Published by Hera Fertility
September 21, 2023
Ovulation monitoring has long been practiced by people who are either seeking pregnancy or trying to avoid it. Having more intimate knowledge of one’s body and its biological patterns is a valuable tool for conceiving a baby and generally improving your health.
Decades ago, women looking to monitor their fertility used physical calendars or wrote everything down. These days, options for tracking include everything from temperature charting to using technology that provides instant feedback.
But first, how important is it to have a crystal clear view of your fertility window?
Obviously, knowing more precisely when you ovulate helps to identify the strategic times to have intercourse. But having a record of the presence of key physical indicators, such as temperature and secretions, are extremely helpful to establish patterns. These can be particularly illuminating if you’ve been trying to conceive for a while and decide to see fertility help.
Six months of tracking on your own is a really good amount of time, advises Cindy Golubisky, Clin Ops & Fertility Clinician at Hera Fertility. “It’s helpful for somebody to be able to say, ‘These are the things I did. This is what my temperature looked like. This was the outcome.”
Having that information documented is “super useful,” Golubisky explains, in helping to understand next steps when it comes to fertility help.
[Read our blog post: How couples can feel more empowered with joint fertility testing]
So, what are the best ways to track ovulation? Hint: You no longer need that pen and paper.
Basal body temperature tracking
Taking basal body temperature (BBT) measurements is one of the simplest and easiest ways to track your fertility window. This unique method was used even before oral contraception pills were available.
Here’s how it works. Take your temperature when you’re fully at rest (e.g. before you get out of bed) using a digital oral thermometer or one designed to measure BBT. Do this every day at approximately the same time. Record your results and look for a pattern to emerge.
Often, BBT increases noticeably — typically 0.5 to 1.0 degrees F — when you ovulate. You’re likely to be the most fertile two to three days before your temperature rises. Factor in that sperm can live up to five days in the reproductive tract, and you can determine the most strategic times to have intercourse.
Of course, BBT tracking isn’t an exact science. Be aware that some factors can impact your temperature, including:
- Changes in waking time (e.g. for work)
- Interrupted sleep cycles or oversleeping
- Gynecologic disorders
- Certain medications
[Read our blog post: The truth about female infertility diagnosis and testing]