Basal Body Temperature Charting Charting your Waking Body Temperature, Cervical Fluid and Cervical Position can indicate when you are most fertile during your monthly cycle. Charting can give you crucial information as to when you peak (most fertile) time is, when you have ovulated, when your menstrual period should begin, if you have successfully conceived or if there is a possibility of a hormonal imbalance. Taking your waking body temperature is the first step to charting. This page will give you instruction on how to take your daily temperature and what the information you obtain from them means. When To Start Taking Temps Your first temperature should be taken starting with day one of your cycle. Day one of your cycle is the first day you begin your menstrual period. What Time To Take Temp Your temperature reading can rise up to 1/10 of a degree for every half an hour taken later than normal or fall 1/10 of a degree for every half hour taken earlier than normal. To get an accurate chart, it is crucial to take your temperature as close as possible to the same time everyday. If you normally get up during the weekdays at 60 AM try and take all your temperatures at this time. Weekends can be tough....we all like to sleep in, just remember that each temperature that is not taken at the normal time has to be adjusted (using the 1/10 for every half an hour rule) which will get you close to what your temperature should have been. Always log the time your temperature was taken each day and make a notation if your temperature has been adjusted. What Kind Of Thermometer You can use either a traditional glass or digital thermometer, but use the same thermometer throughout your cycle. If you use a traditional glass thermometer always shake it down and make sure you wait for 5 minutes before you read the temperature. If you use a digital thermometer, wait for the beep (usually about 1 minute) before you read and that the temperature will register to 1/10 of a degree. For example: will read 97.56 and not round up to 97.6. Do I Take Temp Orally? Temperatures can be taken either orally or vaginally. Which ever method you choose, keep it consistent throughout the cycle. Take Temps Upon Waking It is important to take your temperature immediately upon waking. Your temperature will fluctuate once you are moving around. If you wake up during the middle of the night and you go back to sleep and get at least three additional hours of uninterrupted sleep, your temperature will be accurate. If you wake up less than three hours before your normal scheduled waking time and have to get up for any reason, it is advisable to take your temperature then (before you get out of bed) and not at your normal waking time. Remember log the time temperature was taken and make a notation as to the adjustment. How To Log Your Temps Start with a good spreadsheet - Check out different charts to use or make up one of your own. There is no such thing as too much information to log in your chart - every little twinge may be telling you something! Temps should range from the mid 96's to 99.00. Your cycle day and date should run across the top of the spreadsheet. Your indicator columns and your temperature range should run up and down. Make sure you start your numbering on cycle day one (first day of mp) leave the blanks if you have missed a few days. Always round down. For example if your waking temperature registered at 97. 52 - you would chart your temp at 97.5. If it was 97.68 you would round down to 97.6 the reason for this is you do not want to risk charting a false high high temp. A false high could lead you to believe that you have already ovulated when in fact you may still be fertile. Circle the appropriate temp for the appropriate day and log all other indicators for that day. Draw a line going from your first charted temp to your second charted temp, from your second charted temp to your third and so on. This will give you a clearer picture as to the rises and or falls within your cycle. Occasionally you may get an out of the ordinary temperature read - you may be ill, stressed, did not get enough sleep, had alcohol the night before....these temps should be logged but do not connect them to the previous day or the day after - the reason for this is they are not a true temp and may cause confusion in reading your chart. Remember to make a notation as to the cause of the unusual temperature. The Information Temps Give Taking your waking body temperature can give you information that is very helpful if trying to conceive. If not pregnant your temperature will reflect two phases during a cycle, three phases if conception has occurred. Your temperatures will vary (fall and rise) during your monthly cycle. They will be lower in the first phase, higher in the second phase and higher still in the third phase once implantation takes place. The rise in temps from the first phase to the second phase is caused from ovulation. Your temps will rise only AFTER ovulation has taken place. Charting temperatures alone without using cervical fluid and position DOES NOT indicate when your most fertile time is (before ovulation) until after ovulation has occurred - which is too late. Therefore we recommend that all indicators are charted to give a more efficient reading of fertility. First Phase Temps The first phase (Preovulatory) before ovulation has occured, temps will normally be between 97.0 (36.0) to 97.5 (36.5). Right before ovulation occurs the hormone estrogen is produced causing lower temps. Many women are able to see a dip in temp alerting them that peak time is near and ovulation is about to occur. Just remember, your temps can rise and fall multiple times before a dip making it difficult to know when the lowest point will be. It is important to also know that your lowest temperature is most likely NOT your peak day and unless you are charting other indicators you may miss your most