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The monitoring of basal body temperature may be one of the most traditional methods of contraception, but if done properly, is also one of the safest and most accurate.

Basal temperature is actually a woman’s temperature when she first wakes up in the morning. The basal body temperature varies slightly from person to person. Most women who take their temperature orally find 96 to 98 degrees before ovulation and 97 to 99 degrees after ovulation, as normal. The changes are in small fractions—from 1/10 to 1/2 degree so it is important to get a thermometer than can easily accommodate these minute fractions.

The method itself is done by taking temperature each morning as soon as one wakes up. This is before doing any activity. Most women keep their thermometer on their bedside table near the alarm clock to avoid missing on taking their temperature. Remember to take temperature on the same time each day and to follow directions provided with the basal thermometer for a more accurate temperature reading. Read the temperature to within 1/10 of a degree and record the reading.

Each reading should be recorded. As soon as this practice is done regularly, one can easily recognize her own pattern. However, basal body temperature may still vary from cycle to cycle. It can also be influenced by physical or emotional factors. Stressful events, lack of sleep, illness, emotional distress, jet lag, disturbed sleep, smoking, drinking, alcohol binging the night before taking a test, and the use of an electric blanket may affect your body temperature. It is also better to note these events on the chart to help interpret readings.

It is advisable to get help from a specialist with regard to reading a BBT chart. In time, under supervision, one will gain enough knowledge and confidence to use the chart without help. Just be sure to chart temperature for at least three months before doing it independently.

Though basal body temperature charting is accurate in identify the period when ovulation has occurred, it can not predict when it is about to happen. To help in pinpointing the time when ovulation is likely, and therefore timing intercourse as well, it is advised to chart for several months.

It may also help combining BBT with other methods in trying to calculate ovulation in advance. Ask help from a specialist with the accuracy and suitability of this method.

Sperm is capable of fertilizing an egg for two to three days after ejaculation, and there are instances of sperm remaining active five or more days after intercourse. Try to remember this and include it when interpreting your chart and timing your “safe” time.

A BBT chart will help a woman find out if she is ovulating which, therefore, helps in timing safe intercourse. It is also advisable to have a BBT thermometer in hand to be used with the chart. It makes the whole method more reliable and more accurate if you have one. Being able to pinpoint this time is vital in being able to plan the timing of sexual intercourse which results in conception.

Although there are glass BBT thermometers, there are also digital ones which are more accurate and takes only 30-60 seconds to show the results. The digital ones are also more durable. Digital thermometers are user-friendly. They also have alert functions and digital monitors with memory features that will remember the temperature for you if you don’t want to chart the numbers immediately. Most digital basal thermometers come with a sample graph. Just make sure that the digital thermometer you are using will measure to the 0.10 degree.