Let’s take the temperature on this popular piece of kit.
In this article: 📝
- What is a basal thermometer?
- How to use a basal thermometer
- Can you use a regular thermometer to take your BBT?
What is a basal thermometer?
You’ll need a basal thermometer if you’re doing something called basal body temperature tracking.
What is your basal body temperature (BBT)?
It’s your core temperature immediately after you wake up, when your body is completely at rest and you’re probably the coolest (at least temperature-wise) you’re going to be all day.
And why would you want to know how warm you are in the morning? It’s all about tracking your menstrual cycle.
We know that a woman’s BBT typically goes up immediately after ovulation.
So if you track your BBT throughout the month, you’ll get a fairly accurate idea of the cycle day on which your body ovulates, whether that’s like clockwork on day 14, or whether it’s usually later in your cycle.
If you know when you’re ovulating, you know when to time sex to give you the best chance of getting pregnant or, if that’s not the plan right now, which days you need to use extra protection to avoid pregnancy.
The important thing to remember is that temperature tracking isn’t a reliable method of protection or a guarantee that you’ll conceive faster, at least at first.
Your BBT doesn’t tell you anything until after you’ve ovulated, and you have the highest chance of getting pregnant if you have unprotected sex a day or two before ovulation.
But, if you track your temperature over a few months, you’ll have a better sense of your body’s natural rhythm, and this can be really helpful if you’re TTC.
So where exactly does the basal thermometer come in?
How to use a basal thermometer
If you’re going to track your temperature with a basal thermometer, it’s usually best to start on day one of your cycle – the first day of your period.
And where do you put a basal thermometer? Take the reading from under your tongue, and record the numbers either on paper or in an app or spreadsheet on your phone – whatever’s easiest for you.
You’ll need to take the reading as soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, and at roughly the same time every day.
So when we say ‘make things easy for yourself’, we really mean it.
One more thing (especially if you’re relying on a ‘fertility awareness method’ to prevent pregnancy).
Lots of things can mess with your BBT: illness, alcohol, travel, menopause, breastfeeding, a bad night’s sleep…
It’s worth noting these things down as well, especially around the middle of your cycle.
Can you use a regular thermometer to take your BBT?
Although your BBT should consistently rise after you ovulate, it’s only by a small amount – somewhere around 0.5°F/0.3°C.
Technically, any thermometer that can measure a difference of 0.1 degrees should be able to pick this up, as long as you change the batteries regularly to keep it working perfectly.
So what’s the difference between a basal body thermometer and a normal one?
A specially designed basal body temperature thermometer does have several extra features:
- First, they can often measure to 0.01 degrees, which gives you extra information to track subtle changes in your temperature.
- Second, a lot of basal thermometers can connect to your phone via Bluetooth, which makes keeping track of the readings when you’re still mostly asleep much easier. Even if they don’t sync automatically, other models will save the reading so that you can compare the next day.
- Third, basal thermometers usually have a backlit screen, which helps if you’re trying to use it before you’ve opened the drapes.
Tracking your BBT with a basal thermometer can be helpful for getting as much information as possible about how your body works.
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