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NFP Observations: Temperature and Cervical Mucus

How important is it that I take my temperature at the same time each day?

To get a usable temperature pattern, it is very important to take your temperature pattern at the same time each day while you are trying to establish infertility. The same time each day means roughly the same time – you can take it up to 45 minutes before or after your usual time without considering the temperature disturbed, provided all temperatures are taken before 7:30 a.m. Once you are in the post-ovulatory infertile time, you can relax regarding this point.

What if I work a night shift?

For women who regularly wake up later than 7:30 a.m. or have jobs with irregular hours, they can take their temperature when they wake up. Generally, they would give more emphasis to the cervical mucus signs. It is best to clarify such a case with one’s NFP Provider first.

How long should I take my temperature?

If you are using a digital thermometer, the recommendation is that you take your temperature a minute beyond the beep indicating that an initial reading has been reached. This enhances the accuracy so necessary for NFP.

If you are using a glass basal thermometer, you should take your temperature 5-8 minutes orally, 5 minutes vaginally (thermometer 1 inch into the vagina), or 3-5 minutes rectally (thermometer in the rectal canal, not just between the buttocks).

What about using an ear thermometer?

The tympanic or ear thermometers are not accurate enough to be used for NFP.

What about taking my temperature under my arm?

Axillary or temperatures taken under the arm are not accurate enough to be used for NFP.

What should I do if I am sick or sleep in?

Take your temperature anyway, chart it, and make a note of the disturbance. If you think that you have a fever and typically use a glass basal thermometer, use a fever thermometer to make sure that you don’t damage the basal thermometer.

What if I have to get up during the night?

As long as you have one hour uninterrupted sleep prior to taking your temperature, you should get a usable reading. Light activity such as getting up briefly to care for a child or to go to the bathroom should not affect the temperature reading. However, if you are up repeatedly for extended periods of time, you may find that your reading is disturbed. Just make a note of it on your chart.

How many times a day do I have to do the tissue exam?

You should do the tissue exam every time you go to the bathroom—both before and after urinating or having a bowel movement. Bear down, as if trying to force mucus down, before the last tissue exam of the day.

I have a yeast infection and don’t feel confident of my mucus observation. What should I do?

If you don’t feel confident of your mucus observation, give greater weight to the temperature observation. This is a perfect time to apply a temperature-only rule to determine the post-ovulatory infertile time.

 
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