For most women there are only about 30 days in a year when there is a reasonable chance of conceiving. For a successful pregnancy to eventuate, a whole chain of events need to come together precisely in the woman’s body, in her partners body, and in their relationship on one of those days. Being able to accurately identify these relatively rare opportunities raises the odds of success considerably. Watching external clues of the body provides us with a method to do exactly that.
The basal body temperature chart records the temperature of the body on waking. It is done at this time to measure the temperature at a time when the body is deeply rested and the body’s metabolism and temperature is at its baseline. A woman’s basal body temperature rises after she has ovulated and begins to produce progesterone.
A major element of Traditional Chinese Medicine is discerning what is going on inside the body from observing external symptoms and factors. As such, the change in basal body temperature observed during the menstrual cycle and the production of mucus by the cervix just before ovulation are important markers for determining an accurate Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis in relation to fertility.
This chart suggests, but does not definitively assess, the viability or occurrence of ovulation and the adequacy of progesterone production by the length, pattern and consequences of luteal (pre-ovulation) and follicular (post-ovulation) phase temperature patterns. Any additional information resulting from blood tests, ultrasound, hormone panels, sperm tests or ovarian function tests, all add to the specificity and therefore the efficacy of any diagnosis and treatment.
Filling in a basal body temperature chart
These instructions are provided for patients of The Fertility Support Company who are asked to record a basal body temperature chart.
Upon waking place a mercury/fertility thermometer underneath the arm for 10 minutes if using a mercury thermometer or three minutes if using a fertility thermometer. This must be done after a minimum of three hours uninterrupted sleep and preferable at roughly the same time each morning. If on some days you are taking your temperature later (for example, on the weekend) please make a note of this on the chart. Also note if alcohol was drunk the night before or if you had a particularly restless night.
Also note on the chart the quality and consistency of cervical mucus using the first letter of the descriptive words on the left side of the chart, for example:
M = moist
W = white
St = sticky
Sl = slippery
T = transparent
D = dry
N = no secretions seen or felt
We = wet
To illustrate the elements we look for in a chart, here are three different charts from past patients.
Example of normal temperature distribution – view chart
Example of overly long follicular phase, short luteal phase – view chart
Example of inefficient ovulation, lack of progesterone, stress in follicular phase – view chart
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complementary therapy and the Fertility Support Company does not advocate it as an alternative to Western medicine. If you are in any doubt about your health or symptoms you are experiencing you should consult your doctor.