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All about BBT (basal body temperature) and pregnancy

Can BBT help you know if you’re pregnant?

You’ve stumbled across Nurse’s Corner, my little nook of ThriVe+. If you’re new to ThriVe+, awesome! You’ve found a safe space for women. We want you to thrive in good health and confidence.

Curious about BBT and how it relates to pregnancy? Good question! Knowing more about your cycle means more empowerment. Good on you for looking for answers.

Portrait of an African American woman with questions about bbt.

The menstrual cycle and you

Your menstrual cycle is just that: a cycle. There are different phases along the way. The timing and symptoms may be a little different from woman to woman. But generally, this is how it goes:

Each month, your body goes through a series of changes to prepare for a potential pregnancy.1

One of the ovaries releases an egg in a process called ovulation.1

Changes in hormones build up the lining of the uterus to get it ready for pregnancy. If the egg that the ovary released doesn’t meet up with a man’s sperm to be fertilized, that lining is shed from the uterus and out through the vagina as your menstrual period.1

We count the cycle from the first day of a period to the first day of the next.1 An “average” cycle is 28 days — with ovulation happening around day 14 (right in the middle of the cycle).2 But each person’s cycle might be different, and the time between ovulation and your next period might also vary.2 There’s a broad range of what’s considered normal when it comes to periods.1

What’s BBT?

BBT stands for basal body temperature. It’s your body’s temperature when you’re at rest, like when you wake up in the morning. Some women track their cycles by taking their temperature every morning. After ovulation, your BBT tends to rise a bit..3

If your BBT stays elevated for a while (18 days or more), it could be an early sign of pregnancy.3 If you haven’t been tracking your BBT regularly, then this might not be the best way to figure out if you’re pregnant. You can always take a no-cost pregnancy test at ThriVe+. And besides, BBT alone isn’t a definite sign of pregnancy. Other things, like being sick or feeling stressed, can also affect your temperature.3

Worried about pregnancy?

The best way to prevent unplanned pregnancy is to hold off on having sex until you’re ready for a baby. For many women, that means being in a steady, monogamous long-term relationship like marriage. Postponing sex puts you in control of your health and your future. 

Want to learn more about your cycle? There are actually apps to help! Fertility tracking apps are becoming popular, because they help you keep track of your cycle, including your BBT. Try one out if you want to understand what’s normal for you. They can be helpful for planning or preventing pregnancy. But they’re not perfect. The only way to avoid pregnancy 100% is to delay having sex (for now).

If you’re worried you might be pregnant, you have friends here at ThriVe+. We offer no-cost, lab-quality pregnancy tests, so you can get accurate results and the support you need. You can also come see us for a pre-abortion screening and STD testing. All at no-cost. We’re a team of women supporting women.

Three joyful, multi-racial friends who know who to ask with questions about bbt.

Have more questions about BBT? Here are some common questions:

Q: What is basal body temperature (BBT)?

A: It’s your body’s temperature at rest. It’s usually taken in the morning before you get out of bed or do any activity. It might increase slightly when you ovulate.3

Q: Why is tracking BBT important?

A: Tracking BBT can help you identify patterns in your menstrual cycle. By tracking your BBT, you might be able to predict ovulation (the time you’re most likely to get pregnant)3

Q: How do I measure my BBT?

A: To measure your BBT accurately, use a basal thermometer. Take your temperature at the same time every morning, before you get out of bed or do anything else. Record your temperature consistently in a chart or a fertility tracking app.3

Q: What can affect BBT readings?

A: Illness, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, stress, and certain medications. These things can influence your BBT.3 It’s helpful to look for consistent patterns over time.

Q: How does BBT relate to fertility and pregnancy?

A: After ovulation, your BBT might go up a bit. Ovulation is the time in your cycle when you’re most likely to become pregnant.3 If you become pregnant, your BBT may stay elevated — and that can be an early sign of pregnancy.3. A spike in your temperature alone doesn’t mean that you’re pregnant, though.3  If you think you might be, you can get a no-cost pregnancy test at ThriVe+ to be sure.

Q: Can BBT confirm pregnancy?

A: A rise in BBT might be an early sign of pregnancy, but you should always take a pregnancy test or see a healthcare professional to confirm a pregnancy.3

Q: Does BBT have limitations for fertility tracking?

A: Yup, BBT tracking has some limitations. Women are generally the most fertile (likely to get pregnant) 2-3 days before your temperature goes up.3. And remember, there are other things that can cause a change in your temperature besides ovulation.3

Think you might be pregnant? Please come see us or give us a call. We want to help.





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