The temperature recorded before getting out of bed is known as ‘basal body temperature’. By making a chart of your basal body temperature, you may be able to pinpoint your most fertile days. Thus, by following the basal body temperature method, you can get pregnant soon or you can avoid pregnancy.
Recording the basal body temperature in a chart, every day, is described as basal body temperature method or BBT method. It is the easiest method that women can follow for getting pregnant, or for avoiding pregnancy. For this, women need to record the basal body temperature (BBT) every day. BBT is the lowest temperature reached by a woman’s body during a 24 hours period. When is body temperature too low? How does the BBT method help for both fertility and contraception? Find answers to these questions and more, in the following section.
Basal Body Temperature
The normal body temperature range for oral measurement is 98.2 ± 1.3 °F or 36.8 ± 0.7 °C. You must have observed that body temperature varies while carrying out various activities during the day. It is low when you are at rest. The body attains lowest temperature usually during sleep. But one cannot measure the temperature while sleeping. So the temperature recorded before getting out of bed, early in the morning is considered as the basal body temperature, for the sake of convenience.
You should lie down quietly for five minutes in bed, and should measure the body temperature before getting up, and before starting any activity (even before kicking off the sheets!). Just getting out of bed can also raise the body temperature slightly. Women are expected to register minute changes in the basal body temperature. The body temperature does not change drastically. The temperature changes are very minute but if you follow the BBT method correctly, it can help you avoid pregnancy or get pregnant soon. You just need to observe the fluctuations in the basal body temperature chart.
Basal Body Temperature Method
The BBT method is also known as ‘sympto-thermal method’ and it requires recording of your basal body temperature throughout your menstrual cycle. The method is based on the fact that the basal body temperature of a woman rises slightly after ovulation. Hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, play an important role in regulating the body temperature, menstrual cycle and fertility of a woman.
The ovaries release an egg (corpus luteum) every month, which releases the hormone progesterone. Release of the egg from ovaries is termed as ovulation. The female egg is available for fertilization only for 24 hours. Progesterone is released to prepare the uterus for the embryo. Progesterone plays an important role in thickening of the uterus and thus helps develop a safe environment for the embryo. The release of progesterone is responsible for the higher basal body temperature of a woman after ovulation.
A woman is most fertile around ovulation. If the female egg comes in contact with healthy sperms within 24 hours after its release, and if all other conditions are favorable, you can become pregnant. If you don’t want to get pregnant, avoiding unprotected sex only after ovulation will not be helpful. Though the egg is viable for 24 hours, the sperms entering your body are viable for 2-3 days.
If you have sperms inside your body, a day or two before ovulation, there are chances of conception. So if you don’t want pregnancy, you are expected to avoid unprotected sex for 3-4 days before ovulation and 2 days after ovulation. And if you are looking forward to have your joy of bundle in your hands soon, then you should enjoy unprotected sex during these days.
Your menstrual cycle is divided into two unequal phases. ‘Follicular phase’ is the phase before ovulation while ‘luteal phase’ is the phase after ovulation. Those who have regular cycles, usually ovulate on the 14th day. Those who have irregular cycles, can know about ovulation pattern by studying the chart of basal body temperature.
Women who have experienced a miscarriage can take proper precautions if they watch for early pregnancy signs. Elevated basal body temperature for 18 days continuously after ovulation is considered as an early sign of pregnancy before missed period. A higher basal body temperature during pregnancy is usually noticed by a woman in the first trimester. Low progesterone levels can lead to low body temperature and can be the cause of infertility or miscarriage.
Basal body temperature method plays an important role in fertility treatments. You can use a regular thermometer, a specially designed basal temperature thermometer that shows minute changes in temperature or an easy to use digital thermometer to record your lowest temperature. Body temperature may vary according to age and overall health of the woman. Remember, the BBT method does not predict when you are going to ovulate, it just makes you aware of the fact that ovulation has occurred.