Basal Body Temperature and Ovulation

July 4, 2010

Looking for a way to even the odds that you will conceive? The best way to ensure conception is to have baby-making sex during ovulation: the most fertile time of woman's cycle. But in order to do that, you have to determine when ovulation will occur.

You can go to your local drugstore and buy an ovulation predictor kit, or chart the changes in your cervical mucus. But there are other ways. One of the oldest and most reliable methods for predicting ovulation is to chart your basal body temperature (BBT). The data you create by making your BBT chart may even end up helping your physician hone in on the exact cause of your conception difficulties.

BBT and Mornings

Basal body temperature represents your temperature when your body is at rest. It's best to take your BBT as soon as you wake up each morning. For this reason, it's a good idea to keep your thermometer on your bedside nightstand along with graph paper and a writing utensil.

Small Spike in Temperature for Ovulation

If you are faithful to charting your BBT every day, a pattern will begin to develop. In the days just prior to ovulation, your basal body temperature will have a small spike.  This rise in body heat is caused by the hormonal fluctuations which occur in women at mid-cycle. The rise in temperature is very slight and ranges only from 0.5 degrees to 1.6 degrees. Once your temperature rises, it will hover at this level until you get your period. If you conceive, the slight elevation in temperature will persist throughout your pregnancy.

A woman's normal BBT until the time she ovulates averages from 97.2-97.7 degrees. But there may be times when a woman spikes a very slight rise in temperature independent of ovulation. How can a woman spot the difference between these slight elevations and those caused by ovulation?  A temperature spike due to ovulation will persist over several days (or throughout a pregnancy) whereas increases in temperature due to other causes tend to be short-lived. If you should have a spike for a short amount of time, you can assume that the rise in temperature does not signify ovulation has occurred.

One of the nice things about the BBT method of predicting fertility is that you don't need to run out and buy any fancy equipment. All you need is an oral thermometer, graph paper, and a pen or pencil. The main thing to keep in mind is that if you want to generate an accurate pattern of your cycle, you will have to chart your BBT each morning, no exceptions, for at least a few months. With a bit of patience, you will begin to understand the mysteries of your own cycle and be able to pinpoint when you should be having conception sex.

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