Basal Body Temperature (a.k.a. B.B.T.) charting can be incredibly informative and helpful for a patient and practitioner in tracking the female menstrual cycle especially ovulation, which is a woman's most fertile time.
You will need: 1) a "B.B.T. " thermometer which tracks the small changes in temperature a woman experiences during her menstrual cycle (highly rated but pricey B.B.T. thermometer available at Amazon.com) 2) B.B.T. charts or an App on your phone (an example of a B.B.T. app) for recording your results.
B.B.T. measures a person's temperature at rest so it should be taken every morning at the same time before getting out of bed. Before ovulation, a woman’s BBT averages between 97°F to 97.5°F. After ovulation, it rises to 97.5°F to 98.6°F but then drops again before menstruation. If you are pregnant your temperature will remain elevated. Bed heaters, alcohol and fans are some of the factors that could alter the accuracy of your temperature so always note if anything changed in your external environment with an odd temperature reading. Keeping a charted record for at least three months will usually provide the information you need to determine your approximate day of ovulation during a regular menstrual cycle.
Your chart or App should track the first day of your menstrual cycle as day 1 of your cycle. Refer to the featured image on this blog post from babycenter.com
to see what a typical B.B.T. chart looks like and what to document. You should include when you have sex (marked on the chart with an X), as well as the quality of your daily cervical mucus (click here for images of cervical mucus
). You may be reluctant to check your cervical mucus but it can be very helpful in determining when you are most fertile. It is easiest to check from a squatting position (i.e. while sitting on the toilet), gently insert one or two clean fingers into the vagina towards the cervix and then inspect your finger (s) to determine quality of fluid. Keep in mind semen could be mistaken for cervical mucus. An egg white quality is most fertile and the ideal time to get busy! Semen can survive for up to 5 days so having sex prior to ovulation is encouraged to increase the likelihood fertilization occurs.
Lastly, making babies and sex in general should be fun. Often times women find they finally get pregnant when they let go and relax so don't let B.B.T. charting become too stressful. Fertility should be looked at has a life long goal. Your health can profoundly influence your babies health. Once you are living a fertile lifestyle your body is more likely to produce the conditions necessary for an optimal pregnancy and beautiful baby. If you are experiencing irregular periods, PMS, hormonal imbalances, cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, emotional challenges, or infertility acupuncture and/or herbs can be great resources to restore balance naturally.