How do you take your basal body temperature ?

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High accuracy digital thermometer

We thought it would be worth covering this subject as we have had a few customer service queries recently concerning basal thermometers and how they should be used.

Here are our tips to using basal temperature to monitor fertility:

  • The basal temperature increases and stay elevated once ovulation occurs.
  • Use a high accuracy digital thermometer that has two decimal places
  • A fahrenheit thermometer is best if you can get one
  • We have found that the mouth, under the tongue, is the most reliable place to take the temperature.
  • Take the temperature first thing in the morning before rising from your bed.
  • Do not drink anything before you take the temperature
  • Place the thermometer under the tongue and leave it there keeping your tongue firmly pressed on it and still until it bleeps indicating it has reached a steady temperature. This make take several minutes.
  • Take the temperature at the same time each day. It may be worth setting your alarm.
  • Basal temperature means your resting temperature so it must be the first thing you do as soon as you wake up.
  • Keep a record of your basal temperature on a chart each day
  • After the first month you will start to see a pattern which should help you to know when your fertile time is.

Visit Access Diagnostics UK fertility site for fertility thermometers, ovulation tests, early detection pregnancy tests, home fertility tests  and fertility friendly lubricants.

 

 

Fertility FAQ-When am I most fertile ?

Ovulation tests
When am I most fertile ?

For anyone that is trying to conceive this is one of the most important things to know as the window for conception each month is actually quite small. If your menstrual cycle is very regular and the same length each month then it is very easy to predict your most fertile days using an ovulation calculator. There is a very easy to use one at BBC Health

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/tools/ovulation_calendar/ovulation.shtml

If you cycle is irregular or unpredictable then it may help you to use an ovulation predictor to identify your most fertile days each month as these may will from month to month.

There are several methods to predict when ovulation will occur, the most commonly used method is to use a urine ovulation test or ovulation predictor kit which identifies your LH surge. LH is the hormone which triggers ovulation to occur and it peaks just before ovulation occurs each month & so is a reliable predictor of ovulation. The advantage of using an ovulation predictor is because you know that you are about to ovulate, you can have intercourse just prior to ovulation, as well as at the time of ovulation, to make sure that plenty of sperm are around to fertilise the egg when it is released, thus increasing the chances of conception.

Other methods to identify your most fertile time are looking for signs that ovulation has occurred:

  • changes in cervical mucus which becomes more stringy and appears like raw egg whites this method is known as the billings method.
  • your basal body temperature increases so many women use a high accuracy thermometer to chart basal body temperature
  • There are also changes in saliva around ovulation and this can be identified using a saliva ovulation microscope.

The disadvantage to these methods is they do not give you prior notice that ovulation is about to occur just that is has occurred. studies show that if you have intercourse just prior to ovulation as well as at ovulation it increases your chances of conceiving. It means the sperm are ready & waiting for the egg.

Click here for more information on LH ovulation predictor kits & tests, basal body temperature thermometers & ovulation microscopes from Access Diagnostics UK Fertility Site

Using a digital thermometers for basal temperature monitoring fertility

BBT Digital Thermometer Fertility 

Question

How do you use a digital thermometer to predict your fertile time ?

Answer

Your basal body temperature is your resting body temperature on waking 1st thing in the morning ie before you get up or move about

By measuring your basal temperature every morning you can pinpoint & later predict ovulation.

Measuring basal body temperature or BBT can be a way for women to pinpoint their fertile time. This is beacause the basal temperature increases by between 0.5 and 1 degree fahrenheit (a quarter  to a half degree centigrade) at ovulation. The temperature then remains elevated until just before menstruation commences.

Interestingly if a pregnancy occurs the BBT remains elevated for approx the first 3 months, so this can be an early sign of pregnancy.

The temperature should be taken immediately upon waking and recorded on a chart (a BBT chart is ideal)

If this is done over several months a characteristic pattern emerges that allows a woman to predict as well as pinpoint ovulation.

Click here to buy digital themometers suitable for basal body temperature (BBT) monitoring

5 simple things you can change that may increase your chances of conceiving

Its funny how often the simple changes can bring the biggest rewards.

1) Make sure you have sex at your most fertile time .

