Charting Fertility Factors

The easiest way for a woman to understand when ovulation is occurring is by monitoring and keeping track of basal body temperatures (BBT) and cervical mucous. It is helpful to chart these physical indicators for at least one month in order to determine whether there is a pattern to a woman’s cycle (how long the cycle is, whether or not she may be ovulating, etc).

By listening to these physical indicators women can better predict ovulation and have intercourse at the most optimal times of the month. Charting is a simple routine that needs to be followed each morning.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

Basal body temperature (BBT) is the normal temperature of a healthy person at rest. As a woman starts to ovulate, hormonal changes trigger a body temperature rise of between 0.5 and 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures may still spike on other days as a result of other factors such as cold or fatigue, but if they stay elevated for 3 days or more ovulation has probably occurred. Women are most fertile a few days preceding the spike.

Checking the BBT is done using an oral, regular or basal thermometer – digital models are best. There are a few key guidelines women should follow when monitoring BBTs.

Basal body temperature should always be taken:

  • At the same time each day, after waking up in the morning
  • Orally
  • Before doing any activity (i.e., showering, etc.)

Basal body thermometers are inexpensive and available at most drug stores.

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Benefits Of Charting

Immediately after waking up each morning, women take their BBT and record it on a chart. Most basal thermometers come with a temperature-plotting chart. Save all the charts in order to review them with a healthcare provider if required down the road.

A few benefits of charting:

  • Inexpensive way to help improve chances of conceiving.
  • Simple.
  • Private method of starting to understand personal cycles.
  • Information tool that teaches women how to read the body’s natural signals -- particularly helpful to tell women if they have ovulated and if timing of ovulation varies month to month.

A few drawbacks to charting:

  • Inconvenient to daily routines.
  • Temperature change may be difficult to detect.
  • Measures after ovulation occurs, after the optimal timing for intercourse.
Overall, the benefits of charting far outweigh the drawbacks. Having a small personal history of these factors will be beneficial in the short-term for use at home, and also in the long-term in the event a healthcare provider is consulted later on.

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