Fertility Signs-Basal Body Temperature
The Best Sign Of All
One of the two primary fertility signs that should be monitored when you decide to become pregnant is basal body temperature. Basal body temperature, or BBT, is your body temperature when you are at rest and it is a critical body signal for fertility. It is the only sign your body will give you that will tell you that ovulation has occurred. All of the other signs can only let you know that ovulation is about to happen. Another important bit of information your BBT can supply is the length of your luteal phase, so you can know exactly when to do a pregnancy test, when you may have conceived, and if your luteal phase is long enough for you to conceive. When the luteal phase is either too long or too short, it is called luteal phase defect and is a cause of infertility. Together with charting cervical mucus, keeping tract of your BBT will help you know your fertility pattern and better plan your conception.
Why Basal Body Temperature Rises
The reason your basal body temperature rises is due to a function that happens after ovulation. The corpus luteum, residue from the follicle that released the egg when you ovulated, produces the hormone progesterone. Progesterone causes body temperature to rise and the increase is most noticeable immediately upon waking in the morning. You can measure the increase using a BBT thermometer.
While a regular thermometer will work, a digital basal body temperature thermometer has advantages. It reads the temperature and returns the information quickly, beeping when it is finished recording and displays the numbers in a large enough display to be seen through sleepy eyes. Recording the information immediately is important, as is taking your temperature at the same time every day. If you miss a day either taking your temperature or recording it, the information you will have can be skewed and misleading.
Basic Guidelines To Basal Body Temperature Charting
There are a few things you can do to ensure you are charting your BBT effectively. The better the charting, the easier it will be to detect ovulation. In a perfect world, these guidelines are ideal. However, in the real world, it isn't always possible to follow all of them. Get as close as possible in order to obtain the most accurate results.
-Take your temperature before getting out of bed in the morning so it is a resting temperature and take it at the same time every day after no less than three consecutive hours of sleep. If you are unable to take your temperature immediately upon waking and before getting out of bed, then take it as soon as possible before eating or drinking anything. Make a note of the irregularity.
-Preferably use a BBT thermometer. If you are using a fever thermometer, make sure the mercury is shaken right down. Keep the thermometer at your bedside to avoid having to get out of bed and use the same thermometer throughout your cycle, if possible. If you change thermometers, note it in your chart. It's a good idea to have a spare should the one you are using break or quit.
-Take the temperature the same way, from the same place, each and every time-either vaginally or orally-and record your temperature as soon as possible after taking it to avoid forgetting or mistakes.
-Keep any electric blanket or sheet temperatures at the same temperature consistently and note that you are using one.
-Enter the time you took your temperature and what the temperature is every time you take it.
Do The Best You Can
Life goes on. If you are unable to maintain the guidelines exactly, take your temperature and chart it as best you are able. Chances are you will still get some idea of when you ovulated and it can still be very helpful, especially when coupled with cervical mucus charting.