Fertility Chats #2: Tracking your Cycle // BBT

If you, like me, are trying to get pregnant and finding it a struggle then you’ve come to the right place. If you don’t know, sometime around late 2018 early 2019 we started trying for a baby. I was always very worried about not being able to have children , don’t ask me why! Some people have other fears in life – mine was not being able to get pregnant. Fast forwarding a year on, I am now 37 weeks pregnant with a little boy as I am writing this post and I am here to tell you that you can do it too!

So, let’s start with the basics: tracking your cycle. If you were looking for an easy answer or a quick link to some tablets that will give you a little miracle, sorry but that is not what I am here for. Don’t get me wrong, taking the right supplements do help and I did that too. But, that was not what ultimately helped me to get to know my cycle in order to conceive. Why do you need to track your cycle, you ask me? Because by doing so, you will know if you are or not ovulating, you will be able to time intercourse accordingly and if a year after trying nothing has happened, you will then be able to go to your doctor and show him the evidence.

Everything sounding a bit too complicated for you now? Well, let’s break it down:

To track your cycle ideally, you need to: monitor your body basal temperature (this is your temperature right after you wake up, even before you get up for that morning wee), monitoring your cervical mucus (yes, that discharge we notice and that sometimes we might not know what is it about can give you some important info) and check your cervix (optional, but helps!). Combining the information of these three, you will be able to notice when your body is about to ovulate and, therefore, get busy at the right time of the month. But remember: this isn’t exact science. It won’t work on your first attempt – it didn’t work for me. It actually took us a total of 4 cycles to get it right. It might not sound like much to you but my cycles were, at times, 85 days long. So it was not an easy task. Here’s what my chart looked like on the cycle I got pregnant.

Body Basal Temperature Chart

So where do you start? First, start by downloading a good app! Not one of them automatic ones where you put the average days in your cycle and all that sh*t. You need the good, real stuff: Kindara or Fertility Friend is what I recommend. This is where you will input all the beautiful data.

Then, get yourself a thermometer, a body basal temperature one. These have two decimal points instead of one, so they’re more accurate to use for this purpose. You can easily find them on Amazon, you don’t need anything fancy specially at first when you’re trying to figure all this out! When you get used to it and if you want something a bit more accurate, you can try a wearable sensor like OvuSense (more on this magical device on a different post!).

Before we carry on, let me remind you that not everyone has a 28 day cycle and, therefore, not always ovulation happens on day 14. Now, here are some important things about your body basal temperature (BBT):

 

Body Basal Temperature Basics

Now track your temperature. Easy, right? Well, more or less. There are some key points you need to follow when tracking your BBT:

  1. You need to check your temperature at the same time, everyday, before getting out of bed. If you don’t work shifts, do this early in the morning. Set up an alarm if needed. If you work shifts and do nights like me, it can still work. Simply take your BBT straight after you wake up, no matter what time it is. Just keep in mind that your temperature may vary a little more but you’ll still be able to identify when ovulation happened.
  2. You need to have slept for at least 3 consecutive hours.
  3. Insert the reading in the app you chose. Adjust the temperature reading to one decimal point (for example if your reading was of 35,83ºc, go for 35,8ºC. If it was 36,16ºC, then put 36,2ºC), it will be easier to look at the graph if you do it like this.
  4. Look at the graph as a whole and not at each temperature reading individually. That’ll drive you mad.
  5. Remember: this on its own won’t predict ovulation.

And there you go, not as hard but it does take some practice! I would advise you to focus the first month/first cycle in learning how to perfect taking your BBT and take advantage of it to then, at the end of the cycle if you didn’t conceive, look at your graph and notice if there is a trend you may be able to identify. You may not see it at first but it might get more noticeable after the third cycle of tracking your BBT. For example, with me, I noticed that my temperature dropped below 36ºC just before the rise confirming ovulation so it was like a little warning my body would give me, BUT again you can’t trust this on it’s own just to help you to get pregnant.

tracking your cycle

I think I’ll finish it here as it’s getting quite extensive. I will be carrying on these #fertilitychats series focusing on other subjects so keep an eye out for more posts to come. I’ll probably do a post like this once a week to keep it balanced! I will be linking them here as I post them just in case you came to this page first and want to learn about everything else.

Stay tuned if you want to learn more about tracking your cycle as I will be talking about checking your cervical mucus the next time.

Please ask any questions in the comment section if you do have any! You can also DM me either @thelisasworld or my @fertilitychats Instagram. It is a very complex subject and very difficult to resume it all in one post only. Also, maybe if you are interested, have a look at the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It will go a lot more in depth in these subjects. Totally worth it for me!

Hope this helped you somehow! You can do this.

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MORE FERTILITY CHATS:

Fertility Chats #1: Talking PCOS

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