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Charting Your Menstrual Cycle by the Basal Body Temperature

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For those of us who have difficulty getting pregnant, charting your menstrual cycle by taking your basal body temperature can be a way to better your chances of getting pregnant. Why? The body gives us many indications when ovulation is taking place, and temperature is one of them, but the key is to know what we’re looking for.

Some are put off by this method because it just seems like too much work, but it's really not. This is especially so since many women have used this technique and dramatically increased their chances of pregnancy. The basal body temperature, also called the BBT, is a long-standing way to keep up with ovulation.

Generally, a woman’s body temperature before ovulation is 97.0 to 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit – it varies a bit from person to person. But after ovulation, the body’s temperature raises a whole .1 to .2 degrees. I know, if you blink, you’ll miss it – which is probably the reason why this technique alone is not a good indicator for all women. You have a very small window to work from since once your body temperature goes up a day or two after ovulation, you’ve missed your prime opportunity to get pregnant that month. However, charting the temperature helps many to keep track of this pattern and mark when they are most likely to be fertile.

The following are tips from the WebMD website for getting the most accurate BBT you can:

1. Begin taking your temperature on the first day of your period.
2. Take it at about the same time every day, preferably before you get
out of bed in the morning.
3. Don't do anything -- eat, drink, smoke, or even move around -- before
you take your temperature.
4. You can take your temperature however you want -- orally, rectally,
or vaginally -- but make sure you use the same technique each time.
5. Write down your temperature every day on your fertility chart; you
can make a graph with each day of your cycle on the bottom and
temperatures on the left, connecting the dots as you go.
6. Keep in mind that you will probably get some occasional freak

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.