Basal Body Temperature


Completing a BBT (basal body temperature) chart gives you two key pieces of information for trying to conceive: if you are ovulating, and how long the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle is. Taking your temperature is not a good way to predict ovulation, however – by the time your temperature goes up, ovulation has already occurred. Over time, however, understanding your body’s patterns and rhythms will help you identify when you ovulate so you can take action accordingly.   Your practitioner will also use information about your temperature fluctuations to adjust your acupuncture treatments and herbal formula. To Fill Out a BBT Chart, here’s what to do:

  • Use a special BBT thermometer (available in your drugstore) which records temperature in smaller increments than an ordinary one you use for fevers.
  • Take your temperature orally, first thing upon waking, before you do anything else. Peeing, moving around, drinking coffee – they all have to wait until after you take your temperature.
  • Take your temperature at the same time every day.
  • You’ll only get a valid reading after at least three consecutive hours of sleep.
  • If you sleeping past your usual time, know that your temperature goes up one tenth of a degree every half hour, and adjust your results accordingly. (Decrease the number by one tenth of a degree for every half hour later it is than your usual time.)
  • Record your temperature on your BBT chart
  • Bring yourBBT chart with you to each appointment with your practitioner.

After you ovulate, about in the middle of your menstrual cycle, your BBT will rise, typically to between 97.6 and 98.6 degrees F, because of the increase in progesterone as you head into the second half (luteal phase) of your menstrual cycle. In the first phase of your cycle (starting with your period) – the follicular phase – your temperatures will be lower, typically between 97 and 97.5 degrees F. That’s thanks to the influence of estrogen. Temperatures usually rise with in a day of ovulation and stay elevated for 12 to 16 days. If you are pregnant they will remain elevated for more than 18 days.


To pinpoint when ovulation has occurred (and begin to predict when it will occur), you need to mark a coverline on your chart. It is simple enough to do, but written instructions can seem a little confusing, so please feel free to ask your practitioner to show you how it is done on an actual chart if you are have any trouble at all figuring this out:   Watch for the first day your temperature rises two tenths of a degree above your previous temperatures. Count the last six temperatures before that rise, and note the highest one. Move up the chart one tenth of a degree above that, and draw a horizontal line across your chart at that temperature – that’s your coverline.   Your coverline will most likely be at the same place in your next cycle, so looking for when your temperature hits it lets you know ovulation is about to occur – and, if you are trying to conceive, it is time to get busy!

To find out more about how to time intercourse to have the best possible chance of conceiving, check out this Yinova Blog article

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