Ovulation and the menstrual cycle: why take your temperature?
Analyzing your temperature curve allows you to check if theovulation took place, but that’s not all. It is also used to detect your fertile period, to know quickly if you are pregnant or to detect certain problems when a pregnancy is late in coming. To make the most of it, doctors advise taking it every day for at least two cycles. Start on the first day of your period and start a chart again with each new menstrual cycle. This can also be a method of natural contraception.
Taking your temperature: the monitoring method to spot ovulation
Have a thermometer (with Gallium or digital) and always use the same technique (oral or rectal preferably, because more precise) to take your temperature throughout the cycle. It must be taken wake, same time every day et before any activity and ideally even before setting foot on the ground. But don’t panic, it’s not down to the minute either. On the other hand, do not exceed an interval of half an hour more or less because the results may be falsified.
Once your temperature has been recorded, write it down on a special sheet (your gynecologist can give you some, otherwise you can find it on the Internet) by placing the point in the appropriate box. Also indicate the days you have sex. Mention your period, any abdominal pain or unusual discharge, but also any event that could disrupt the cycle like a cold, infection, bad night, waking up later than usual, or taking medication. Finally, connect the different points together.
What temperature at the time and after ovulation?
The shape of a normal curve shows two temperature plates, separated by a small shift of a few tenths of a degree (0,3 to 0,5 ° C) which signals, a posteriori, that ovulation has taken place. Each part of the curve is jagged. This is normal because your temperature undergoes small variations from day to day. From the first day of your period until ovulation (follicular phase), your body temperature usually stays around 36,5 ° C.
This follicular phase lasts an average of 14 days, but can be shorter or longer if your cycles are lower or longer than 28 days.
Then the temperature rises and lasts around 37 ° for 12 to 14 days (luteal phase). It is generally accepted that ovulation is the last low point of the curve before the thermal rise. This rise in temperature is due to a hormone, progesterone. It is secreted by the yellow body, resulting from the transformation of the follicle after ovulation. If there is no fertilization, the corpus luteum degenerates and the drop in progesterone causes your temperature to return to normal, followed by your period around 14 days after ovulation. We speak of the luteal phase, which is more fixed in terms of duration than the follicular phase. If an embryo develops, the corpus luteum persists and your temperature is maintained beyond 16 days.
Regular cycles allow you to identify the right time to have a baby. Sperm have a lifespan in the female genital tract of up to 5 days for the strongest. The ovum, on the other hand, does not live for more than 24 to 48 hours in the tube. For this to work, you need to have sex before ovulation and during ovulation, but not necessarily after.
Note that male and female sperm have differences in speed and length of life in the womb, which increases the chances of having a boy or a girl.
What does a flat temperature curve mean?
A very flat curve means there was no ovulation. Likewise, a short luteal phase (less than 10 days) may suggest insufficient progesterone secretion which interferes with the proper implantation of the embryo. Do not hesitate to talk to your gynecologist or midwife if your cycles are irregular or your luteal phase is too short.
Don’t worry, more examinations and appropriate treatment can usually correct these ovarian dysfunctions.