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Take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed or even speak -- leave your thermometer at your bedside within easy reach so you don't have to move much to get it. Try to take the temperature at as close to the same time each day as possible -- set an alarm if you need to. It is best to take your BBT after a minimum of 5 hours sleep, and at least 3 in a row is preferable.
You can take your temperature orally, vaginally, or rectally -- just stay with the same method for the entire cycle. You should try to place the thermometer the same way each day (same location of your mouth, same depth vaginally and rectally). Plot your temperature on your chart each day, but refrain from reading too much into it until the cycle is done.
What you are looking for is a temperature shift of at least .4 degrees over a 48-hour period to indicate ovulation. After you see a temperature shift for at least three days, or at the end of your cycle, you can draw a coverline between your follicular phase and luteal phase temperatures. If your temperature stays up for 18 days or more after ovulation, you should test for pregnancy. One thing to note is that women with ovulatory cycles but with irregular cycle lengths, the greatest variation from cycle to cycle should be in the follicular phase.
If you want a clearer picture of your cycle, it is best to combine charting your BBT with charting your cervical mucus (CM) and perhaps also charting your cervical position. There are several ways to chart your mucus, and you have to find the approach that is best for you.
The easiest positions for most women would be sitting on the toilet, one foot up on the toilet or bathtub, or squatting.
Mucus varies from dry, to sticky, to creamy, to egg-white (EW) before ovulation in most women. Egg-white cervical mucus (EWCM) is called that because of its resemblance to raw egg whites. After ovulation it is normal to have some dry, sticky or creamy mucus, and some women have watery mucus or a little egg-white again right before their menses begins. If you are planning to chart cervical position in addition to BBTs and mucus, it makes sense to chart your mucus by feeling your cervix (or having your partner do it). One caution is that you shouldn't read too much into cervical position alone since how full your bowels are can make a difference as to how high it feels.
Q: My temperature dropped for a day in the luteal phase, does that mean this cycle is a bust? A: You should ovulate 12-48 hours after the positive ovulation predictor test, and your BBTs should go up within 48 hours of ovulating. A: Most likely a) you are not taking your BBTs consistently or sleep erratically, b) you are taking your BBTs orally and you sleep with your mouth open, or c) you are not ovulating.

A: It is possible to ovulate very late in a cycle -- there is not any day limit -- so a long cycle doesn't mean there is no hope.
Q: Are my BBTs as accurate if I am taking fertility medications such as Clomid or injectibles?
A: Plain Robitussin, or any generic with the guaifenesin as the only active ingredient, is an expectorant and helps thin mucus in your body, including cervical mucus. A: It is suggested in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, but it probably is not a good idea ? most eggs in the United States contain salmonella and you risk the possibility of becoming infected. Basically, what you are doing is taking your temperature first thing each day and plotting the temperature on a chart. This shift should be above the highest temperatures in the previous six days, allowing one temperature to be thrown out as inaccurate (fluke, illness). With luck, it is easy to see a clear shift and draw your line between the highest follicular phase BBT and the lowest luteal phase BBT as in the sample above. Some doctors say anything over 10 days is acceptable, but it really makes sense to test for luteal phase defect if one typically shows 12 days or less of high temperatures. Some people have a short drop that may go well below the coverline that is a secondary estrogen surge (which may be accompanied by mucus). If your cycles are irregular, you shouldn't waste time on BBTs alone -- see a doctor and find out what may be causing the irregularity. Ideally, a woman's temperature will not bounce around more than .5 degrees in the follicular phase and will stay above the coverline during the luteal phase. Low BBTs are often a sign of hypothyroid which can cause some fertility and pregnancy problems. If being more consistent, or switching to taking your BBTs vaginally or rectally, doesn't help, you should go to the doctor to have your hormone levels checked out and see what may be causing your anovulation. It is also common to see a triphasic chart, a second shift sometime during the luteal phase, when pregnancy is achieved.
If you were on medication for fertility problems, that could cause an extended luteal phase.
Semen tends to be a little cloudier, and often stretches in several spiderweb-like strands. It does not create mucus for you, but can thin out thick mucus (a common side-effect of Clomid).
It is reasonable to use a small amount of over-the-counter brands such as Astroglide, or ask your doctor to order you some FemGlide. What you are looking for is to see a shift of at least .4 degrees Fahrenheit after ovulation making your chart biphasic (showing low temperatures before ovulation in the follicular phase, and higher ones after ovulation in the luteal phase). The normal variation is by up to .2 degrees per hour -- lower if you take your temperature early, higher if you take it late. The main reason for drawing this line is just to clearly delineate that your chart is biphasic.

So if one has a cycle that ranges from 28-34 days, and a luteal phase of 14 days, ovulation would occur somewhere between days 14-20 -- not the middle of a cycle, not day 14 . For most, the best position to do this would be for the woman to get on all fours on the bed, or chest down on a pillow, and let the partner insert fingers from behind. Also, Pre-Seed is now available to ensure sperm-friendly lubrication while trying to conceive. You can also tell whether your luteal phase is long enough if your temperatures are up for at least 12 days after ovulation. If you do have normal-length cycles and decide to start charting, you only need to wait about 3 months to establish a problem and seek help. It is also a good idea to have at least one cycle every 3 months, brought on by medication if needed, so that the uterine lining does not become too thick. The recommended dose is 2 teaspoons 3 times a day with a full glass of water, but you can take up to the maximum dose on the label.
Be sure to use ovulation tests in conjunction with your basal charting to provide you with an accurate sense of your most fertile time of month. Another way is to insert two fingers and gently take a little pinch of mucus from the cervix. Many doctors will want to see two cycles of low progesterone or out of phase biopsies before making a definite luteal phase defect diagnosis. For example, if you have a 28-day cycle, but ovulate on day 18, and that happens 2-3 months in a row, you should see your doctor. The BBT digital is more accurate for some people, and it only takes 30-60 seconds, which can matter if you are waiting to go to the bathroom first thing in the morning. Clomid often causes elevated BBTs around the time of taking the medication, and it appears to be more common to have a triphasic BBT on medications without pregnancy. The water is very important since your body needs the fluid to create the mucus, and the guaifenesin can cause constipation. The difference is slight -- like the difference between feeling your nose (firm) and feeling your lips (soft). It's not a bad idea for everyone to get preconception advice and bloodwork -- test for immunities to rubella, chicken box, fifth disease, also test for anemia and thyroid function at a minimum. The digital ones are harder to break and remember the temperature for you if you don't want to chart it immediately. It should only stay high for a day or two around ovulation and you may catch it in transition for a day on either side.

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