When trying to conceive, women often turn to using a basal body temperature chart to gain a better understanding of their menstrual cycle. Charting was first used a method of contraception. Essentially the chart graphs body temperature, which is taken from the moment of waking up each morning. After ovulation, the temperature increases. Couples then know they can have intercourse and reduce the risk of pregnancy.
A key component to being able to ensure an accurate BBT chart is to have a reliable and accurate thermometer. BBT charts are sensitive to small changes in temperature. The greatest expected change in temperature is 0.4 of a degree, which occurs at the time of ovulation. So, it is imperative the thermometer is accurate. Using a mercurial thermometer is ideal. These are however no longer sold because they are more expensive to manufacture than their digital counterpart.
Tips to ensure your digital thermometer gives an accurate reading:
- Buy a BBT specific digital thermometer. These cost about $20 compared to the $10 for a standard thermometer, but they are worth the extra investment.
- Look after the thermometer and don’t knock it around. Damaged thermometers cannot be recalibrated.
- If you thermometer is old, buy a new one. It best to have the peace of mind knowing it is in top working order. This also eliminates the chance of a worn battery.