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BBT Charting, Fertility and Acupuncture: What’s The Connection?

Whenever a woman comes to acupuncture looking to increase her fertility, in most cases I ask for BBT charts (or recommend she start charting). If you’re asking what a BBT is, click here for an explanation. BBT charts are clinically useful to me as an acupuncturist for many reasons. First, if there is a clear temperature shift midcycle, I know the woman is ovulating, and on which day ovulation is taking place. If the length of the follicular (pre-ovulatory) phase is consistently between 12-20 days, and if the luteal (post-ovulatory) phase is consistently between 11-16 days, I’m fairly confident that things are normal and any fertility issue is not with ovulation. In addition, the basal body temperatures should be within a certain range. If they are significantly lower or higher than I typically see, it could indicate a thyroid dysfunction which should be checked out by a physician. 

Most importantly, all of these things help me to make a diagnosis in terms of Chinese Medicine! As discussed in this blog entry, each part of the menstrual cycle has different energetic qualities such as yin, yang, heat, cold, etc. By analyzing the patterns of a woman’s basal body temperatures over just 2-3 months’ time, I can make a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. I am a firm believer that keeping a BBT chart for a few months helps a woman to get to know her own body better, and gain a more intuitive understanding of her needs.

Just a few examples of how various BBT patterns correlate to a Chinese Medicine diagnosis:

  • If a woman’s Luteal phase is short (under 11 days) or if the temperatures during this phase are very unstable, it could be due to yang deficiency (since the Luteal phase is when the yang energy of the body is at its peak). So, acupuncture and herbs to warm the body, nourish yang and increase circulation to the pelvic organs can help to gradually lengthen the Luteal phase and stabilize temperatures.
  • If temperatures during the Follicular phase are very unstable, this could be due to either Liver Qi Stagnation or Heart Fire. Both are very common diagnoses in Chinese Medicine, and again by using acupoints and herbs to correct the imbalance, the temperatures become more consistent and we know your hormones are becoming more balanced.

If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to contact me or comment with any questions!

Related Posts:

OPK’s vs BBT Charting

The Menstrual Cycle According To Traditional Chinese Medicine

Just The Basics: BBT Charting





2 Responses to “BBT Charting, Fertility and Acupuncture: What’s The Connection?”

  1. Carrie

    Hi, I do have a question, my BBT shows I ovulate about day 13/14 and I had cramping. However, my OPK doesn’t give me a 🙂 until day 19. This has happened continually and I am on Clomid at this point (happened like this before the meds) So am I ovulating? I have been TTC for 1 1/2 years and am 35 so desperate for answers. Thank you!

    • Susan Wallmeyer

      Hi Carrie,
      This is a great question, but unfortunately not one I can give a definitive answer on. I would recommend counting how many days there are in between your temperature spike and your period. If the number of days is pretty consistent (within 1-2 days), and your temperature is quite stable during the Luteal Phase, chances are quite good in my opinion that you are ovulating. The cervical fluid (on non-Clomid cycles) can be another helpful clue. I would try experimenting with a different type of OPK, if you haven’t already. The only way to know for sure if you are ovulating is through a Luteal Phase progesterone test and an ultrasound before and after the ovulation should have occurred. Your fertility specialist can perform these tests. Hope this helps!


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