Ovulation is the only time in your cycle that you can get pregnant, so it is crucial to know when you are ovulating if you are trying to conceive. This one small bit of information can drastically boost your odds of conceiving in any given cycle. Conception is a very complex process, so you will want to do everything you can to help it along. First, let us discuss what happens during ovulation.
What is Ovulation?
In simple terms, ovulation occurs when the female body releases a mature egg for fertilization. This normally happens every cycle, regardless of whether the woman has had intercourse. If you have had sex within your fertile window, there is a chance that one very resilient sperm will make its way to fertilize the egg. This is not a given, though. The sperm’s journey is long and arduous, and there are no guarantees that they will make it. This is why it can take more than one cycle for any healthy, fertile couple to conceive.
Regardless of whether sperm were present during the fertile window. If the egg is not fertilized within 12-24 hours, it will degenerate and another cycle will begin about two weeks later.
Ovulation normally occurs every cycle, but its appearance may change depending on the woman’s cycle. Most women ovulate about 15 days before the beginning of their next cycle (next menstrual period). If you have a 28-day cycle, this means you will ovulate around day 14. If you have a 30-day cycle, you may ovulate around day 16. These are not hard and fast numbers, though. Even with a 28-day cycle, you may ovulate on day 12 or 16. This is why it is good to know the signs of ovulation. Being just a few days off can really make a big difference for your chances of conception. Learn more about ovulation here.
Signs of Ovulation
There are some common signs of ovulation that every woman experiences. All you need to know is how to look for them. Then there are some other ovulation symptoms that only some women experience. It is good to know about these because if you are one of those women, it can be another indication that you are ovulating.
Cervical Mucus Changes – When you are ovulating, your body is preparing for that egg to be fertilized. A once hostile environment for sperm must become friendly. One way this happens is with cervical mucus changes. Hormones that control your cycle also change your cervical mucus. After your period you may not notice any cervical mucus (dry days). As you start entering your fertile window, cervical mucus increases and changes texture. At first, it will be sticky. Then it will be creamy. Then, when you are at your most fertile, there will be an increase of mucus that resembles the texture of raw egg whites.
Cervical Position Changes – As your body rolls out the welcome mat for any sperm that may enter during this time, it continues changing. The cervix sits higher in the vagina. It also softens and is wet with that EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus). At this time, the cervix, which used to be closed off, opens to allow sperm into the uterus. You should be able to feel for these changes, but it is a good idea to feel at various times in your cycle, so you can notice the difference.
Basal Body Temperature Changes – After ovulation, you may notice a temperature rise, your body temperature will increase by about one degree Fahrenheit. You may notice that your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day anyway, so the only way to notice such a change is to take your temperature first thing in the morning before you roll out of bed. Keep a pencil and paper at your bedside along with a thermometer. Chart these early morning readings and it should be easy to see when your temperature spikes.
Positive OPK Result – Ovulation predictor kits can tell you when your body is preparing to ovulate by detecting increased levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in your urine. You can buy these tests over the counter at most pharmacies.
Saliva Ferning – When you are ovulating, your saliva changes. It’s not something you can see with the naked eye, though. You must use a microscope to look for a ferning (or snowflake) pattern.
There are other signs of ovulation that some women experience every cycle. These include:
- Breast tenderness
- Cramping pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Heightened sex drive
- Sharper senses
- Light spotting
- Headaches and/or nausea
Once you can identify these signs, it’ll make it much easier to know when you are ovulating and get the timing right.
Author Bio: Phil Druce founded Ovulation Calculator in 2014 with the goal of providing easy to understand, science backed knowledge and tools to couples trying to conceive. He was inspired to do this after his own fertility battle.