Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting for Fertility Treatment
When trying to conceive, monitoring the variation in your BBT can give important clues for your Chinese medical diagnosis, to inform and fine-tune your acupuncture treatment.
How your BBT can be relevant
A woman’s body temperature changes slightly during her menstrual cycle. Charting BBT helps us understand your body’s rhythm and indicates whether your cycle is progressing as it should (don’t worry, you won’t need to interpret that by yourself).
Your BBT is not a reliable indicator for when exactly to have intercourse. The significant temperature change happens at ovulation, so by the time you detect it you will probably have missed your fertile slot. However, charting can give us a general idea how stable your follicular phase is, whether you are ovulating, whether your luteal phase is long enough to allow for implantation etc. Your acupuncture treatment can be tailored accordingly.
How to chart your BBT
- All you need is a digital thermometer and a chart. Your thermometer should be in Celsius and allow at least one decimal (you can buy a so-called fertility or basal thermometer). For your chart, either keep pen and paper by our bed – click to download your BBT chart template OR use a mobile app – for example by Fertility Friend).
- Take your temperature every morning at the same time, after at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, within a minute from waking, before rising, eating or drinking. Oral measurements are the most popular, but other common ways are fine too, as long as you use the same method throughout. Record it on your chart.
- Also note on your chart any occurrences of illness, fever, lack of sleep, or alcohol consumption the night before. This is useful information in case there are unexplained temperature changes.
- Mark the days when you have your period, any spotting, breast changes (swelling, tenderness), abdominal discomfort, and when you have intercourse. If you take ovulation or pregnancy tests, mark the results on the chart on the corresponding days. Also mark the days when you had acupuncture.
- Last but not least, monitor your cervical mucous and mark it on the chart. Fertile cervical mucous has the consistency of egg white and is also the best indicator of your most fertile time.
How a BBT chart looks
You will start filling in each chart on the first day of your period. Usually, after the follicular phase, with ovulation, there should be a consistent BBT rise of more than 0.2 Celsius. Subsequently, temperatures remain elevated in the luteal phase for about 14 days and either stay high with a positive pregnancy or drop just before the onset of menstruation.
Most women learn BBT charting quickly and easily and find it interesting because it helps them tune into their bodies more. In most cases it’s only a three-month commitment (for each whole month, as the whole of your chart will be relevant) to get interpretable patterns. Think about the difference it could make.
Remember to bring all your charts to every acupuncture treatment.