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Understanding Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

Basal body temperature is the lowest temperature that your body will generally have. This occurs right away when waking up in the morning. The best time to measure your basal body temperature is before you eat, drink, move around, or even get out of bed. Basal body temperature is a useful indicator of when exactly you have ovulated, and by tracking your basal body temperature from month to month you can get a relatively accurate idea about when you are going to ovulate, and when the best time to try to conceive will be.

Basal Body temperature measurements are a good way to know when you are going to be fertile. If you carefully track and record your basal body temperature throughout your monthly cycle, you will be able to notice a pattern in which your basal body temperature fluctuates. After ovulation, your basal body temperature will increase slightly. Basal body temperature tracking, then, can tell you when ovulation has occurred, after the fact. As such, basal body temperature does not help you to predict ovulation. Rather, by measuring your basal body temperature throughout your cycle for several months, you will eventually see a patter as to which day of your monthly cycle that your Basal Body temperature will spike. Generally speaking, this change in basal body temperature will be in the 0.4 to 0.6 degree range.

Your basal body temperature can be measured with a basal body temperature thermometer which is able to measure your temperature with an accuracy of one tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. There are basal body temperature thermometers that are used orally, and there are ones that are used rectally. Generally speaking, a digital basal body temperature thermometer will be able to make this sort of accurate measurement.

Many women who are trying to conceive will use additional methods of determining fertility, in addition to charting basal body temperature. One of the most common of these is charting changes to the cervical mucus, as a woman’s cervical mucus will change throughout her cycle, as well. Using these two factors together, a woman can generally know just about when she will ovulate.

Last modified: February 10, 2013

The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.