As the months of TTC drag on, I continue to gain more and more knowledge about my fertility (and yours!). I am going to begin including little ‘lessons’ on some of the things I’ve learned that I hope will also help you on your journey.
So…Lesson #1: Basal Body Temperature (BBT) charting. BBT charting is one of the best ways for you to confirm whether or not you’re ovulating. I know, I know, it’s scary to think that you might not be (and you probably are!), but the fact of the matter is – some people don’t ovulate. Others ovulate a couple times a year. Those who do ovulate can do so at different times every month. All of this uncertainty means that it is helpful to track and confirm if/when you are ovulating. This is where BBT charting comes in!
Our bodies (and man, are our bodies cool!), respond to the release of an egg from the ovaries by increasing our progesterone (hormone) levels. As progesterone levels increase in the system, it increases your body temperature by approximately 0.4-0.6 degrees which creates a more fertile environment for the egg. These levels would remain elevated throughout your pregnancy. Once you see three temps above the highest temp prior to ovulation, it’s safe to say you’ve ovulated. The elevated BBT occurs approximately 24-48 hours after ovulation takes place. I REPEAT: the temperature jump comes after ovulation, so BBT charting alone will not tell you when you are fertile and should be having sex. Once you see a temperature jump, it is too late for fertilization.
Ok, so check out my July chart above. I track my temperature on fertilityfriend.com and it has been an awesome resource. I highly recommend it (and it’s totally free!). As you can see, I ovulated on Day 15, because that it the last day before my temperature spike. The temperature above the cover line on Day 7 is considered a one-time aberration and can be ignored (the program will ignore it for you). My temperature then stays high for the rest of my cycle, giving my egg time to be fertilized (if it weren’t being so freakin’ stubborn!). If an egg isn’t fertilized, which mine clearly was not, the temperature will drop down to pre-ovulation levels when menstruation occurs.
Ok, I think that was a lot of info for one post, so I’m going to leave it at that. I do want to point out that the number of days that your temperature is raised is also important. They say you need at least 10 days between ovulation and your next period for a fertilized egg to have time to attach to the uterine wall. Anything less may be too short (not for everyone) for this to occur. As you can see, mine lasts 10 days (the minimum). I wish it were longer. They say the ideal is 12-16 days. This phase is called the luteal phase.
Ok, now i’m really done! See you next time!