fertile time completely. Second Phase Temps In the second phase (Luteal Phase) which begins after ovulation temperatures generally will rise between 97.6 (36.6) and 98.6 (37.6). The increased temperatures are due to the hormone progesterone which is released from the corpus luetum - the follicle that hold the egg. The temps will remain high for a period usually 12 to 16 days until they drop again (either the day before or the day of) when your cycle ends and menstrual period begins. If conception occurs temperatures will remain high during the entire pregnancy. Third Phase Temps Many women experience a third phase (Triphasic Phase) which is temperatures climbing to yet another level that is approximately 3/10's - 4/10's over the Luteal Phase high. This is due to the HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) hormone that is produced if conception has occurred and when implantation takes place. Detecting OvulationDetecting ovulation by charting your temperatures can easily be seen after you have ovulated. A dip in temperature followed by a rise (at least 2/10's of a degree) higher than all temps the previous six days and staying at or beyond this level for at least 3 consecutive days shows that ovulation has occurred. Your coverline is usually drawn at this point. Remember - Snuggle Buggle has to take place BEFORE you ovulate to enhance your chances for conception. Charting your cervical fluid and position along with your temperatures will give you a much clearer picture as to when you are most likely ovulating and when your peak time is. Identifying Anovulatory Cycles A anovulatory cycle means that no ovulation occurred during that particular cycle. This can be identified by charting your waking temperature. When viewing charted temperatures that appear to have peaks and valleys (many low and high temps) throughout the entire month with no clear separation of a rise in level of temps (rising from first phase / pre-ovulation Phase to second phase / luetal phase) this is a good indication that ovulation did not occur. Many women who are able to conceive may have months that no ovulation takes place - however, we only have 12 times a year to conceive so in my opinion any anovulatory cycles should be followed by seeking testing and / or treatment from ones OBGYN or RE specialist. Low Estrogen Levels Estrogen is a hormone that is produced by the follicles that hold an egg. Estrogen plays a large part in the ability to conceive. It is the hormone needed for women to ovulate. It also plays a part as to the amount and quality of cervical mucus which is crucial for the sperm to travel up to the outer third part of the fallopian tubes for conception. An indication of low levels of estrogen would be a nonovulatory cycle along with low amount or poor quality of cervical fluid. Low Progesterone Levels Progesterone is also an important hormone within our cycle. It comes from the corpus luteum. When an egg is released the follicle that held it collapses and becomes a yellowed bodied mass called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum sticks to the ovarian wall and starts producing progesterone. Its life span is about 12 to 16 days. Progesterone insures that all maturing eggs (15 - 20 within a cycle) are not released, it thickens the uterine lining, and causes the fertile signs - dip and temp, egg white cervical mucus, and high cervical position to return to a non fertile state. Low Progesterone levels can be indicated by seeing temps close to, on or below coverline after ovulation through the end of a cycle. Even if ovulation was achieved, low progesterone levels make it very difficult to obtain successful conception. Low progesterone levels can be treated by seeking help from an OBGYN or RE specialist. Progesterone shots, pills, and suppositories are some of the ways Doctors may prescribe to increase this hormone. Indication of Possible Pregnancy Ovulation day is not necessarily the same day month to month making the first phase of a cycle vary. The luteal phase (second phase after ovulation) usually is the same every month. After ovulation has occurred you can indicate a pregnancy by watching for the passing of your normal luteal phase. For example if you always have 13 days (DPO - days past ovulation) from when you ovulate to when your period comes and its now 16 DPO, there is a very good chance you are pregnant! 18 DPO with high temps usually guarantee's that you have conceived. Seeing the a sustained third phase (triphasic phase) will also put you on the red alert to a possible success! Indication of Possible Miscarriage Miscarriages are heartbreaking and unfortunately not a rare occurrence! An astounding 1 out of 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Many early miscarriages happen so early that if not charting, one probably would never know it occurred. Sometimes it happens so early that it could be confused with a late period. Passing your normal luteal phase date combined with a third level of temps only to be followed with a steady decline or sudden drop in temp and bleeding may indicate a miscarriage has occurred. If you suspect you are miscarrying, please contact your OBGYN, RE or medical doctor. Don't Temp Alone! Your waking body temperature is a great tool to use in fertility awareness. But temp readings are much better served when charted along with cervical fluid and cervical position. Using the three indicators together will give you a wonderful indication of when your most fertile and peak time is which will greatly enhance your chances for conception. When you are most fertile, your cervical position is very high, your cervix gets soft and the slit becomes open. Your cervical fluid becomes abundant, clear and stretchy (consistency of egg whites). In using all three indicators you will be amazed at the information you will gain about your cycle and what your own body can tell you about your own fertility!