fertility tracking

What happens with rise in Basal Body Temperature - Increase Chances of Getting Pregnant

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 20 Mar 2019 - Written by Dr. Surveen Ghumman - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Basal body temperature (BBT) is the lowest body temperature attained after complete rest (usually after sleep). To predict ovulation accurately, measure BBT daily for several cycles with no breaks. Basal Body temperature can be taken orally or vaginally.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is the lowest body temperature noted after complete rest (usually after sleep). (1) One can measure the BBT using a basal body thermometer, a special large-scale, easy-to-read thermometer that registers only from 96 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Normally, women register from 96 to 98 degrees before ovulation and 97 to 99 degrees after ovulation. This may lead to a somewhat higher value than the true BBT. In women, ovulation causes a sustained increase of at least 0.2 °C (0.4 °F) in Basal Body Temperature. Monitoring Basal Body Temperatures is one way of estimating the day of ovulation. The tendency of a woman to have lower temperatures before ovulation, and higher temperatures afterward, is referred to as a Biphasic Temperature Pattern (BTP). The Basal Body Temperature of men is comparable to the BBT of women in their follicular phase. (2)

In this article, we will look at:

1. Using BBT to Predict Ovulation

Temperature

Using the BBT method to predict ovulation is a simpler alternative to gynecologic ultrasound. To predict ovulation accurately, measure BBT daily for several cycles with no breaks. Right before ovulation, BBT usually drops, with a sharp increase right after ovulation. In the first phase of the cycle, BBT remains below 98.6 °F (37 °C). Most often the BBT falls between 97.52 °F to 98.24 °F (36.4–36.8 °C) because of low progesterone concentration. One day before ovulation, a luteinizing hormone peak is observed, which may be accompanied by an additional decrease in temperature by 0.36 to 0.54 °F (0.2 to 0.3 °C.) After ovulation, the level of progesterone sees a sharp increase (approximately 10-fold), which causes a temperature leap above 98.6 °F (37 °C). With an adequate corpus luteum function, it will stay at this level for 10 to 14 days. If the fertilized egg does not implant, the progesterone level and basal body temperature will decrease before menstruation. (3)

2. Cases When Charting Basal Body Temperature is required

To monitor ovulation on your own, one can measure the basal body temperature (BBT) daily in the morning before getting out of bed.

Chart BBT in case of the following conditions:

  • If a woman wants to monitor and understand the processes taking place in her body
  • For determining the most fertile days
  • In order to predict menstruation
  • If one suspects hormonal imbalance and reproductive system failures
  • The Basal Body Temperature chart can warn about the “unsafe” days during which a woman should refrain from unprotected sex to avoid unwanted pregnancy (provided your cycle is stable, periods are regular, and the measurements are accurate). However, this is not the most effective method because it depends on many factors (illness, stress, poor sleep, measurement accuracy, etc.) One should not rely on this method alone. 

3. Precautions for Tracking BBT

  • Measure your body temperature every morning at the same time.
  • Do not get out of bed and talk (i.e., perform any actions) before taking your temperature.
  • Always measure the temperature in the same way whether orally, vaginally, or rectally.
  • Use the same thermometer (electronic or other).
  • You should have had at least 3 hours of sleep before measuring the temperature.
  • It is best to take the measurements for at least three cycles. The BBT tracking data collected during this time will help determine ovulation and reveal if any hormonal disorders are present. (4)

4. Detecting Pregnancy on a BBT Chart

If basal body temperature stays elevated for more than 14 days after a leap indicating ovulation and if period does not occur, this may indicate pregnancy. If conception takes place approximately on day 4 to 10 after ovulation, the fertilized egg implants itself into the endometrium. (5) This may be indicated by a sharp decrease in temperature on the chart, which is due to the fact that pregnancy onset is associated with estrogen release, which lowers the BBT. Basal body temperature after conception may result in a triphasic pattern on the BBT graph. This situation is the result of additional progesterone produced  in a pregnant woman’s body. Sometimes, BBT can be inaccurate and unpredictable in nature. To be on the safe side, try to take a home pregnancy test kit. (6)

