The Basics of BBT Charting
Welcome to my first blog!
I decided to create this blog to give more information on areas that my clients ask me about all the time. I decided that today I will focus on charting. This comes up quite a lot with my clients and they don’t fully understand how to chart or why it is so important.
I hope you find this helpful!
What Is BBT Charting?
During sleep, everyone’s temperature shifts to a little lower than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This lower temperature is referred to as your Basal Body Temperature. You can accurately measure it by taking your temperature via oral thermometer right when you wake up, after at least 3 consecutive hours of sleep, before you get out of bed. The general idea is that before ovulation, a woman’s BBT is lower than after ovulation (the extra progesterone in your body that is released after ovulation causes the temperature to rise). On average, a woman’s pre-ovulation BBT is 97.0 – 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and post-ovulation it jumps to approximately 98.0-98.5 degrees. So, the last day of low temps is the day that you ovulated. The pre-ovulatory phase is called the Follicular Phase, and post-ovulation is called the Luteal Phase.
Why Do I Need To Know My BBT Pattern?
Keeping a BBT chart is useful as a method of birth control, if you are trying to get pregnant, and a method of simply getting to know your body better! Just by looking at which day your temperature spike happened, you can tell when you ovulated, which days you could potentially become pregnant, and which day you’ll get your period. BBT charting also involves keeping track of other “optional” fertility signs such as cervical fluid, cervical position, and any other symptoms such as breast tenderness, ovulation pain, headaches or PMS symptoms. You can put all of these signs and symptoms together to predict ovulation (for some women), confirm ovulation, and predict which day you’ll get your period.
If your cycles are a bit irregular, you can say goodbye to the days of having no idea when your period will come. As soon as you confirm ovulation with a temperature spike, you can predict which day you will get your period. How? Even if you ovulate on a different day every month, the luteal phase length is generally the same from month to month. The “textbook” Luteal Phase is 14 days, but it varies from woman to woman (10-15 days on average).
This method can’t technically be used to predict ovulation the same way an ovulation predictor kit can, but for some women with regular cycles and obvious changes in cervical fluid and position, over a few months you can get to know your body well enough that you can tell you are about to ovulate. Then, using the temperatures, you can confirm ovulation when the temp jumps at least 0.5 degrees and stays elevated for 3 days. So, you can avoid using expensive OPK’s (Ovulation Predictor Kits) altogether! If your cycles are very long or irregular and your cervical fluid doesn’t change much leading up to ovulation, it’s best to use OPK’s together with BBT’s.
How Do I Get Started?
The only thing you need is a basic digital thermometer. Next decide if you’d like to keep track of things via an app or a paper chart. There are many good apps out there, but I really recommend using a paper chart just for the first month or two if you are new to BBT charting. Most apps out there will try to predict your ovulation date or tell you when you ovulated based on your temperatures, but I’ve found they are often wrong and confusing. Using a paper chart and doing it on your own until you get the hang of things is a better option, in my opinion.
Paper Charts: Available on www.babycenter.com
App: Fertility Friend
Books: Taking Charge Of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler is the oldest and most respected book on this topic.
BBT Charting, Fertility and Reflexology: What’s The Connection?
Whenever a woman comes to Reflexology looking to increase her fertility, in most cases I ask for BBT charts (or recommend she start charting). BBT charts are clinically useful to me as a Reflexologist for many reasons. First, if there is a clear temperature shift midcycle, I know the woman is ovulating, and on which day ovulation is taking place. If the length of the follicular (pre-ovulation) phase is consistently between 12-20 days, and if the luteal (post-ovulation) phase is consistently between 11-16 days, I’m fairly confident that things are normal and any fertility issue is not with ovulation. In addition, the basal body temperatures should be within a certain range. If they are significantly lower or higher than I typically see, it could indicate a thyroid dysfunction which should be checked out by a doctor.
By analysing the patterns of a woman’s basal body temperatures over 2-3 months, I can make a treatment plan. I am a firm believer that keeping a BBT chart for a few months helps a woman to get to know her own body better, and gain a more intuitive understanding of her needs.
An example of what it may show could be if a woman’s Luteal phase is short (under 11 days), this could be due to a progesterone deficiency. So in this case, charting highlights this issue and a plan can be
made to rectify it.
If you’re interested in finding out more, just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org