How to Monitor Ovulation: A Would Be Pregnant Woman’s Guide
Women are tough and intelligent. But when it comes to pinpointing their ovulation period, they can have a difficult time identifying the exact moment.
Making a baby is not just a playful act between lovers. In fact, in some instances it might require planning and scheduling. Yes, you read it right. Sometimes baby making needs a schedule, not according to your own discretion but according to your egg’s most convenient time.
How would you know whether you have ovulatory cycles? You would if you can identify the typical signs and symptoms of ovulation. Otherwise, you would need to monitor your cycles.
Why Monitor Your Ovulation?
If the ovum (egg) were Facebook, it would give you a notification when it comes out. It would probably give you a ding to inform you she’s available and will post something like, “I want to meet a sperm now.” Sadly, your ova are not Facebook and determining whether you’re ovulating might be a real challenge, especially when you have irregular or abnormal cycles.
The good news is, ovulation happens naturally. The bad news is, it only lasts 12 to 24 hours in a month. How then would you know when that 24-hour-lasting ovulation is actually happening?
Many women find ovulation monitoring an effective way of getting the right schedule for procreating. Here are a few more reasons why you should monitor your ovulation:
Your Cycle is Irregular
Your cycle may change without warning. Normally, the menstrual cycle can go from 28 days to 36 days. Ovulation may occur on, or sometime after, halfway through the cycle. Additionally, some factors may affect your menstrual cycle such as weight gain, weight loss, or stress.
Ovulation is Closely Linked to Cervical Mucus
Cervical mucus is essential to give sperm a good environment in the reproductive tract. Cervical mucus will also help you determine if you’re ovulating or not. It is typically clear and has the consistency of egg white. If your cervical mucus is creamy, sticky, or looks like a lotion, this should hint you that you’re not ovulating.
Several factors can affect ovulation and those are the things we cannot always be aware of unless we monitor it.
Ovulation Monitoring 101
There are several ways for you to monitor your ovulation. It is best to consult your physician or your local family planning centers to acquire practical counsel. Otherwise, you can try the methods listed:
Basically, the menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days and may be as long as 36 days in some women. But you cannot always rely on the length of your cycles since factors such as stress can affect the length of your cycles.
In general, ovulation occurs 14 days before next period for a regular 28-day menstrual cycle. But then again, this is not always reliable especially when the cycle is irregular. The 28-day period starts from the first day of your period up to the first day of your next period. Ovulation usually occurs approximately half way into your cycle (circa cycle day 11 to cycle day 16 for a woman with an average cycle of 28 days).
Using a Basal Thermometer
A basal thermometer is a device used to check a woman’s basal body temperature. It is not an ordinary medical thermometer that you use to check for fever. It is specifically designed to check for very small changes in body temperature. A basal thermometer is not meant for one-time use. Rather, you should check your basal body temperature every day and use a chart to record the results (also called temping). Here’s how:
- Check your basal temperature before getting out of bed. Make sure your thermometer is within your reach.
- Insert the end of the basal thermometer in your mouth and wait until the thermometer makes a beeping sound (depends on the brand and type of thermometer). You can also check temperature through the vagina or rectum depending on your preference,
but you must be consistent in the method you use to measure your basal body temperature.
- Finally, record the result on a chart or a tracking app (software downloadable from mobile app stores). Some thermometers can store your last reading so you can just go back to sleep right after measuring your temperature and record the temperature later.
Our Top Basal Thermometers
A sudden shift in your body temperature could be a sign of ovulation (or at least the tracking app would tell indicate this using the data you enter). However, be aware that factors like stress, fever, cough and other illnesses can also trigger an increase in body temperature.
Cervical Mucus Evaluation
Changes in the appearance and texture of your cervical mucus occur during your cycle an by studying the consistency of your mucus, you might be able to know when you ovulate. Cervical mucus is naturally secreted by your cervix under the influence of the hormone estrogen. As you approach ovulation, your estrogen levels increase, causing your cervix to secrete more mucus, which is considered to be of fertile quality.
You can check your cervical mucus by inserting your tall finger deep into your vagina and observe the consistency of the mucus by rubbing your finger against your thumb. If the mucus is white and looks like a lotion, it means you’re not ovulating. A clear and slimy mucus that looks like egg white indicates that you’re in your most fertile period.
This method can be used by all women, irrespective of whether they have regular or irregular cycles. However, some don’t feel comfortable checking their cervical mucus and consider it gross to stick their fingers down there to retrieve mucus and observe it. If you feel this way, you can use toilet tissue to wipe your vagina and observe the mucus.
If you’re not interested in any of the methods mentioned above, it might be best for you to rely on ovulation test kits. These kits are commonly called ovulation predictor kits or ovulation kits and can be standard (using test strips) or digital. An ovulation test works by detecting the amount of luteinizing hormone (and estrogen in advanced digital kits) present in your urine. It is used in the same as a pregnancy test kit.
- For strips, you could either use pee on them directly or;
- Dip the strips in a cup with urine
- For strips, wait some time (as instructed by the manufacturer) before removing it from urine
- For digital tests, wait until the device makes a beeping sound or displays a sign on the display (read the manufacturer’s instructions for clarity as these might vary)
The result on the strip will show after a while. Check the instruction manual that came with the strips. For digital tests, the result might be displayed as a YES+ or NO- or an empty circle or a smiley face.
Our Top Ovulation Predictor Kits
These simple steps on how to monitor ovulation can help you to identify your fertile days. It may be wise to get checked by a health professional to know whether you have any underlying medical condition that can hamper your fertility. You can also learn about strategies that can help improve your egg quality.
Monitoring of your ovulation is important, especially when you and your partner are keen on having a baby. This will help you set aside time for intercourse with higher chances of achieving pregnancy.