Ovulation and Temperature

Ovulation and Temperature

If you are trying to become pregnant and are having difficulty, there are things you can do that may be able to increase your chances of conceiving a pregnancy.  Two things you can do that are both cheap and natural, include checking your cervical mucus and keeping track of your basal body temperature.

When trying to determine your ovulation status using either of the two methods, it is a good idea to keep a chart that records your basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes so that you can determine your most fertile days, and can help you get pregnant.

Using Basal Body Temperature Readings to determine Fertility

The first step is to print out a blank BBT chart or make one yourself that has a calendar of your menstrual cycles and is where you record your basal body temperature and changes in cervical mucus.  You also need to buy a good BBT thermometer that can detect changes in temperature to a tenth of a degree.

After that, the rest is fairly simple to perform:

  1. Ovulation and temperatureBegin by creating a calendar that starts with the first day you get your period. Cycle day 1 is the first day of your last menstrual period.  Fill in the rest of the days on the calendar so you can make a determination as to when you are most likely to get pregnant in the cycle.
  2. Beginning on day one, you should check your BBT (basal body temperature) every day, using the instructions listed below. Write down your BBT readings on the chart to determine your most fertile days.  This calendar will also be where you locate your changes in cervical mucus.
  3. At the end of the cycle, take a close look at the calendar. Your most fertile days would have been when the temperature dips a little bit prior to going up upon ovulating. Your cervical changes during that time will show an egg white-type vaginal discharge at around the same time that your temperature dips a little bit before going up at the time of ovulation.  The cervical mucus changes become “favorable” for pregnancy when you are 2 to 3 days before ovulation.
  4. Once you have reviewed your chart, you should highlight the day your temperature rose above its baseline and assume (unless you have irregular cycle) that this is the day in the cycle that you will ovulate on the next cycle.
  5. During the next cycle, continue taking your temperature and checking your cervical mucus to see if your ovulation date was about the same day as the first cycle. If you repeat this procedure for about 3 months to see just how consistent your day of ovulation is.  If it is really consistently the 14th day of the cycle, you can safely assume that the same day in your cycle is when you’ll get pregnant the next time your try.  It won’t guarantee that you will get pregnant on that cycle but simply indicates when your best chances are of getting pregnant.
  6. Determine your pattern based on the BBT charts. If it is a regular pattern, you can choose to have sex around the time prior to and on the day of ovulation.  If your cycles are irregular, you should keep taking your temperature and use cervical mucus changes rather than your basal body temperature reading as, once the temperature rises, it is often too late to get pregnant because you have already ovulated.
  7. Make sure that you have sex at least every other day when you are in your most favorable fertility days. Your most fertile days are those about 5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation.  You can get pregnant, even if you have one episode of intercourse if that intercourse was performed at least five days prior to ovulation.  Sperm can live inside the female body for up to 5-6 days before they begin to die off.

The Method of Checking your BBT

Using temperature to predict ovulation has been around for many years and can be used to increase your chances of having a baby.  It usually works well; however, it may not be as active as once thought.

Prior to ovulating, the basal body temperature ranges from 97 to 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit, although some women have slightly different readings from this.  When you ovulate, the follicle releases progesterone, which raises the temperature about one degree.  The rise in temperature you experience is usually a sign that you will not be fertile during the last half of the menstrual cycle.

The rise in temperature will be extremely slight—about a half of a degree when checked against the baseline.  The temperature will remain elevated until the day or so that you have your next period.  If you are pregnant, you will miss your period and your temperature will continue to be elevated throughout the pregnancy.

The BBT is measured very accurately to within a tenth of a degree.  Because of this need for accuracy, you can’t use a regular thermometer but should invest in a BBT thermometer.  Pay special attention to the half degree risk in temperature as you will not be fertile during this part of the cycle.


Tips for understanding your BBT

Here is the procedure:

  1. Ovulation and TemperatureStart taking your BBT the first day of your menstrual cycle by using a special BBT thermometer.
  2. Take your temperature the first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed. Have your thermometer and a piece of paper by your bedside so that you can record your temperature without having to get out of bed.
  3. Don’t eat, drink alcohol or other beverage, or smoke prior to taking your temperature for the most accurate readings.
  4. Take your temperature orally, rectally, or vaginally. Use the same method of detecting your temperature each time.
  5. Write down the number or chart the temperature on a graph each day. You’ll see a nice pattern of a baseline body temperature, followed by a day in which the temperature slightly drops.  Have intercourse during this time.
  6. Bear in mind that you may have a fever during the cycle that will throw off the reading. If this happens, you may not be able to tell your day of ovulation during that particular cycle.

References:

  1. Ovulation chart: How to predict ovulation by charting your basal body temperature and cervical mucus. babycenter.com.
  2. Charting your fertility cycle. http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/fertility-tests-for-women.
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