How Do You Know You Are Ovulating?
Contrary to popular belief, not all women have 28-day cycles with ovulation on day 14. Understanding when you are fertile and when you are ovulating can significantly improve or reduce chances of conception. You can use an online calculator to guess which days are most fertile for you, but there are other ways to be more accurate. Women are generally fertile a few days preceding ovulation. According to Taking Charge of Your Fertility, sperm can stay alive for up to five days in a woman’s body if she has fertile cervical mucus.
Record your menstrual cycles, if you are not already doing so. You can use a calendar or an online fertility chart, such as FertilityFriend (see Resources). The first day of your period is considered day 1. If your cycles are consistent, it can help you know when ovulation may be approaching.
Purchase an ovulation predictor kit at your local pharmacy. Ovulation predictor kits test for hormone surges that indicate ovulation. According to Taking Charge of your Fertility, a positive ovulation test generally indicates that ovulation will occur in the next one to two days. Read the instructions to your kit to be sure of the time frame for your chosen brand.
Chart your waking temperature with a basal body thermometer. You can purchase a specific basal body thermometer at most pharmacies or online. Charting requires you to take your temperature at the same time every morning before getting up or moving around. You need to have at least three hours of consecutive sleep in order for the temperature to be accurate. Keep a graph of your temperatures. Once the temperature rises and stays up for at least three consecutive days, you will know you have ovulated. This rise in temperature is due to the body’s release of progesterone after ovulation has occurred. See FertilityFriend (Resources) for more detailed information on charting your BBT.
Check your cervical mucus for changes. When women become fertile, cervical mucus changes from dry or sticky to a clear, slippery consistency that resembles raw egg whites. Obtain the mucus by sliding clean fingers or a piece of toilet paper across the vaginal opening and observe the quantity and consistency of the mucus.
Check your cervical position. As you approach ovulation, your cervix should be high, soft and open. After ovulation the cervix drops and becomes firm and closed. The difference can be compared to touching the tip of your nose (not fertile) to soft lips (fertile). Check around the same time every day. Squat, sit or place one leg on the bathtub. Insert your clean middle finger with trimmed nails into the vaginal opening. Squatting pushes the cervix closest to the vaginal opening.
Keep an eye for any symptoms during ovulation. Some women experience slight cramping (mittelschmerz) or spotting during ovulation, though it is not a common occurrence.