At my practice I work a lot with women and couples who are trying to become pregnant. When I first start working with them, I ask the woman if she has been charting her basal body temperature. Many women will tell me no. They have been told that it cannot be used to time intercourse, so it is not useful. While it is true that basal body temperature charting alone cannot be used to time intercourse, I strongly disagree that it is not useful.
Most women think of their “cycle” as the 3-7 days a month they experience menstrual bleeding. They have surprisingly little knowledge about the hormonal shifts taking place before this event. Believe me I used to be one of them! These hormonal shifts make subtle, but significant changes to a woman’s body temperature, and they tell us a lot about the woman’s fertility. By charting these temperatures we can identify or rule out several factors that may be impeding conception. These factors include anovulation, late ovulation, short luteal phases, hormonal imbalances (such as PCOS), insufficient progesterone levels, and early stage miscarriage.
Obviously, having this information is not at all useless to a woman or couple trying to conceive! You might even be surprised by how much you enjoy your newfound understanding of your body!
Please see the Resources page for more on charting.