If you’re trying to become pregnant, tracking your ovulation can be extremely helpful.
Understanding your body and your menstrual cycle can increase your chances of pregnancy. Knowing when you ovulate can make the process easier. Learning about the symptoms of ovulation can help you to figure out ideal days for intercourse.
What Happens During Ovulation?
Ovulation usually takes place 14 days before your next period. If you have a 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation will happen on the 14th day of the cycle. However, cycle durations vary for each woman and for every month as well. The average cycle lasts for 21-35 days.
Ovulation is the third phase in the four-phase menstrual cycle. During the second phase (Follicular phase), the increase in estrogen signals the Pituitary Gland to release Luteinizing Hormone (LH).
Then LH triggers the follicles to release a mature egg (ovum). Ovulation starts when the ovum is released.
The egg will travel to the uterus through the fallopian tube. It will remain active in the fallopian tube for 12-36 hours during which a sperm can fertilize it and cause pregnancy.
The sperm can remain alive for 5 days in the tube so if you have intercourse a few days before and on the ovulation day, it increases your chance of becoming pregnant. The small window of ovulation is your most fertile time.
Three days before and the day of ovulation is the most ideal time for conceiving.
If the egg isn’t fertilized, there will be no pregnancy. Two weeks later, the thick uterus lining will start shedding and you will start your period.
How To Track Ovulation
Tracking ovulation is quite simple. There are many tried and tested ways including manual and prediction apps. The symptoms of ovulations are great tools for tracking.
Calculate Your Cycle.
Calculating your average cycle time is essential. Knowing your menstrual cycle duration can help you not only predict your next period and ovulation but also help you to notice irregularities.
The average cycle time is 21-35 days. While 28 days may be the standard time, some women have shorter or longer cycles. Since we tend to ovulate two weeks before our next period starts, you can center your conceiving plans around those dates.
Irregular cycle dates indicate irregular ovulation. It is best to consult a doctor in such situations.
This is a manual cycle counting method that has been used for ages. You need to record the previous six to twelve cycles by noting down the start and end days.
Find the shortest cycle. Subtract at least 18 days from the cycle duration. For example, if your shortest cycle was 32 days, you will get 32-18= 14. This is your most fertile day. You need to mark the 14th day of every upcoming cycle. Your ovulation might occur on that day or after a few days.
You are most fertile 3-5 days leading up to your ovulation and during your ovulation. So, those few days in between are the optimal time for intercourse if you want to conceive. However, this doesn’t work for those with irregular cycles.
You can also use predictor apps to chart your dates. Instead of manual calculating, they present you dates based on your data.
The app also takes note of your symptoms and warns you if they are out-of-the-ordinary. It is much more accurate and less tiring than manual calculation.
Basal Body Temperature Method
An increase in basal body temperature is a symptom of ovulation. By recording basal body temperature every day, you can see the slight increase and get ready for ovulation.
To check your basal body temperature, you can use a thermometer or a special BBT thermometer. Thermometers that measure 1/1000 of a Celsius degree or 1/10 of Fahrenheit are ideal.
Use it right after waking up and before going to the bathroom. Make sure to record it at the same time every day.
However, this method is not always effective and can be inconsistent for people with irregular periods.
The Luteinizing Hormone (LH) increases at the end of the follicular stage. This triggers the bursting of the mature egg or ovum from the follicle which starts ovulation.
Ovulation kits detect the luteinizing hormone in your urine. The surge usually happens 36 hours before the ovum is released and ovulation starts.
Since the 3-5 days leading up to ovulation is prime time for conceiving, the rising LH level lets you know when to initiate sexual activities.
Cervical Mucus Method
One of the symptoms of ovulation is a change in cervical mucus. The wet and stretchy vaginal discharge is unlike the texture of other phases in the cycle. You need to examine your mucus every day and record it in a chart. This is also known as the Billings method.
Since the discharge is mixed with period blood during menstruation days, start recording after your period ends. It’s advisable to consult a doctor before you start using this method as it can be hard to get the hang of it.
You can use your fingers to check the consistency of the mucus, use white tissue or toilet paper to wipe your vagina before peeing, and check your underwear or panty liner (if using). If the discharge is clear and wet with a stretchy texture, it means you are near or probably already started ovulating.
Checking your vaginal discharge regularly can be helpful as it’s an ovulation tracking method and also a great indicator of health.
Tracking your ovulation can help you immensely in your pregnancy journey. It’s the first step if you’re trying to conceive. Knowing your cycle, symptoms, and ovulation pattern make the difficult road much easier.
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