Now this is not to say that you should only have sex at your fertile time, in fact there is lots of evidence to show the opposite. To keep the sperm supply at its best, you should have regular sex throughout the month but it is pretty crucial that you have intercourse during your fertile time (around ovulation)

How do you know when its your fertile time ? That the subject of a whole other blog post on ovulation predictor tests & methods

2) Replace your usual personal lubricant with a sperm friendly lubricant

These days many couples use intimate lubricants either for foreplay, intercourse or both. Many intimate lubricants (including saliva) in common useage are not sperm friendly ie this means the lubricant can actually impair or damage sperm-not good news when you are trying to conceive.

In the UK there are currently 3 personal lubricants on the market that have been designed especially for couples trying to conceive and are clinically proven to be sperm friendly. They are Pre-Seed, Conceive Plus and Zestica Fertility.

To find out more about fertility friendly personal lubricants click here

3) Stop your man using his laptop on his lap

It is amazing how many men spend most evenings with a laptop on their laps while watching television or travelling on a train. Laptops heat up very quickly and generate large amounts of heat that can be detrimental to sperm. The testicles, which is where the sperm are produced and stored, are outside the body because if they were inside the body the heat from the body cavity would impair & damage the sperm. When a man has a laptop on his lap it is right over his testicles and this is likely to cause overheating.

I recently came a cross a couple where the man’s sperm count had come back with a low motility count, and he was using a laptop on his lap for extended periods most nights. He changed this laptop behaviour & the sperm count and motility has improved.

4) Keep your weight at a healthy level.

There has long been  anecdotal eveidence to suggest that weight is important but now this has been backed up by clinical evidence to suggest that fertility is reduced in both overweight women & underweight women.

5) Relax-

I know its easier said than done, but more and more studies are confirming that stress can be a big factor in unexplained infertility. Sometimes the stress of trying to conceive itself can actually hamper your attempts.

Look at other areas of stress in your life and see if you can reduce or alleviate them. Consider alternative therapies which are often excellent at helping to alleviate or manage stress. Yoga and Pilates for example are great at teaching you to relax. Make a list of things that you can do to help you relax each day and make sure you do one of them each day. It can be as simple as taking a lovely bubble bath or taking a walk outside in the sunshine. You know the things that help you to relax-so make time to do them

Ovulation predictor tests and methods

Ovulation predictor methods are many, and need not be expensive or complex for anyone with a regular cycle

Considering the last 14 days of a menstrual cycle is fixed in most women , ovulation will occur on day 14 in a 28 day cycle and day 18 in a 32 day cycle. Great if you one of the lucky ones who has  a very regular cycle, that is the same length each month.

For the rest of us with more erratic cycles the reliable prediction of the timing for ovulation gets a little more complex, so here is a breakdown of the common methods of ovulation prediction:

Cervical mucous becomes more stringy and will form ribons when opposed fingers are extended. This method is great until you have had sex in the preceeding 24 hrs and mix sperm into the equation !

BBT or basal body temperature measurment, basically get an accurate thermometer are record your temperature at a set time every morning before doing anything else. Detects a rise of 0.3 degrees centigrade at ovulation. Contrary to popular misconception you do not need a 4 decimel place thermometer and it does not have to be farenheit. What you do need is a regular regime and set waking time, so its out of the question for shift workers or the less well organised of you out there who’s days wont give up the 2 minutes you have to lie in bed with a stick in your mouth.

Urine ovulation predictors. Dip test you dip in wee and tell you when you have a surge in the hormone which makes you ovulate. Expect to use 7-10 per month especially if you are irregular or have a long cycle. Buy dip ovulation test strips as they are just as accurate as digital or mid stream test and a lot cheaperas well as being more eco-friendly (less packaging) . Only go for the very low level, higher sensitivity ovulation tests if you do not get positive results with the standard sensitivity tests. Stick with a brand if it works (there are multiple sensivities on sale and comparing results is not possible) These tests give 24-36 hrs advance notice of ovulation.

Ovulation predictor miscroscopes are simple mini microscopes which show the crystal of salt which form in drying saliva when oestrogen levels are high which occur with ovulation. Can be used time and time again, so are cheap & eco-friendly if you end up testing for a long time. Look for models with replacable batteries. Don’t expect to see anything for the rest of the cycle, it takes 2-3 cycles to get confident in using these, so best to start off using while also using another method. They are 99% accurate when combined with BBT. Can also be used in dogs and cats, so popular with pet breaders, no reason why they could not be used in pigs, horses and cattle for insemination assessment, so come on you farmers !

Ovulation predictor didn’t work ~ Don’t panic  99% is just that, but not every cycle is ovulatory either, so re-try next month. If you get no positive indicators over 3 consecutive cycles change to another method or seek advice from your doctor. Up to 1 in 4 cycles can miss ovulation, and this increases with age and is a normal physiological finding.

