Part of our approach to treating infertility is to get a woman’s cycle as close to ‘ideal’ as possible. The characteristics of an ‘ideal’ cycle are: 1) the cycle lasts 28 days with ovulation occurring on day 14; 2) there is no clotting, cramping, spotting or pain; 3) and the cycle is consistently bi-phasic with predictable bbts (basal body temperatures).
You can track this information while charting your basal body temperature. Charting your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is also an excellent way for us to track your progress. If we see that your cycle is becoming more regular, we know that what we are doing is working for you. It is a great way to determine if/when you’re ovulating, and to make sure that we are timing intercourse during your fertile window. It will also give you a lot of insight into what is happening in your body and with your cycle.
Here’s how you do it: · Get a digital basal body thermometer (they are different from regular thermometers). You can get them at the pharmacy, Target, or order them online through Amazon. Fair Haven Health is one that a lot of my clients use, and it usually runs about $10. · Print out a copy of a bbt chart or record your temps on the Fertility Friend app or Kindara app. · Keep your thermometer on your nightstand within arm’s reach. · First thing in the morning, at about the same time every day, take your temperature. It should be the first thing you do, before you get out of bed or even speak or stretch. It is important to do it at about the same time every morning (within half an hour, if possible) as your core temperature will rise and fall depending on the time of day. · You may choose to take your temperature orally, vaginally, or rectally, just be sure to stick to one method. Using the same method every day will help to ensure an accurate reading. If taking your temperature orally, make sure to insert the thermometer under your tongue in the back of your mouth for an accurate reading. · Make sure you have at least 5 consecutive hours of sleep before taking your temperature. · Cycle Day 1 (CD 1) is the first day of your full flow. You may begin charting at any time during your cycle, just be sure to start on the appropriate day on the chart. For example, if today is CD 7, and you’re going to start taking your temps tomorrow, you should record tomorrow’s temp in the corresponding column for CD 8 (because tomorrow would be CD 8). If your flow is heavy enough for a pad or tampon, then it’s CD 1 (if you can get away with a liner it’s considered spotting and should NOT be counted as CD 1). · Chart your temperature. Find the appropriate day of your cycle on the bottom of the chart, then follow the column up and fill in the box that indicates your reading for that day. Most digital bbt thermometers will memorize your most recent reading so that you can look back and fill in your chart at a convenient time of day. (Read the directions on your bbt thermometer to make sure it does this, don’t just assume or you may lose your recordings!) · As your cycle progresses, you can connect the dots on your chart. · Don’t worry if you miss a day or sleep in! We want to see an average of your temps so missing one here and there won’t make a big difference. Just make a note on the front or back of your chart, don’t fill in a temp for that day, and pick up where you left off the next morning! · It will also be helpful to make a note of your cervical mucus and when you have intercourse with an ‘x’ or an ‘m’ on the appropriate cycle day. You can use the back of your chart to make any special notes about the quality of your CM (stretchy, creamy, etc.) for specific days and about any PMS symptoms or other details you would like to keep track of.
Things that are helpful to note on your chart:·PMS and the specific symptoms (migraines, cramps, irritable, vomiting, etc.)· Spotting (at any point in the cycle)· Cervical mucus (clear, white, creamy, stretchy, profuse, etc.)· Days near ovulation that ‘date night’ (intercourse) occur· + OPK (ovulation predictor kit) if you’re using one· Menses – duration, color, clots, volume, pain, or any other details
As always, please let us know if you have any questions when taking your temperatures!