Taking your body basal temperature (BBT) is an excellent way to understand your cycle and hormonal imbalances. It helps you to identify the problem and the phase of your cycle that is stopping you from getting pregnant. When you get to the root cause of why you’re not getting pregnant, then you can take the exact steps to improve your fertility.
Charting Hack #1: Wait To Analyse Your Chart
When you first start charting you immediately want all the answers. You want to understand:
- What the temperature means?
- How does it translate to your fertility?
- What should the temperatures be?
- And what can you do to improve it?
However, it’s hard to draw conclusions from the outset for several reasons.
Tips To Help With Analysing Your BBT Chart
- One or two temperatures don’t mean much in isolation. It’s the pattern of your whole cycle that counts. Wait until you’ve had at least one full cycle before drawing any conclusions.
- There are lots of mistakes that can happen in the first month of taking your temperature. It’s a skill that you get used to and temperatures become more accurate with time. Like with most changes you make to your fertility, it’s best to wait for three months before analysing your charts.
- Another reason for waiting three months before drawing conclusions from your charts is that it makes more sense. It gives you the chance to see if something is an anomaly or if it’s an issue.
Be patient with temping and if you can – allow your charts to build up before analysing them and seeking answers.
Charting Hack #2: Use BBT Charts In Conjunction With Other Tests
To get to the root of your Fertility Puzzle and be a great Fertility Detective, it’s important to use multiple tools.
Tips To Help With Testing Your Fertility
- Taking your temperature empowers you to understand your cycle, assess the four different phases and help you get a Conceivable Cycle. Ovulation test kits can be used along side to confirm ovulation.
- Getting tests from your doctor and fertility clinic give you the next stage of information. For example, if you don’t have a Conceivable Cycle, then get some basic hormone blood tests to assess FSH, LH, Oestradiol , prolactin, testosterone and progesterone.
- The next step is to build on the information you have and get in-depth hormone tests. To identify the exact issue we test for 35 hormones (including all the sex hormones) for each day of the cycle. This gives us valuable information that can help us make specific recommendations.
- In-depth tests are expensive and they are not something you would want to do each cycle. And so we come back to the BBT chart. We can use a BBT chart to assess every single month for free. It shows us the progress that a woman makes with the specific changes she has made from the in-depth tests.
Using the BBT chart in conjunction with other tests helps a woman to see the impact of the changes she is making and give her confidence as she sees herself moving towards a Conceivable Cycle. Using multiple tools means that we can pin point the issue and resolve it faster.
Charting Hack #3: Prioritise Sleep
The problem with taking your temperature is that there are strict guidelines on how to do it to make the reading accurate.
For example, you have to take your temperature at the same time every day (7am), or within half an hour either side of your target time (6.30-7.30am). Whilst during the week this often works – at the weekend most women like to catch up on sleep and have a lie in.
Do you set your alarm to your target time (7am) at the weekend so that you can get an accurate reading? Or do you just take your temperature when you wake up at naturally at 9am?
One of the biggest mistakes that women make when they start taking their temperature is to sacrifice sleep.
Tips To Help With Prioritising Sleep Over Taking Your BBT
- I encourage you to relax around taking your temperature and prioritise sleep. Instead of making your temperature the most important item on your to-do list – reprioritise and put you at the top. Your sleep and your wellbeing are more important than your temperature.
- Think about the reason you’re taking your temperature to start with. Sleep is a vital part of balancing your hormones, repairing your body and growing healthy eggs.
- During the week try to take your temperature at the same time every day. If you can try to pick a target time of between 6am and 7am because this is best due to your circadian rhythm. And then at the weekend wake up naturally, note down the time that you take your temperature with the temperature reading. You can do a calculation to adjust it. Type into google: Body Basal Temperature Adjuster and there are many BBT adjusters that you can use for free.
To Adjust Your BBT, Or Not?
Most people’s temperature is 1/10th of a degree different for every half hour difference in time. For example, if you normally wake up at 7am and you wake up one hour earlier at 6am, then adjust your temperature by increasing it by 0.2oC. Or if you wake up two hours later at 9am, then adjust it by decreasing it by 0.4 oC. The key is to mark it as an adjustment on your chart, so that you can see it in the bigger picture when you look at your chart at the end of the cycle.
The caveat to this system is that we are not all the same. And like with everything, you are unique. This is an adjustment that is true for most, however your temperature might not change that much with a half an hour, or it might change more.
Remember be your own Fertility Detective and work out what is right for you and how your body is unique.
Charting Hack #4: Stop Charting If It Gets Stressful
One of the problems with taking your temperature is that it can be stressful.
You have to take it first thing in the morning before you do anything else.
When you’re struggling with fertility making the first thought and action about fertility can be hard and create stress.
There are strict guidelines on how to take it accurately.
There are many factors that can change your temperature and make it an inaccurate reading. For example maybe you’ve stayed up late, had a glass of wine or woken up in the middle of the night. There can be stress and confusion over whether a reading is accurate.
Thinking about temping can disrupt your sleep.
For some women thinking about taking their temperature creates anxiety and makes them wake up early in the morning. Sleep is such an important part of improving fertility because this is when your body gets to rest and repair.
Not understanding or over analysing your chart.
Diligently taking your temperature and not understanding what it means can be stressful. Equally, over analysing your chart and obsessing about every reading is not good for your wellbeing.
So…. what do you do? You want to take your temperature to get the valuable information and insights that charting offers into Fertility Puzzle, however you don’t want to increase your stress levels.
Tips To Help With Reducing Stress With Taking Your BBT
- Put charting down if it gets stressful. Just stop doing it for a few weeks and then come back to it when you’re ready.
- Find ways of reducing the stress – like leaving the reading in your thermometer and getting your partner to mark the reading on your chart, so that you don’t even look at your chart until the end of the month.
- Buy a thermometer that automatically takes your temperature throughout the night, so that if you have disrupted sleep or don’t want to think about taking it each morning, then you get a device to do the work for you. There are lots of different options all with their pros and cons.
Do you want more information on charting, how to be a Fertility Detective and get a Conceivable Cycle? Join the Fertility Heroes private Facebook Group.Warmest wishes,Join the free Fertility Heroes Facebook group. In our private Facebook group you'll get fertility tips, research and inspiration. Only the women in the group will know you've joined and see your posts. 2. Hang out in Clubhouse in the Fertility Club and the Fertile Mindset Club for fertility strategies, support and community. 3. Apply for a free Fertility Analysis Session to work out what is missing from your fertility puzzle and what to do about it. 4. Join the Plan Yourself Pregnant Membership. Get customised support to work out why you're not pregnant and get your personal plan to optimise your fertility, balance your hormones, improve your womb lining and increase your egg quality.