Click here for more info on using ovulation predictors

Basal Body Temperature Charting

What is my BBT ?

Your basal body temperature (BBT for short ) is your resting body temperature ie your temperature when you are at rest.

When is the best time to measure my BBT ?

For most women the best time to measure the BBT is first thing in the morning when you wake, before you get out of bed, and before you do anything at all.

How do I measure my BBT ?

You will need to use a high accuracy clinical thermometer- the easiest to use is a digital thermometer that measures to 2 decimal places

Where do I put the thermometer to measure my BBT ?

For most women the best & simplest place to measure your BBT is under your tongue

How long do I leave the digital thermometer under my tongue ?

Most digital thermometers will beep when they have reached a stable temperature, making it quick and easy to know when to remove the thermometer. It usually takes around 1-2 minutes for this to happen.

What do I do with the basal body temperature results ?

You will need to chart the BBT results on a temperature chart , so that you will be able to see the pattern develop.

Here is an example of a BBT chart

Is there anything I should not do when doing my BBT ?

Moving around, eating, drinking, smoking & even talking will raise your temperature, so make sure you do the temperature immediately upon waking each morning. If possible measure it while you are still “half asleep”.

What else can raise my basal temperature apart from ovulation ?

Illness if associated with fever will alter your resting temperature making interpretation of results problematic.

How does BBT charting help me predict my fertile time ?

Charting your basal temperature is helpful in determining whether and when ovulation occurs. Ovulation is the release of an egg (ovum) from the ovary and usually happens only once in each menstrual cycle. Conception can take place only if intercourse takes place immedictaely before , during or immediately after you ovulate.

By carefully recording your basal temperature when you first awaken, you will begin to notice a pattern of temperature fluctuation in your monthly cycle. The slight increase in basal temperature is an indication of ovulation or fertility.

Do I need a special thermoeter for BBT charting ?

You may use any clinical thermometer, as long as it is high accuracy. As the temperature change you are looking for is very small, it is best to use a thermometer that shows very small fluctuations in temperature.

Many women find it simpler to use a high accuracy digital thermometer rather than a glass thermometer, as they are quick and simple to interpret, and they beep when they reach a steady temperature. Glass thermometers can also be fragile.

Click here to find out more about high accuracy digital thermometers suitable for BBT or to buy one

Click here to visit babycentre who have free BBT charts that you can download and print

Other Signs Of Ovulation-Basal Body Temperature Rises-BBT

How to take your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

1. Taking Your BBT Temperature

Your Basal Body Temperature is probably best taken orally (simplest in my opinion ), by placing the thermometer under your tongue. BBT temperature refers to a ‘resting’ or ‘base’ temperature. That means that your BBT must be measured before activity, after at least four hours of sleep. Take your BBT temperature first thing each morning (ideally at the same time each morning) – as soon as you wake up and before you get out of bed or have a cup of tea! Other things such as hot drinks, infections, illness etc can affect your BBT reading.

2. Charting Your BBT Temperature
Starting on day one of your menstrual cycle – the first day of your period – begin recording your BBT temperature using graph paper. Each morning, record your temperature. Plot each day’s BBT on the a graph. Your temperature rise may be sudden, gradual, or in steps. The pattern may vary from cycle to cycle.

3. Predicting Ovulation
Typically a rise of at least 0.4 to 0.6 degrees centigrade or  will take place at ovulation, though for different women the temperature increases may be sudden or gradual. Over time, charting you BBT will help you predict ovulation.

It is important to remember that the rise in your BBT (basal body temperature) does not tell you when you are most fertile or about to ovulate. It tells you when you already have ovulated. Women are most fertile in the few days before their peak temperature.

Click here to see Digital Thermometers suitable for BBT

Signs of Ovulation-Cervical Mucus Changes

I think I’m  ovulating -how can I tell ?

Cervical mucus is clear, sticky & kind of stringy just before ovulation-this is called Spinbarkeit mucus (I think-I will check spelling later) and signifies the most fertile time of the cycle. This slippery  stretchy cervical mucus resembles uncooked egg whites.

It is this clear, wet & stringy ‘egg-white type’ cervical  mucus, which helps the sperm move freely from the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus in search of an newly released egg. This is the most fertile time in a woman’s cycle.

p.s I looked it up online and it looks like this fertile cervical mucus is called Spinbarkeit mucus although I found a couple of different spellings-not sure which was in right.