Charting Guide and Q&A BBT charting, is a method of ovulation detection that requires you to take your temperature every morning and record the results on a chart, it is an easy and inexpensive way to track ovulation. Some women find BBT charting empowering, while other women feel that it is more stressful than helpful. It’s easy to get worried about slight variations in your temperatures, or feel like you can’t get up at night to use the bathroom “in case it’ll ruin your temp” for the morning. Personally, I find BBT charting very helpful for myself. I’ve learned more about my body by charting my cycles than I ever would have known without doing so. I also love that I can predict when I will get my period. * Take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed or before you even speak, leave your thermometer at your bedside within easy reach so you don't have to move much to get it. If you use a glass thermometer, make sure you shake it down before going to bed. * Try to take the temperature at as close to the same time each day as possible you can also set your alarm if you need to. Staying within a half hour either side of your time is a good idea because your temp can vary with the time (i.e, if you usually take your temperature at 7am, it is OK to take your BBT between 6:30-7:30, but the closer to 7am the better). If you take you temp early it will be lower than it would be if you took it at your normal time, and if you take it later it will be higher. * It is best to take your BBT after a minimum of 5 hours sleep, and at least 3 in a row. * You can take your temperature orally, vaginally, just stay with the same method for the entire cycle. * You should try to place the thermometer the same way each day (i.e if in your mouth on right side always do so on right side). * Make note of your temperature on your chart each day, but refrain from reading too much into it until the cycle is done. * Some women, but not all, have a temperature drop when they ovulate. If you see this drop, it is a good idea to have sex in case you are ovulating. * After you see your temperature shift upwards for at least three days, it will then confirm your ovulation day for you. With luck, it is easy to see a clear shift. * Look at your chart at the end of the month to analyze what happened. * You will need to chart for a few months and look for patterns before you really know what goes on with your cycles. * If your temperature stays up for 18 days or more after ovulation, you should test for pregnancy. Illness, Stress, or Difficulty Sleeping, even a slight cold can mess with your BBT charting. If sinus congestion forces you to sleep with your mouth open, for example, your temperature may be thrown off. Also, poor sleeping habits can mess with the results. One thing to notice is that women with ovulatory cycles but with irregular cycle lengths, the greatest variation from cycle to cycle should be before you ovulate. The luteal phase should be fairly constant (within 1-2 days). If one women has a cycle that ranges from 28-34 days, and a luteal phase of 14 days, ovulation would occur somewhere between days 14-20, not the middle of a cycle, not day 14 . . . This is the biggest mistake women with long cycles make when trying to conceive. Charting can alert you to some potential problems or complications, including the following: Anovulation, which means a lack of ovulation, or absent ovulation. Ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the ovary, must happen in order to achieve pregnancy. If ovulation is irregular, but not completely absent, this is called oligovulation. Both anovulation and oligovulation are kinds of ovulatory dysfunction. Luteal phase defect. Ideally, the luteal phase is 12 - 14 days. A luteal phase shorter than 10 days can impair fertility, as it makes it difficult for the fertilized embryo to implant in the uterus. You can easily spot a short luteal phase on a BBT chart; it is seen by no more than 10 high temperatures. Using a BBT chart will only tell you when you have ovulated. It doesn't predict ovulation. In order to predict ovulation, it is necessary to track your cervical mucus, when your period is over, you may notice that your cervical mucus is sticky. As you get closer to ovulation the fluid will get thinner. Eventually, the mucous turns to the consistency of egg whites. This is egg white cervical mucous (ewcm), and it is highly fertile. As a rule, you and your partner should have sex every day that you see egg white cervical fluid. Once your temperature increases after ovulation you will notice that your cervical fluid gets thicker or dries up all together. If you suspect a male infertility problem the it is wise to limit sex to at least every other day to give his sperm a chance to build back up better. Cervical Position: Besides tracking your cervical mucus, you can also track your cervical position to help predict ovulation. Your cervix will become higher, softer, and more open as ovulation approaches. After ovulation, the cervix becomes more firm, lower, and closed (or partially closed). This is not for everyone though, as it can be very hard to do. Another way of detecting ovulation is with an ovulation predictor test kit (OPK). Ovulation predictor kits, require you to pee on a test stick and dip it into a cup of collected urine, once a day for a week before you expect to ovulate. There are two lines on the test strip. Whenever the test line is darker than the control line, the test has detected an LH surge. (This is the exact same hormone that causes fertile cervical mucus.) Saliva Ferning, is another way to detect ovulation, a ferning pattern of your saliva is a possible sign of ovulation. There are special microscopes sold for this purpose. A ferning pattern is a pattern that looks like frost on a window pane. The ferning pattern appears during the body’s LH surge, which occurs 24-48 hours before ovulation.