When trying to conceive, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the information, tips and opinions out there – on the internet and from well-meaning friends and family. This blog is definitely not intended to overwhelm you, but BBT charting is such a helpful tool and so simple to do, that I really wanted to explain it to you so that you can do it accurately and get the most out of the data you collect.
What is BBT Charting?
BBT stands for Basal Body Temperature, and by recording your base temperature on a daily basis, you can track what your menstrual hormones are doing throughout your cycle and you’ll be able to see when you are ovulating. Ideally, you start recording your temperature from day 1 (first day of bleeding) of your cycle until your next period. A “typical” BBT chart should look something like this:
Generally, your temperatures will be slightly lower in the first half of your cycle, then rise in the second half.
Why is BBT Charting Better than a Period Tracking App?
Period tracking apps are a bit limited in being able to predict when you ovulate because they are just predictions based on the numbers you enter into the app. For example if you have a typical 28 day cycle, it will predict that you will ovulate on day 14. However, this may not be the case for everyone. Some women ovulate earlier, later, or not at all – & the app has no way of knowing this. And what if you have a 35 day cycle? A 43 day cycle? What if you have irregular cycles? What if you have been under a lot of stress or have been unwell? These can all affect how and when you ovulate and an app can’t take these factors into consideration.
With BBT charting, you should see a pattern emerge in your temperatures where you’ll have lower temperatures in the first half, sometimes a dip, and then a rise. The day BEFORE that rise in temperature is when you’re ovulating. And that day can differ from woman to woman, from month to month, no matter the length of her cycle. An app has no way of knowing what’s happening IN YOUR BODY.
MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL – you should be having lots of intercourse in the 3-4 days BEFORE you ovulate. It takes 3-4 days for sperm to swim all the way up to the fallopian tubes, and once an egg is released it only survives for 24hrs. Therefore, you need all the sperm to already be there, ready to greet the egg as soon as it is released. This is why it’s so important to know when you’re ovulating, because your fertile days are the 3-4 days BEFORE this.
How is BBT Charting Used to Address Fertility Issues?
BBT charting is an INVALUABLE source of information for Fertility Acupuncturists. Just as I mentioned what a “typical” chart should look like, there can be all kinds of variations on that. Temperatures may be too low, too high, there may no rise in temperature indicating no ovulation, the luteal phase (the time between ovulation and bleeding) may be too short and therefore not allowing enough time for a potential embryo to implant… There are all kinds of hormonal issues that can be diagnosed and addressed just by looking at a BBT chart.
Being able to see your BBT throughout your cycle, I can interpret the data, confirm ovulation, identify your fertile days, and evaluate your overall reproductive health. BBT charting makes it so much easier to treat you as I can more easily pinpoint which areas may need addressing.
How Do I Do BBT Charting?
It is very simple, but there are a few things you have to get right, otherwise the data can be a little bit off. But don’t stress! You can always note down on that day if you’ve made a mistake so that we can take that into consideration when looking at your chart.
- Get a digital thermometer that goes to 2 decimal points (these are available at most pharmacies, or I keep them in stock at the clinic)
- As soon as you wake up, BEFORE you get up or start moving around in bed too much, take your temperature according to the thermometer instructions, at roughly the same time each morning
- Record your temperature on a paper chart (google “blank BBT chart”) or in the app, Fertility Friend (available in App Store or Google Play)
On the chart, you can also record the days of bleeding, how heavy the bleeding was, when fertile mucous was present, which days you had intercourse, and more. These are all important pieces of information for your Acupuncturist to make note of.
Keep in mind, if you have coffee, alcohol, are stressed or sick, your temperature may be affected. Don’t worry too much though, just note it down on your chart so that if there is a deviation in your temperature, we can take that into account.
As mentioned before, a typical chart should have lower temperatures in the first 2 weeks of the cycle, followed by a rise in the second 2 weeks. If your chart is a bit all over the place or you can’t quite see a pattern emerging, or if your chart looks fine but you’re still not falling pregnant, consider booking in for Acupuncture so that I can have a look at your chart, do some detective work and give you a course of treatments to get your cycle on track and your body in top condition to fall pregnant.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact me.