For many women, the arrival of Aunt Flo is no longer a surprise. There are a number of methods for tracking menstrual cycles; phone applications, birth control or natural tracking. Some women have resorted to using their basal body temperature to track their cycles, conceive or to act as a birth control method. So, what exactly is a basal body temperature and is it an accurate period tracking method? 

Basal Body Temperature Explained

         Basal body temperature is defined as body temperature when one is fully at rest. The way women track their cycles using this method is by checking their temperature the moment they wake up, before they perform any physical activity. The idea is that during ovulation, a woman’s basal body temperature rises slightly from the rest of the month. So, if a woman tracks her temperature every day and it is always 98 degrees Fahrenheit but in the middle of the month it rises to 99 degrees, she can be confident that those are the days she is ovulating. If she chooses this as a birth control method, she would abstain from sexual activity until ovulation has passed and if she is trying to get pregnant well…she would do the opposite.

Does Tracking Your Cycle Using the BBT Method Work?

         The short answer is yes, if performed properly and you have relatively normal cycles. If your cycles are regular and usually last the same amount of days, you can be optimistic that ovulation will occur around the same time every month. Tracking your temperature can be an invasive-free way to understand your menstrual cycle and can be beneficial for women who are trying to conceive. 

Can I Use BBT Tracking as a Contraceptive?

         You can definitely track your BBT if you are not trying to conceive BUT it should not be used as your only form of contraception. There are three very important reasons for this: 

  • The BBT method is not 100% accurate. Especially for those with irregular cycles, tracking basal body temperature will not give an accurate reading of where you are in your cycle.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases as other contraceptives would.
  • Sperm can live in the body for up to five days. This means that you either have to abstain from sex from the moment you get your period until after ovulation is complete or hope that the sperm dies before you ovulate. 

It is wonderful that women have taken the initiative to try and understand their bodies’ natural cycles. This does not have to be done in an invasive way and it may be worth trying to see if tracking basal body temperature may work for you. Who knows, maybe next time Aunt Flo comes you’ll be able to open the door for her before she knocks. Visit a Gynecologist and schedule a one-on-one meeting if you think you got a totally different case. For more pertinent women-related insight, call or visit Emu Health at 83-40 Woodhaven Blvd, Glendale, NY 11385 (718) 850-4368.