How to Chart a Temperature Record

Basal body temperature charting is essential to natural family planning.
Basal body temperature charting is essential to natural family planning. (Image: woman checking body temperature image by forca from

Before turning to doctors for help conceiving, many women attempt to understand their body's natural cycles by charting their basal body temperature for a few months. Hormonal changes occur in a woman's body after ovulation, causing basal body temperature to rise slightly. Charting these changes can help to predict ovulation and increase the success of efforts to conceive. Charting a temperature record is very simple and will require only a few minutes each morning. If you are still unable to conceive after a few months, take these charts to your doctor or natural family planning counselor for advice.

Things You'll Need

  • Basal body temperature thermometer
  • Graph paper with no more than 4 lines per inch
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

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Prepare a Blank Graph

Draw a box on your graph paper that is 40 squares wide and 25 squares tall using the pencil and ruler. Allow space above and to the left of the box for labeling.

Label the top edge (i.e., x-axis) of the box with day numbers from 1 to 40, writing a number in each square above the upper horizontal line.

Label the left edge (i.e., y-axis) of the box with temperatures in increments of 0.1 degree. Write the number 99.0 on the first horizontal line below the top of the box and continue to label each horizontal line (e.g., 98.9, 98.8, 98.7) until you reach the last line before the bottom of the box.

Chart a Temperature Record

Begin recording on the first day of your menstrual period. Write an "M" below the bottom line of the graph on the first, second, third and fourth days of your menstrual period.

Take your basal body temperature immediately after waking on the fifth day of your menstrual period. Continue to indicate the duration of menstruation by writing an "M" at the bottom of the chart until your period ends.

Record your temperature on the prepared graph by creating a dot at the intersection of the horizontal line that corresponds to your temperature and the vertical line to the left of the day number five.

Measure and record your temperature on the sixth and subsequent days of your cycle and draw lines between subsequent dots using a ruler.

Create and begin using a new chart at the beginning of your next menstrual period.

Tips & Warnings

  • Download and print a free fertility chart (see Resources) instead of creating your own.


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