Understanding Basal Body Temperature

bbtBasal body temperature or BBT is the measure of a person’s body temperature at the point of waking up and before any type of physical activity has been taken up.  This is usually taken up in women as a gauge for fertility. It can help determine when the ovulation has taken place. In women, ovulation can cause an increase of one half to one degree Fahrenheit in basal body temperature.  This fluctuation or difference, if monitored for a certain period of time, can help women in trying to estimate the day of ovulation and plan the best time for conception.

Charting the basal body temperature is just one way of trying to monitor a woman’s fertility period. Women have a tendency to experience lower temperatures before ovulation and higher temperatures after. This tendency is known as a biphasic pattern.  This pattern is known to be caused by the changes in the hormone levels in women before, during and after ovulation.

There are also other factors that may cause certain variations in a woman’s basal body temperature. Sleep may affect a woman’s body temperature. The body is only able to reach its basal body temperature if one has rested or slept for four hours or more. Disturbances in sleep are known to offer a slight variance in the body reaching its BBT.  In order to get the body’s BBT, bear in mind that the body should at least get four hours of sleep.

Alcohol consumption is also another factor that might affect one’s BBT. If a woman has drunk alcohol the previous night, she might experience a higher basal body temperature which can be mistaken for the mid-cycle rise that happens during menstruation. If one is in the process of charting her BBT for several days, one might be better off in avoiding alcohol consumption to prevent getting some confusing temperature readings.

Aside from sleep and alcohol consumption, other factors that may affect BBT readings include stress, anxiety, certain infections and illnesses. Such conditions may also cause the body’s basal body temperature to temporarily rise. Some types of drugs may also cause the body’s BBT to rise up. Another factor that might affect BBT readings is jet lag which can have an effect on the body’s temperature cycle for the whole day.

Such factors should be considered if one is too make sure that accurate patterns of BBT that correspond to a woman’s fertility cycle is charted. A sudden rise in BBT should not necessarily mean changes occurring in the body brought about by ovulation. Women should have an idea of such factors in order to better assess if that rise in their BBT in the morning may have a role in their fertility cycle or just an effect of other factors such as those mentioned above.

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