If you and your partner are trying to conceive you may have realized (or already have known) that timing is the key to conceiving. Knowing when the right time to have sex is – or if needed, when to use home insemination tools- is pertinent information for couples who are trying for a baby. So how does one find out when the most opportune moment is?

Since timing is so important, keeping track of which days of your cycle that you are most fertile and are likely to conceive, is a great strategy for couples. Every month a woman’s body naturally gives signals that you could be ovulating. The only thing you need to be able to do is find a way to read those signals. This is where the natural family planning methods come in. These methods allow you to track and monitor these signals of ovulation. One natural family planning method is tracking your basal body temperature.

What is The Basal Body Temperature?

Timing and understanding when you’re likely to ovulate are the two best ways to optimize your chances of conceiving. One way you can track when you ovulate within your monthly cycle, is to use the basal body temperature method. To use this method, you will need to monitor your basal body temperature (BBT), your lowest body temperature in a 24 hour period. This involves you taking your temperature when your body is still resting- right after waking up in bed.

Ordinarily, BBT is stable, however there can be a very slight steady increase around the time of ovulation. This elevation in temperature often remains until the beginning of your next cycle- when your menstrual period begins. This rise in temperature may seem very minor; the difference can be as little as 1.0 degree. However small this change may seem it is an important detection. By checking and charting your BBT each morning, you will be able to track when you have ovulated.

Step-by-Step: How to use Basal Body Temperature Method

Step one: You will need to purchase a basal body temperature thermometer. They are specifically designed to measure minute alterations in body temperature unlike regular/generic thermometers. These thermometers are available to purchase at most drugstores, and can be used orally, rectally or vaginally.

Step two: You will need to become comfortable with using the thermometer on a daily basis. In order to get the most accurate readings from the thermometer and process of charting, you’ll need to take your temperature with it every day, via the same passage. Whether you choose to track it rectally or vaginally, is up to you. Just take your temperature via the same route for a more accurate reading.

Step three: Begin on day one of your cycle- the first day of your monthly period. Take your temperature as soon as you wake up. Your body must still be resting. If you get out of bed, talk, eat, drink, have sex, or smoke, the reading will be inaccurate. For more accuracy, take your temperature at the same time each day. Many who use this method simply set their thermometer by their bedside. When taking your temperature, sit with the thermometer in place for 5 minutes.

Additionally, make sure you record and chart your temperature every day, and as accurately as possible. Record any changes even when it’s within one-tenth of a degree. You can find BBT charts online, or at your gynecologist office. Some BBT thermometers come with BBT charts. If you would prefer not to use a paper chart, there are apps available for downloading via mobile devices that can help you collect the data necessary for tracking BBT and ovulation.

Just by taking your temperature each day, with the proper tools, can do a lot to help you in your conception process. After your basal body temperature has risen, and remains elevated for at least three days, it is likely that you have ovulated. Your basal body temperature after ovulation can range anywhere from 97 to 99 degrees. It’s common if your temperature is at least two-tenths of a degree more than your temperature was the week prior.

Tracking your basal body temperature is just one of the natural family planning methods that can help you pinpoint your ovulation date. The BBT method and the calendar methods are alike, not only because they are natural family planning methods but also because their use alongside additional methods may be more beneficial for a woman looking for fuller understanding of her cycle.