basal body temperature

Whether you are trying to get pregnant or avoid it, you may like to know about the basal body temperature method. Indeed, this is another type of natural birth control.

As such, it can help you figure out the days when you are most likely to conceive. And, of course, that works as a contraception procedure as well.

Creating a basal body temperature chart is an easy and inexpensive way to monitor your fertility, but is it really a good option? Don't waste your time guessing and let Captain Mums help you out!


Good morning, thermometer!

The basal body temperature method has no secrets. As you may expect, it revolves around keeping track of your basal temperature over time and looking for variations that can be a sign of ovulation. But what is basal body temperature? Simply put, it is the temperature of our body when we wake up. The procedure is straightforward. You just need to follow these easy steps:

  • Start taking your basal temperature the first day of your menstruation, so you can keep track of the whole cycle.

  • Get a digital basal thermometer and keep it on your night table, where you can reach it very easily.

  • Take your temperature as soon as you wake up. Do it in bed and without moving or speaking much. Any activity, even if it's minimal, could alter the numbers.

  • You can put the thermometer in your mouth, under the tongue, or if you prefer, in the rectum or your vagina. The three ways are effective, but you need to choose one option and stick with it for the whole time in order to avoid variations in the temperature.

  • The same rule applies to the thermometer that you choose. You always have to use the same one, because you will be working with very precise statistics that require a unique device. If it gets broken, try to get the same brand and model, or at least a similar one.

  • While you are having your basal temperature measured, you need to relax. Avoid moving and speaking, which could have an effect on the results.

  • Create a chart where you can keep track of your daily statistics. Make it visual so it's easy to read. Besides the basal body temperature, you should also write down any detail that could interfere with the standard digits. For instance, if you get sick and had a fever or went out the night before and got pretty drunk. Even if you have nightmares or your anxiety levels are higher than usual. Take note of anything unusual, even if you don't immediately think it could affect the temperature. You might be surprised!

At this point, you must be wondering what you should do with all the numbers you are gathering together. The point here is for you to figure out a pattern. Just so you know, the basal body temperature tends to range from 36.5º up to 36.7º. The expected swing during the two or three days after ovulation is somewhere from 0.3 to 0.5. The increase will remain stable until 'Aunt Flo' knocks on your door. Basically, it means that the best days for you to conceive or, in contrast, to avoid unprotected sex, will be just before the temperature starts to raise.  That's exactly when the egg is in the right place for the sperm to find it!


Basal body temperature, better as a complement

As said before, one of the great advantages of tracking your basal body temperature over other methods is its simplicity. It does require some discipline on your part, but if you include it in your routine, as the first thing that you do every morning, it won't be hard to follow. As part of your family planning, it is also an economic option to consider, since all it takes is for you to have a thermometer. Do you need more reasons? Here's a good one: it's a non-invasive procedure, which makes it a lot more pleasant to deal with. No doctor's visits, poking and prodding, or devices required! 

Unfortunately, the basal temperature method is far from being perfect. It doesn't protect you from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDS) and, among the natural birth control methods, it appears to be one of the least effective. The statistics speak for themselves: 24 out of 100 women will become pregnant using a method like this. Just a little detail that we aren't aware of, like being too stressed, can modify the numbers and prevent you from being able to accurately tell when you are ovulating. To cap it all, it will take you time, sometimes a year, to reach solid conclusions. That's why the best way to embrace following a basal body temperature chart is if you take it as a complement for other birth control methods. Otherwise, be aware of its weaknesses.


Again, choosing the birth control that works best for you is a very personal decision. Some women try natural forms of family planning, such as the basal body temperature, for religious or cultural reasons. For others, it works as an alternative method that doesn't take that much effort and that is easy to combine with more accurate ones. After all, you need to do what makes you feel more comfortable with your body, but remember that there are many other more effective contraception methods. It's up to you to decide how much risk you are willing to accept.