5. Steps to Take Body Basal Temperature Correctly

It is important to take the temperature at the same time every morning before undertaking any activity. Virtually the same procedure for measuring BBT has been followed for decades, except the route could be rectal, vaginal or oral. With the advent of digital thermometers and the concern over mercury, women who use symptothermal methods of natural family planning are now advised to use an oral digital thermometer immediately after waking in the morning. Vaginal or rectal temperatures are recommended only when there is a lot of variability in the temperature pattern and it is difficult to distinguish the temperature shift. Factors that may affect the temperature readings include consumption of alcohol, insomnia, oversleeping, holidays, travel, time zones, illness, shift work, stress, gynecologic disorders and medications. (7) Once the right kind of thermometer is obtained, one can follow the given steps to take the BBT correctly:

  • Before going to bed at night, place a thermometer within the reach of the bed. One should be able to reach it without sitting up or moving around.  
  • If one is using a mercury thermometer, shake it down before bed. Do not plan to shake it down in the morning, as that can increase the body temperature.
  • Set the alarm the same time every day. Yes, even on the weekends. Aim to take the temperature within the same time frame every morning.
  • Reach for the thermometer and take your temperature when you wake up. Do not sit or go to the bathroom.
  • Take your temperature orally or vaginally. Taking temperature orally is the easiest way. In case you are sleeping with your mouth open, you may want to try the vaginal route. 
  • Follow the directions of your thermometer to get the best reading. If you are using a mercury thermometer, make sure you leave it in place long enough to get a final reading. 
  • After you take the temperature, write it down or, you may input your result right into your smartphone, if you are using a fertility app. 

Most women find charting to be an empowering way to learn about their bodies and increase their odds of getting pregnant. The act of taking and charting temperature may give some women a sense of control. For these women, basal body temperature charting is a positive experience whereas others may feel stressed by charting. Some may worry about when and how to take their temperatures, or obsess over their daily temperature fluctuations. The act of timing sex for ovulation can add even more stress and be a negative experience for some couples. Remember that charting is a choice. You have many other options to track your fertility so in case charting is not working for you that is okay. For more updated articles on fertility follow Elawoman blog. Elawoman has helped thousands of hopeful women and men become parents for not just the first time, but many times over. Find the best fertility treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to best IVF doctors in India, best IUI centres in India under our guidance. Call Elawoman today +917899912611 - and book an initial consultation with us.

Dr. Surveen Ghumman

Written by

Infertility Specialist, Obstetrician
Delhi

Dr. Surveen Ghumman is an infertility specialist and gynecologist specializing in IVF, Reproductive Endocrinology, Recurrent failures of implantation, Embryology, Fertility preservation and Surrogacy. Dr. Surveen has completed MBBS from Christian Medical College, Ludhiana in 1986 and MD in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Government Medical College, Amritsar in 1991. She has also pursued certificate courses in ART and Clinical Embryology from Manipal University and fellowships in Minimal Access Surgeries. She has also pursued Micromanipulation in ART in the year 2011. Dr. Surveen is practicing at The Fertility Clinic IVF Solutions and Max Super Specialty Hospital. For more information, visit elawoman.com

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7 Comments

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Shuchita Giri

BBT charting is not as reliable as such. Because it is very difficult to plot.

Oct. 3, 2018, 9:01 p.m. 4.5

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Simran Raj

Sometimes it's difficult to track the BBT results so, try plotting the results on graph paper. When you see the graph heading upwards, you can analyze that your ovulation is near.

Sept. 13, 2018, 3:45 p.m. 4.5

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Sangida Sekh

I have been using cervical mucus to track my fertile days, but after reading this article BBT chart looks like a much more easier method. I think I will switch.

Sept. 12, 2017, 4:42 p.m. 5.0

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Morales Valdez

My BBT is quite high from certain days. Hopefully using BBT chart has helped me in getting pregnant.

Aug. 23, 2017, 4:45 p.m. 4.5

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Kate Doucet

I tracked my ovulation through fertility calculator and I tried making love on my most fertile days. It's a good trick for getting pregnant.

Aug. 23, 2017, 4:41 p.m. 5.0

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Abhishek Sharma

While using BBT chart, make sure that your body is at complete rest. Otherwise your temperature will not be useful in tracking fertile days.

Aug. 23, 2017, 4:17 p.m. 5.0

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Chaitanya Gupta

I think of using a BBT chart as I want to conceive. Can I thoroughly rely on its result?

May 28, 2017, 2:40 p.m. 4.5

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