to use, comfortable and helps me to stay consistent.
Kirsty King studied a four-year Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Naturopathy. She spent the final year of her degree under the mentorship of Dr Andrea Robertson (Osteopath, Naturopath, Nutritionist) and works along side her today at Southside clinic in Unley, Adelaide. She also offers consults in Sydney as well as online for patients all over Australia.
When she is not in the clinic or talking about gut health you’ll most likely find her at home in her little veggie garden, curled up with her cat Tyrion, planning an adventure with her partner Joe or in the kitchen cooking up a delicious home cooked meal.
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