OPK’ing isn’t the only way to gain more knowledge about the fickle ways of your cycle. BBT’ing or Basal Body Temperature is another great method.
Unlike the OPK, the BBT shows you a pattern of your cycle. It doesn’t give you ‘real-time’ information about your ovulation. Instead, the rise of your temperature signifies that your ovulation has already occurred.
With a BBT thermometer, you measure your waking temps every morning. It takes only about a minute but you will gain a ton of information.
What does the BBT thermometer tell you?
- If you are ovulating every cycle
- When your period will start
- If you are within your fertile window or not
Having this information is very helpful when you are trying to conceive. It’s important, however, to remember that you need to measure your waking temps with precision and accuracy.
Here's how you BBT like a pro in 4 steps
- Measure first thing when waking up. Don’t get out of bed yet. Try to stay still and just take a minute to relax while measuring your temp.
- Measure every morning around the same time. Try to stay within a 2-hour window.
- Measure with the same thermometer. It may sound obvious but it’s important. Every thermometer can deviate around 0.01 degree, but if you use the same thermometer this is not a problem.
- Measure after getting at least 4 hours of sleep. If you wake up during the night to use the bathroom, it may be better to BBT before going to the bathroom than when your alarm goes off.
Now that you have reliable measurements, you need to know how to interpret them. You only need a chart (download one here!) and a pen. Write down your waking temp every day along with notes about any unusual events, such as traveling, taking medication, drinking alcohol, or having a fever. Also, note down any stress. These things can have a big influence on the interpretation of your chart.
Here's how you interpret your BBT chart like a pro in 3 steps
- Look at the bigger picture. Not at the individual temperatures.
- Try to find a pattern of low and high temperatures. Remember from the first blog that your temperature rises after your ovulation. Identify that shift.
- Get yourself familiar with the pattern of your cycle. It will become easier over time to predict your fertile window and ovulation.
Armed with the pattern of your cycle, you are able to plan the baby dance with your partner accordingly. You will know when your fertile window occurs. Baby dancing during this time increases your chances of conceiving significantly.