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Basal Body Temperature question: Trying to Conceive

By September 30, 2008 - 12:44pm
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My best friend is trying to conceive her third child (she is in her 30s), and was told by her doctor to take her basal body temperature every morning. She was bombarded with information at the doctor's office, and now at home, has some questions that she's confused by:

1. How long does she need to take her temperature (how many cycles?), as she wants to be pregnant soon.

2. She is most fertile when her temperature rises, which happens at the end of ovulation. Meaning: she won't know that she should be having sex until AFTER ovulation, which is her most fertile time. Is there a better method?

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Free2BMe, your friend can start trying to conceive during the very first cycle that she charts her temperature if she wants to. The reason you do it over several months is that you get more and more familiar with the rhythms of your own body, and therefore more able to detect minute changes that tell you it's time to try.

A basal thermometer is different from a regular thermometer in that it is broken down to far smaller increments. It's easy to tell the difference between 2/10 of a degree and 3/10 of a degree, for instance.

There are ovulation kits in the stores that predict when a woman is close to ovulating and is actually ovulating by measuring hormonal levels. Perhaps using one of these during the first month while charting will make it easier for your friend to learn how to anticipate her own ovulation. The basal body thermometer is just one of the cheapest and most consistent ways of learning your individual body's tendencies.

If you have a 30-day cycle, for instance, you may find that you thought you were usually ovulating on day 13 or 14, but instead you typically ovulate on day 16. Just that amount of information can make a difference in conception.

You are correct in saying that once the temperature rises, you have ovulated. However, by charting your cycles you may learn that the day before your temperature rises, your temperature typically falls 3/10 of a degree on the thermometer. Looking for that indication in the following months would let you know ovulation is imminent.

Since your friend has successfully conceived before, it may just be a matter of being slightly older and taking slightly longer to get pregnant.

Here are some tips from about.com on how to correctly take a basal body temperature:


And here's a page from the American Pregnancy Association that talks about signs of ovulation, including basal body temperature charting and monthly changes in the cervix and cervical fluid:


Best of luck to your friend. Even at its best, infertility can be frustrating and stressful. She's lucky to have you in her corner.

October 1, 2008 - 8:54am
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