Couples trying to conceive know it’s crucial to find out when they are ovulating. A BBT chart for tracking ovulation is a time-honored method, but is it really the best one out there? Let’s find out.
Ask anyone on the street what ‘BBT’ stands for, and it’s almost certain you’ll receive a wide range of answers.
For some, the acronym might refer to the American television sitcom The Big Bang Theory. For others, it might refer to bubble/boba tea (we won’t say no to a cup!). However, for couples who are trying to conceive, it can only mean basal body temperature.
Basal body temperature, or BBT, is a self-explanatory term.
It simply refers to your body’s base temperature. You even measure it the same way, although it’s recommended that you use a basal body thermometer instead of a regular one for better accuracy (the former is accurate to a tenth or a hundredth of a degree). Why, then, do couples trying for a child need to know this specific temperature?
That’s because it potentially indicates when someone is ovulating.
This might appear to be a game-changer for the uninitiated, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Learn about BBT and discover how tracking yours can give you a leg up in your fertility journey.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice.
What Is Basal Body Temperature (BBT)?
As mentioned above, BBT refers to your body’s base temperature. To be precise, it’s your body’s temperature right after you wake up.
This might sound a little extreme, but if you wish to track your BBT accurately, take your temperature as soon as you switch off your alarm. Every other morning activity has to wait. Seriously.
A person’s BBT typically rises by approximately 0.4°C when they have ovulated. However, to ensure this isn’t just a one-off spike, you’ll need to track your temperature daily across several months. Once you notice your BBT has consistently increased for about three days every month — voila, it’s now easier to pinpoint your fertile window!
For couples who are trying to optimize when to have sex to have the best odds of conceiving, bear in mind that a person’s BBT dips before ovulation. This drop happens several days before ovulation, which is usually the best time for you and your partner to get things going.
Should You Use a BBT Chart to Track Ovulation?
It’s definitely a herculean task to take your temperature as soon as you wake up and manually note it down daily.
Fortunately, basal body temperature pregnancy charts make this process much smoother. You’ll still need to enter your temperature reading every day, but at least the information is organized for you.
When your temperature readings are laid out neatly, like the basal body temperature pregnancy chart above, it’s easy to identify patterns and make predictions for the following month.
Knowing when your temperature dips and rises in a month alerts you to when your fertile window is. This gives you and your partner confidence to get started with the BMS — read this post to find out what that is!
For the digital natives among us, you’ll be glad to know ovulation temperature tracker apps that serve the same purpose exist. What’s more, the best ones out there even allow you to enter other data points and sync up the readings with your device’s native health/fitness application.
However, there’s a huge caveat when it comes to using basal temperature graphs, which is accuracy.
Tracking your BBT might be an age-old method to suss out when you’re ovulating, but it’s definitely not the best way to go about it. A 2017 study performed in Taiwan discovered that BBT tracking only yielded a 22.1% hit rate when detecting ovulation.
Are There Alternatives to a BBT Chart for Ovulation?
At this point, you might wonder what the point of laboriously tracking your BBT is when it’s only around 20% accurate in detecting when you ovulate.
Not to worry, we’ll show you how your BBT charts give you the edge in determining your fertile window in just a bit. However, let’s first turn our attention to more accurate alternatives for detecting ovulation.
1. Ovulation Test Kits
As the name suggests, these test kits identify when you’re ovulating, usually via a urine sample.
The test can determine whether your Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels have risen from your urine sample. This fertility hormone signals your ovary to release an egg; its levels will rise around two days before ovulation.
Ovulation test kits are much more accurate than a basal body temperature pregnancy chart. Furthermore, their technology has grown by leaps and bounds through the years, with test kits now boasting improved fertile window tracking and smartphone connectivity.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective ovulation test kit that can grant quick and reliable results, do consider the twoplus Ovulation Test Kit. This easy-to-use rapid ovulation test can detect LH levels as low as 25ml/Uml, giving you a more accurate ovulation forecast.
2. Transvaginal Ultrasound
This is the gold standard for detecting ovulation, and it’s also used by gynecologists to confirm whether a person is pregnant or if an IUD is inserted properly.
Essentially, it’s an ultrasound of the organs in your pelvis, including your ovaries and uterus. Your gynecologist can accurately identify when you’ll ovulate with the images generated.
Despite this test being the cream of the ovulation detection crop, it isn’t perfect either.
Firstly, it’s neither as accessible nor affordable as a basal body temperature pregnancy chart or an ovulation test kit. You’ll need to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist and set aside some time for it. Plus, a transvaginal ultrasound can cost anywhere from a few hundred to more than a thousand dollars (or pounds).
Furthermore, this ultrasound might be uncomfortable for some as it involves using of a vaginal probe. There’s no way to avoid using the probe, but it’s designed to be inserted with as little discomfort as possible. Also, a condom will be placed over it, along with a lubricating gel.
How Can a BBT Chart Help When You’re Trying To Conceive?
BBT charts might not be the most accurate ovulation indicator around. After all, the BBT spike only indicates ovulation has already happened, not that it’s about to happen. Be that as it may, BBT charts can be essential to your fertility arsenal.
For one, they highlight when it’s ideal to bust out your ovulation test kit, helping you cut costs and make things more efficient. Remember, your BBT chart still gives a rough estimate of when you’re ovulating.
And remember the ovulation temperature tracker apps we mentioned earlier? You can combine your BBT readings with other data points (think your sexual activity, mood, menstrual symptoms, and so on) to get a holistic view of your body. This grants you and your partner more confidence and zero in on the best time to have sex.
BBT Charts: Not Essential, but Useful to Have
Using BBT charts to track your ovulation has been around for decades.
To recap, it involves using a basal body thermometer to identify the short period when your BBT undergoes a slight spike every cycle. You can also use the readings to determine when your BBT dips before ovulation, highlighting it’s the best time to have sex with your partner.
Thanks to the advances in fertility technology, laboriously tracking your BBT across several months is no longer needed. However, BBT charts are still handy tools to have on hand. And if you have a basal body temperature chart that’s printable, it’s an easy reference for you and your partner to look at while you’re at home.
When combined with an ovulation test kit, fertility tracker app, or both, BBT charts allow you to make your fertility journey more efficient. The money you save on buying extra ovulation test kits can easily go towards a few cups of bubble/boba tea or even the monthly subscription fee for your favorite streaming service. BBT marathon, anyone?