Do You Know When You Are Ovulating?
Whether you are trying to get pregnant or not, you should watch out for signs to know when you are ovulating. It is relatively easy to look out for these signs, and it takes just a little practice to master them.
As you may already know, ovulation happens when your egg is released from one of your ovaries. After an egg is released from your ovary, it takes only a sperm cell to fertilize it.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, you should ideally ‘baby dance’ shortly before or on the day of ovulation to increase your chances of getting pregnant. On the other hand, if you plan to use natural family methods, it is necessary that you watch out for fertility signs to avoid intercourse or use barrier methods to avoid getting pregnant.
But how do you know when you are ovulating or approaching ovulation?
When Does Ovulation Occur?
For most women with regular cycles, ovulation occurs anywhere between cycle day 11 and 21 (cycle day 1 is the day you start bleeding). Women with shorter cycles will ovulate at around cycle day 11 while those with longer cycles will ovulate at around cycle day 21.
It can be quite challenging if you use only the calendar method to determine when you are ovulating, especially when your cycles are irregular. You can also look for fertility symptoms to detect your fertile period or track your cycles every month. Some of these tracking methods can help you know that ovulation is approaching or it has occurred.
Signs to Help You Know When You Are Ovulating
These signs will help you know that you will ovulate soon or that you have ovulated.
Abundant Fertile Cervical Mucus
As you approach ovulation, the consistency of your cervical mucus will change. Your cervical mucus will increase, become clear, and have a raw egg white-like consistency. You’ll typically feel wet down there when you are ovulating.
When you’re not in your fertile period, your cervical mucus is a thick and breaks easily when you try to stretch it between your fingers.
The video below information about cervical mucus tracking.
Soft and High Cervix
Your cervix changes position and texture depending on where you are in your cycles. You can learn how to track these changes by inserting your finger into your vagina and feeling your cervix. No special equipment is necessary to do this as you can see in the video below.
Increased Sex Drive
It’s amazing how our bodies know when it’s time for baby-making. At around ovulation, your libido or sexual drive increases. You will feel more like having intercourse and can be easily aroused at around your fertile period.
However, you should note that other factors can affect your sexual drive, including work, stress, or illness.
If you have ever noticed it, your breasts are sometimes tender during your cycles. But when?
Even after ovulation, your body keeps producing hormones to prepare your uterus for fertilization and implantation. These hormones will cause your breast to become tender after ovulation.
Although this cannot help you to predict ovulation, it can help you determine that you have ovulatory cycles. However, you need to watch out for other things that can cause breast tenderness such as fertility drugs.
Mittelschmerz or Ovulation Pain
Approximately 25% of women experience a sharp pain in their lower abdomen in the middle of their cycles. This mid-cycle pain may be felt on the right or left side depending on whether the egg is released by the left or right ovary.
Mittelschmerz, which is the German word for “middle pain” occurs just before ovulation. The severity of the pain differs between women. In some women, it is felt as a temporary sharp pain in the lower abdomen. A smaller proportion of women describe the pain as being so severe that it can prevent them from baby dancing during their most fertile period.
In general, ovulation pain should not be so severe that it prevents you from performing your activities of daily living. If you experience severe lower abdominal pain, you should visit your physician to make sure that you do not have an underlying condition that might be causing this.
Shift in Basal Body Temperature
You can track your basal body temperature (BBT) during your cycles to understand how your body works. You should measure your temperature using a BBT thermometer, which detects slight changes in body temperature, every morning at about the same time.
After ovulation, your increased progesterone levels causes a slight increase in your BBT, which can be detected by a sensitive thermometer designed for this purpose.
Your BBT chart will only help you tell whether you ovulated and cannot be used to predict ovulation. Additionally, if you have fertility issues, your physician might find the data in your BBT chart helpful.
A Positive Ovulation Test
Ovulation predictors (OPKs) can help you to determine when you are ovulating. There are essentially two types: those that detect the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH) or both LH and estrogen in urine or those that detect changes in your saliva brought about by hormonal changes.
OPKs are relatively easy to use and save you the headache of waking up at about the same time every morning to measure your BBT. Although they are relatively accurate (depending on the brand), a positive result does not always mean that you will ovulate. In some rare instances, your hormones might reach a peak, but the egg is not released from the ovary.
If you have very long or irregular cycles, it might get expensive to use OPKs. However, you can cut down your expenses by buying a cheap brand such as Wondfo One Step Ovulation and switch to a more expensive one when the test line starts getting as dark as the control on the Wondfo test strips.
Like OPKs, fertility monitors can also help you know when you are ovulating. A fertility monitor such as Ovacue can be a great choice for women with have polycystic ovarian syndrome, who may sometimes get false positive results with OPKs.
Learn about the different OPKs and fertility monitors and how to read your results in this post.
Signs You May Not be Having Ovulatory Cycles
If you do not ovulate during each cycle or do not ovulate at all, there are certain signs that can give you an indication that you have an ovulation problem. You should always seek medical help if you suspect you might be having problems with your cycles.
Your Cycles Are Irregular
We do not have the exact same cycle length during each cycle. Each cycle might differ in length from another by a couple of days. This is normal. It is a problem when your cycles vary by several days. This might be an indication that you are not ovulating during each cycle.
Absence of Menstruation
Most girls start menstruating between ages 10 and 15 years. Assuming you’re well past this age group and are considered to be in your reproductive years, the absence of menstruation is a sign that you are not ovulating.
Abnormally Short or Long Menstrual Cycles
A menstrual period is about 21 to 35 days on average. If your menstrual cycles are usually shorter or longer than this, it may be a sign that you are not ovulating normally.
No Shift in Basal Body Temperature
If you are charting your BBT and do not notice the typical shift in temperature that occurs during an ovulatory cycle, you may have an ovulation problem. It is advisable that you consult your doctor because some women who have ovulatory cycles might not observe this increase in BBT.
Note that many factors can affect your BBT, including your sleep patterns, illness, and activity. It is important that you measure your temperature at the same time every morning before getting out of bed so that you do not get errors on your BBT chart.
No Positive Ovulation Test Result or Inconsistent Readings
OPKs and fertility monitors detect hormones that cause you to ovulate and prepare your uterus for pregnancy. If you never get a positive ovulation test result, it may also be an indication that you may have ovulation problems.
Some women, especially those with polycystic ovarian syndrome, may get multiple positive results. In such cases, the body produces hormones to trigger ovulation, but for some reason, the ovary fails to release an egg.
You can watch out for these signs to determine when you are ovulating to get pregnant faster. If you are trying to avoid a pregnancy but do not wish to use hormonal contraception, you can learn how to track fertility by practicing fertility awareness methods. If you suspect that you might be having problems with ovulation, it is best to visit your gynecologist for a proper examination and diagnosis.