I’m going to teach you 3 main things today –
#1 – What basal body temperature tracking is and why it’s important
#2 – What charting is
#3 – Why you need to pick a mothod to interpret the data you gather
And if you have no idea what I am talking about it, I am going to explain it – and PS. this is also a YouTube video!
Let’s start with WHAT IS Basal Body temperature tracking – This a practice where a woman takes her basal body temperature every morning and uses that data to learn about her cycle.
When tracking your “BBT” aka basal body temperatures, you must follow some basic temping rules in order to get good accurate temperatures.
- A thermometer that goes to the hundreths place
- Taking your temperature at the same time each morning
- Being consistent – roll over and wake up and put the thermometer in your mouth (reduce any extra movement that can increase your basal body temperature)
- You must have 4 hours of consequetive sleep for the reading to be accurate. If you are breastfeeding, are a shift worker, or tend to wake up in the middle of the night, you need to get a wearable thermometer called TempDrop, which I will explain in another post.
The next thing you need to learn is how to CHART! Charting is where you take your basal body temperature data and put it on a chart. Then you connect all the dots of temperatures, to create a line. It looks something like this:
When you are charting you have multiple options HOW to chart:
- You can paper chart – which is buying a paper charting notebook or creatine one yourself and doing the data input manually – this is geat to customize what your charts look like and to add in any symptoms you are also tracking in your cycle
- You can chart on your phone using an App. Kindara is the app I recommend for NEW charters – it’s free and easy to use, and I have no affiliation with them.
Most importantly, DO NOT USE APPS THAT ARE PREDICTIVE – like Natural Cycles. This can result in an unplanned pregnancy. Your cycle changes each month, so you do not want an app to predict for you when you are safe for unprotected sex and when you are not fertile. The only way you can safely make those decisions is to interpret your data… which leads us to our last point.
You need to pick a method – methods have rules you must stick to in order to properly interpret your data. Put simply, a method teaches you how to interpret the data you take. Data includes basal body temperatures, cervical mucus, and cervical position. Cervical position changes throughout a womans cycle – and this can be felt by inserting one or two fingers into the vagina and feeling for the orientation of the cervix. When a woman is fertile the cervix is high, soft, open; when is is not fertile the cervix is low, firm, closed.
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility aka “TCOYF” (also is a book by Toni Weschler) – this is my personal favorite, as you can buy the book and teach the method to yourself
- And more
Combining your data about temperatures, cervical fluid and cervical position gives you what we call your “chart,” which is the display of your data – which allows you to easily look at apply your methods rules. There is a chart created for each menstrual cycle.
Women who use this type of natural birth control, which is most commonly known as the fertiltiy awareness method, like this method because it helps them learn the times in their cycle were they can go unprotected with their partner vs using a barrier method or withdrawal method.
Charting helps you determine when your fertile window opens and when it closes.
This allows you to know when you are fertile, and when you are not, so that you can either time sex to achieve pregnancy, or you can abstain or use a barrier method to avoid pregnancy.
And in case you haven’t heard, this idea of natural birth control works because WOMEN ARE NOT FERTILE EVERY DAY OF THEIR CYCLE!!
What makes a woman fertile is the time the egg stays alive (which is only 12-24 hours) + help from cervical mucus that extends the life of the sperm and shuttles the sperm to the egg. Sperm can live inside the body for about 5-6 days in the right conditions. This is why you need RULES to interpret your data because you can’t have unprotected sex whenever you want and not get pregnant. Creating a chart, and using a METHOD to interpret your data allows you to have the tools to make the right decisions throughout your cycle.
Lastly, this birth control method is best used for:
- women in stable monogamous relationships
- young girls wanting to understand their bodies and their cycles
- women of any age trying to assess for ovulation, or figure out period problems
- cycling women of any age who wants to learn more about their cycles
We are going to go more in-depth in subsequent posts. I purposely left out a lot of info because this topic needs to be broken down into separate articles.
If you found this information useful, please share it with someone who needs it! And see this video on YouTube, if you’d like a video explanation!