Getting to know your cycle - A guide to BBT charting

If you're trying to get pregnant, it really important to get to know your cycle so you get a good idea of your hormonal fluctuations and when you ovulate.

BBT charting means measuring your basal body temperature; this is your lowest body temperature when you are at rest. Generally, your temperature will be about 36.2-37.5°C during the first half of your cycle and then 0.2-0.5°C higher for the second half after ovulation.

How to chart

Use a basal thermometer (a digital thermometer will do, so long as it is accurate to 1/10th degree) and take your temperature first thing in the morning, immediately on waking and before you do anything else! To get an accurate reading it is best to take your temperature at the same time of day and after at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep (eg 7am every morning). Plot your temperature on the chart. To get a good view of your cycle and identify any patterns, it's a good idea to do this for several months.

Here are a couple of charts you can download for free:

  • http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a7069/download-a-basal-body-temperature-and-cervical-mucus-chart
  • https://www.babyhopes.com/articles/bbt-chart.html

Here's a few tips

  • Record your temp at the same time of the day; if you are late one day make a note of this on your chart
  • Record your temp first thing before you get up/drink water etc
  • If you are feeling unwell, drank alcohol the night before, have started any medication make sure to note this on your chart
  • Day 1 is the first day of you cycle (the first day of your period)
  • Write the date of Day 1 on the top of your chart
  • Make a note of any other symptoms on your chart (bleeding, spotting, pain, mucous secretions, breast pain etc)

How can BBT charting help?

BBT charting allows your acupuncturist and other medical professionals to see your metabolic changes and gives us a good idea of how your hormones are working. This makes it easier to determine what's in balance, to see what treatments are working and to predict your ovulation phase. BBT alongside information about cervical mucous can indicate when ovulation will happen.


Deborah Tanguy BHSc, MBAcC
Lead practitioner at Wholebody Acupuncture and a registered member of the British Acupuncture Council with a special interest in treating women's health and injury recovery.