Basal Body Temperature Charting Part II
From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac.DNBAO…
In January, we started to talk about basal body temperature charting and some basic tips to get started. Basal body temperature charting is one of my favorite non-invasive tools to help patients conceive naturally and determine potentially undiagnosed fertility issues. I wish that I had made copies of every BBT chart that had led to a pregnancy from the start of my practice-it would make quite an art collage for the office!
As as a quick review, basal body temping is one of the least expensive (the cost is zero unless you need a new thermometer) ways to determine a significant amount of information about your body and your menstrual cycle without subjecting yourself to any invasive testing. A BBT chart can help you time conception, determine whether you are ovulating or pregnant, as well as trouble shoot common issues related to your cycle or conception that many have gone unnoticed or undiagnosed. For patients determined to conceive naturally or trying to troubleshoot their cycle, I recommend that they pick up a copy of Toni Weschler's book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
Here's a list of the basic tips to help you get you started:
Take your temperature at the same time each morning
Take it before you get out of bed, move, talk, or use the bathroom
You must be sleeping for at least 3 hours to get an accurate temperature reading
Note that your temperature will rise every ½ hour as you sleep later
Heating pads, electric blankets, fevers, and drinking alcohol the night before will raise your temperature
Note on your chart if there was any reason that you thought your temperature may not be accurate
Circle your temperature on a graph each day or use one of the current smartphone apps
Continue to take your temperature for the length of your cycle, beginning Day 1 of your menstrual period until the beginning of your next period
Note on your chart when you start your period, have spotting, or cervical fluid
After a month of charting, you should be able to connect the dots to see the outline of a curve formed by a series of low points prior to ovulation and a series of high points following ovulation. This pattern should help you determine a significant information about your cycle including when you ovulate, the length of your luteal cycle (important for implantation), and whether you have fertile-like cervical fluid prior to ovulation as outlined in TCOYF.
If your BBT chart is difficult to decipher, I highly recommend that you take your chart to an acupuncturist or other medical professional familiar with trouble-shooting basal body temperature charts. Our bodies do not perform like robots, therefore, it is normal to have temperatures that are outliers but still considered part of a normal pattern. Someone that has looked at hundreds or thousands of basal body temperature will help you determine whether something is abnormal and eliminate the guess work for you.
Next week, we will discuss the wonderful world of cervical fluid and how it related to basal body temperature charting. Until then, happy charting!
Do you have more questions about BBT charts or acupuncture? Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO
Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery and discovered the many benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Jessica is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics, a specialty certification held by fewer than 500 acupuncturists in the United States.
Jessica currently maintains a private acupuncture practice on the South Shore in Duxbury and in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. The center was awarded Best Acupuncture Center by Boston Magazine. Areas of specialty include women's health, pregnancy, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. If you are interested in learning about the benefits of acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please visit the acupuncture + fertility page. New patients can book online to schedule any acupuncture service including a complimentary consult. Jessica also serves as a health care consultant for a number of integrative medical institutes. Her clients include IVF and infertility centers, functional medicine offices, orthopedic facilities, concierge practices, and green spas. Please contact OMBE for more information about these services.
Prior to her consulting work, Jessica founded an integrative health center in Boston. The eco-friendly center was one of the first twenty-five companies certified as a Sustainable Business Leader in Boston. During its ten-year tenure, the center provided services including acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, naturopathy, nutritional counseling, personal training, Pilates, and yoga. Studio offerings included mom and baby programming, Mongan Method Hypnobirthing, natural childbirth education and the Holistic Moms Network. The center was the recipient of several awards, including Mayor Menino's Green Business Award, a multiple recipient of Boston Business Journal's Best Workplace, Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Award for Massage Therapy as well as Best Eco-Friendly Massage, Eco-Beauty Bar, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Pilates, and Workout.