Have you been reaching out for your thermometer once you open your eyes every morning? If you’ve been measuring your basal body temperature (BBT) and your BBT is low, you might be wondering why. Why is it low and what is going on in your body with low temperature?
Low basal body temperature: What is BBT?
Basal body temperature (BBT) refers to a temperature the body needs to be at in order to use the minimum energy needed to survive. The most accurate basal body temperature measurement can be measured immediately after you wake up in the morning while your body is at rest.
As the BBT of females changes according to the menstrual cycle, there will be a low temperature phase from the start of the menstrual period up to ovulation. In the period after ovulation to the menstrual period, there is a high temperature phase.
What, then, is an extremely low basal body temperature? Usually, there is a slight difference between low temperature phase and high temperature phase: this difference is about 32.54 to 32.9º℉ (0.3 to 0.5℃) and one’s BBT usually falls in the range of 96.8 to 98.6℉ (36 to 37℃).
If you have a BBT of less than 97.7℉ (36.5℃) even during your high temperature phase, then that means you have a low basal body temperature.
Causes of low basal body temperature
A low basal body temperature can be caused by many reasons, but one reason why you might have a low body temperature is due to the changes in hormone levels.
As female hormones affect the BBT, the changes in levels secreted, in addition to the stress from pregnancy, accumulated fatigue or lack of sleep, changes in diet can cause body temperatures to stay low. Also, an unhealthy diet, not keeping one’s body warm enough or having food that could lower your BBT and thus making blood circulation poor are factors that can contribute to a low basal body temperature.
Even if you’ve been adapting to the challenges of pregnancy well and continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the increased levels of hormones secreted can cause your thyroid or your reproductive organs to function at slower rates and contribute to a low basal body temperature. It’s recommended that you visit the doctor and get yourself checked if you have a consistently low basal body temperature throughout the period of 3 to 4 weeks.
Low basal body temperature and anovulation
Measure your BBT to see the differences between your low and high temperature phases – this is especially recommended if you have a low basal body temperature.
If you see a difference of less than 32.54℉ (0.3℃) or if you don’t see any increase in BBT, this might mean that your corpus luteum isn’t functioning properly. If this continues unchecked, there is a risk that one can become infertile and stop ovulating normally.
Effects of low basal body temperature on body
Even if you have a low basal body temperature, there aren’t any physical symptoms that are easily detectable. However, as blood circulation in the body becomes worse, sufficient nutrients and oxygen aren’t transported to the fetus. This could make you feel lethargic and more susceptible to illnesses.
Poor blood circulation can also lead to edema and lower back pain or other chronic pains or illnesses. You might have simply dismissed these symptoms as a sign of poor physical condition, but if you have a low basal body temperature, know that a low basal body temperature and symptoms like lower back pain might have a more direct relationship than you previously imagined.
Can I get pregnant with a low basal body temperature?
Hoping for a baby soon? You might be worried that your low basal body temperature is affecting your ability to have a child. Fret not – even if you have a low BBT, it doesn’t mean you can’t ovulate or can’t get pregnant. However, your uterus and the other reproductive organs don’t get enough blood flowing through them due to poor blood circulation, so this can affect ovulation. Also, the endometrium might not become thick enough for a fertilized egg to implant itself in it and establish a pregnancy. This ultimately makes trying to conceive difficult.
As aforementioned, it’s also likely that a constantly low body temperature can cause anovulation – the absence or failure to ovulate. This can make conceiving through natural means an uphill task, so it’s best you talk to your practitioner and get yourself checked.
How to increase low basal body temperature
A low basal body temperature can be, in some ways, corrected via changes in lifestyle. Having a regular schedule which you follow, having enough sleep and having balanced meals can help to regulate hormone secretion and increase your BBT. Find ways to help yourself deal with stress and don’t let it build up as stress can affect hormonal secretions.
You also can’t go wrong with exercise. When you exercise, you can expect your body temperature to increase. Blood is also pumped through your body faster and you will also feel the warmth emanating from the core of your body. There is no need for a tiring workout – think light stretching, ambling along the park. Even if you don’t have time for a proper workout, you might want to move your body a little by making sure you take the stairs when you can.
Low basal body temperature? Be proactive and do something about it
In order to improve your physical condition in general and push your low basal body temperature up, you might have tried various methods to no avail. Get professional advice from your practitioner and make sure you continue to chart your BBT diligently.
Record your daily BBT down on a chart, or use one of the many applications available to help you keep track of your own condition! If you see a pattern of low basal body temperature continue for almost a month, there might be a need for you to take matters into your own hands and start becoming more responsible for trying to improve your health in general.