Your basal body temperature is your temperature first thing in the morning. It must be taken before you get up and start moving about, or before you eat and drink anything.
Your basal body temperature can be taken on a basal thermometer, which is slightly different from a normal thermometer, in that it has a more accurate scale and can record slight changes. You can buy a thermometer from your chemist and it isn’t expensive.
If you are trying to get pregnant, then it is important you know when you ovulate. This is because there are only a few days in the month when ovulation takes place and there is an egg waiting to be fertilised. By using the Basal thermometer every day, you can find out when you ovulate and this will help you to plan your pregnancy.
Once you have your thermometer, remember to take your temperature before you get out of bed. It is best if you do it at the same time every day, because this makes for a more accurate reading. The Thermometer might come with a printed chart that you can use to plot your temperature. If it doesn’t you can download one on the internet. You can then plot your temperature on the chart on the corresponding day of the week and you will see a pattern emerging.
You can buy a digital basal thermometer so it is easy to read and you take your temperature by putting it under your tongue for around a minute. You can buy glass thermometers, but they are more difficult to read and they break more easily. If you have a glass thermometer expect to wait for about four or five minutes before you can read the temperature.
When you are ovulating your basal body temperature should rise by around half a degree. This is caused by the hormone Oestrogen preparing the body for pregnancy. Your temperature will stay elevated until you have your period, unless you are pregnant and then it will stay raised. You will need at least three hours on uninterrupted sleep to take a correct reading, so don’t do if you’ve been awake for most of the night. Having a cold or flu may also effect readings.
Using a basal temperature chart will also help you if you have any problems conceiving. It will help to show you if ovulation is irregular or whether or not you are actually ovulating. You may see your temperature rise at times when you know you shouldn’t be ovulating, if it doesn’t stay raised for around three days in row, then it was caused by something else and not ovulation.
In order to help you plan your pregnancy, you should make an ovulation chart and plot your progress over two or three months. By this you should be able to see a pattern emerging of your ovulation times. Once you know when you ovulate, you normally have two or three days before your temperature rises to conceive. This means once you know the pattern you can make sure that you have sex in the four days before your temperature goes up and this will give you a better chance of conception.
Don’t forget for an accurate reading you need to take your temperature before you get up or have eaten or had a drink and you must stay in bed while you are taking it.