How to know when are you ovulating? Which methods to use to predict ovulation?
Ovulation, the same way as menstrual cycles, vary and differ among women. If you are trying to get pregnant, it is good to learn about ovulation and gain insight on how to know if and when you are ovulating. On one hand, you can improve the timing of your intercourse to increase your chances of pregnancy. On the other hand, understanding your own monthly cycle can help you recognize abnormal ovulation symptoms.
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Ovulation can vary from month to month. It usually happens somewhere around the mid-point of your menstrual cycle. The counts starts the first day of your period. For most women, ovulation occurs between days 10 and 19 - depending on how long your normal cycle lasts – and hits about 12 to 16 days before your next cycle.
Several methods exist to predict ovulation
They include ovulation calculation methods, temperature charting, noticing cervical changes, and ovulation predictor kits.
Keep a Menstrual Calendar
Keeping a menstrual calendar is a very useful way of getting familiar with your own cycle. The calendar can also be immensely helpful for a physician if you decide to see one in the future. Here is a free one that you can download from the American Pregnancy Association. This calendar will help you discover your most fertile days (Estimated Fertility Window) It will also help you predict your next period date and when you may take the pregnancy test if you believe you might be pregnant.
Listen to Your Body
Learning to pay attention to your own body can help you recognize the signs you are ovulating. About 20% of women experience a twinge of pain or a series of cramps in the area of their fallopian tubes on the side of the ovary they are ovulating from. There is even a name for it – mittelschmerz (German for “middle pain”.) Most doctors think the pain comes from the maturation and the release of the egg from the ovary. Learning to pay attention can increase the likelihood you will recognize this sensation.
Chart Your Temperature
Your basal body temperature (BBT), measured with a special basal thermometer, is the baseline reading you get first thing in the morning, before you even sit up. Your BBT changes throughout the month depending on your hormone levels. Your basal temperature will be lower during the first part of the month and then will increase during the last half, after ovulation. During the first half of your cycle your body has more estrogen, which makes your temperature at its normal level. During the second half of your cycle, following ovulation, your body releases a surge of progesterone.
Notice Changes With Your Cervix
Your body will exhibit noticeable changes as it begins to get ready for ovulation and the incoming hordes of sperm that can fertilize the released egg from its ovary. One predictable change that will occur is the position of the cervix itself. During the first half of your cycle the cervix will be low, hard and closed. But as ovulation gets closer, it will pull up, soften and open just a little in anticipation of the sperm to make it easier for conception to occur. Some women can easily feel these changes. You can check your cervix daily using two fingers and chart your observations on your ovulation calendar.
Another cervical sign is the appearance, quantity, and the consistency of cervical mucus. The purpose of cervical mucus is to create a slippery highway to make it easier for the sperm to reach the egg. During the first part of your cycle you will be dry and won’t really have much (if any) cervical mucus. As your cycle advances, you will notice that you produce a lot of it and its consistency will be slippery and sticky – kind of like egg whites. After ovulation occurs, it will go back to being dry and a little thicker.
Consider Using an Ovulation Predictor Kit
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) are easily obtained over-the-counter. They can accurately predict ovulation 12 to 24 hours in advance by measuring the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your body. LH is the last of the hormones that is released before ovulation occurs. OPKs are easy to use – you just urinate on a stick and it will tell you whether you’re about ready to ovulate.
Another OPK option is the saliva test. This test measures the level of estrogen in your saliva as ovulation gets closer. Most women are able to see a change in their saliva during ovulation when viewed under the eyepiece in the test kit. If you’re ovulating, your saliva will have a fern-like pattern. Even though not all women are able to get a good reading, the saliva test is worth a try because the test is reusable and can be considerably less expensive than the urination OPKs.
Other tests are able to detect ovulation through numerous salts (chloride, sodium, potassium) that are excreted through sweat, which changes during different phases of the menstrual cycle. This change is called the chloride ion surge. It happens before the estrogen and LH surge, so these tests give a 4-day warning that ovulation is about to occur. The key to the chloride ion surge test is having a good baseline of your ion levels. There is a device on the market that is worn on the wrist for at least 6 hours to get a good baseline reading.
Ovulation prediction methods and tests indicate when ovulation may be occurring but they cannot guarantee you will ovulate at a certain time or that you will get pregnant. No matter which method or device you choose – or you try all of them – patience and persistence are the key to success. Remember to take good care of yourself and find ways to keep you and your partner in the mood for baby-making, whether it be taking turns massaging each other, taking a bath or shower together, or taking a romantic getaway.
Opionato (www.opionato.com) is your trusted go-to fertility expert accessible at anytime from anywhere. We assess your fertility potential and provide next-step fertility advice so your path to pregnancy is short and stress-free.
Opionato started with one woman’s personal fertility experience and the vision to give others what she lacked. Read Maja’s story here: https://www.opionato.com/blog/what-i-wish-i-knew-my-fertility-journey.