Okay….let’s talk about charting. Should you do it? Yes! Unless this is going to make you truly anxious (which does not help fertility), we think charting is a real plus!
At Acupuncture Buffalo, we use many tools to figure out how we can best support your fertility, and your gynecological health in general. Obviously, observing you and listening to you gives us a great deal of insight as to how to time and plan acupuncture, herbal medicine, and supplement protocols in a way that supports you as a whole person. Unlike our ancient Chinese predecessors who did this a thousand years ago, we have some pretty cool technology that can help us to fine tune your treatments beyond observation, tongue, and pulse. This is where fertility charting comes in. There are three indicators that can tell us a lot about how the rhythms of Yin, Yang, Qi, and blood interplay in your body.
1. Cervical fluid
2. Early morning oral body temperature
3. Ovulation predictor strips.
None of these indicators are perfect, but when charted together, we can get a great deal of useful information. If we pay close attention to these indicators, we can actually see your indicators change and improve as treatment progresses. All you will need is a basal body thermometer, a free app, and a little discipline. More specifically, here is what you will need:
1. The Kindara app – Get it here. You can use this on a computer, or your phone. There are tons of apps out there, but we can’t learn them all, so we request that you use this one. This will allow us to best interpret your charts and support you if you need help using the app. Besides, this one is awesome!
2. Basal body thermometer – You don’t need the expensive one that Kindara sells. Any drug store variety will work. Check the section where you find ovulation kits and home pregnancy tests. Just make sure that it says “Basal” body thermometer. Regular digital thermometers are not sensitive enough. If your drugstore doesn’t have one, you can try your favorite online mega store.
3. Ovulation predictor strips – These are the “pee” sticks that you use after your period ends and before you ovulate to detect an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH). Buy cheap ones because you will go through a lot of them. Some women swear by the Wondfo One Step Ovulation Test Strips that cost about $20 for 50 of them online.
Once you have the gear, here is what you’ll do:
1. Poke around the app and get familiar with how to enter data.
2. First thing tomorrow morning, take your waking temperature and enter it in the app. The folks at Kindara wrote a really great article about doing this well.
3. When you are ready for a bathroom break, take a look at your cervical fluid and enter that in the app. Here’s how.
4. Once your period is over, go ahead and do a once or twice daily LH test according to the directions on the product. Enter that result in the app as well. At first you will want to do this from the end of your period until your LH surge comes and goes. Once you start to see a pattern, you may not need to start testing so early on.
And my favorite part…
5. Print your chart and bring it with you to your acupuncture treatment! Even if you are not a patient of ours, most any practitioner with experience in fertility (or infertility, if they are the glass half empty type) will appreciate the insight this tool has to offer.
By looking at the temperatures, length and stability of the first half of the chart your practitioner can tell if yin and blood need more support. Around mid cycle she can access how smoothly qi is circulating around ovulation, and the last part of the chart (the beloved luteal phase) will show us the state of yang. Nice strong yang will translate to a sufficiently long luteal phase with a quick rise and consistently high temps that support implantation. Not only will this tool help your practitioner to dial in your treatments, but it will give you the opportunity to see the proof that your treatment are working!