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Choosing a Basal Body Temperature Thermometer

a blog by Kim Griffiths, March 8, 2013

Many women who are trying to conceive turn to tracking ovulation as a means of predicting their most fertile time. Charting Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is one of the more common and most accurate ways of predicting ovulation.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is the base temperature of your body after a period of rest. A woman charting her BBT would do so first thing in the morning after getting a minimum of four hours of sleep. She would then record her temperatures on a graph and watch for a slight increase of 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which would suggest she is ovulating. After a few months of charting BBT, a woman will notice a pattern in her menstrual cycles and be able to predict the time of month at which she ovulates.

Because BBT must be charted first thing in the morning, it can become quite the tedious task (especially when all you really want to do is hit the snooze button on your alarm clock). Some of the innovative new products on the market have made it more convenient and user-friendly to get a quick temperature reading before you start your day.

Ethan Lynette, Senior VP of Business Development at Fairhaven Health says convenience is key for consistently charting BBT. “For BBT charting to be a reliable and accurate ovulation prediction tool, it is essential that a woman take her BBT at the same time every morning.” Fairhaven’s newest product, the ibasal BBT thermometer requires users to set an internal alarm clock. Once the clock is set, the user will only be able to take her temperature at the indicated time. Lynette jokes: “Like any other annoying alarm clock, the ibasal alarm will sound continuously for ten minutes until the user takes her temperature. Although on some mornings this feature might cause a woman to want to throw the ibasal across the room, she will be thankful in the end for having accurate BBT data!”

Features like audible alerts, digital display, and memory recall are helpful for foolproof charting. A woman might choose to record other aspects of her menstrual cycle including bleeding, cramping, or changes in cervical mucus. For women who want to look at several months’ charts all at the same time, or those who actually enjoy drawing graphs, a paper and pen chart works just fine (and is how I tracked my BBT while trying to conceive). There are also websites, like Ovagraph.com, that offer BBT chart hosting so the only thing you have to worry about is plugging in numbers. Alternatively, the ibasal allows the user to record this information in the thermometer and displays a graph right on the digital display. It is all a matter of preference.

In order to choose the BBT thermometer that’s right for you, consider how much work you are able to commit to. If you don’t feel confident that you will remember to take your temperature each morning, opt for a BBT thermometer with all of the bells and whistles (literally!) Lynette advises women who are monitoring their ovulation: “It almost goes without saying, that selecting a BBT thermometer that will accurately measure your BBT is vital. Be sure to select a thermometer that is a designated ‘BBT thermometer’ and one that measures temperatures to two decimal places (for example: 97.75).” Using a thermometer that shows accuracy at least to the 1/10th of a degree is also important to accurately gage a thermal shift.