Ovulation can be tricky to detect, for those who are unfamiliar with doing so. But to detect and understand ovulation, we need to be able to understand our cycles. You see, we all have a fertile window of only six days in every cycle, due to the fact that sperm can survive up to five days in optimal conditions, and your egg can survive up to 24 hours. Your most fertile days are the three days leading up to and including, your ovulation day.
When do you ovulate? Well, the short answer to this is that most women ovulate about 15 days before their next period. Your cycle is split into phases, and the length of the phase after ovulation until the day before the next period is normally somewhere between 12 and 16 days, and the average length is 14 days. The follicular phase begins on the first day of the period and ends on the day of ovulation, while the luteal phase begins the day after ovulation until the day before the next period.
The 15-day rule is purely based on averages, but once you know YOUR luteal phase, you will be able to calculate how many days before your next period you should ovulate.
There are three main signs of ovulation, and these signs are noticeable in almost every woman, as long as she takes the time and effort to look and learn about her body to recognize these signs. Learning about your body and how it works is key to learning about your ovulation signs and recognizing them, though!
9 There Are Main Signs: Change in Cervical Fluid
Cervical fluid that is 'egg white' in consistency is a sign that you are near ovulation, or that you are currently ovulating. All women will undoubtedly have their own type of cervical fluid, and not all fluid looks the same. Ovulation usually happens on the day where the woman has the most amount of wet fluid. There are products that are available to improve cervical fluid production if that is the issue.
The most notable purpose of this fluid is as a transport system of sorts. Sure, the sperm can get there easy enough on their own, but this fluid makes it much easier. It's like when you go to the store. Sure, you could walk... but it's much easier to hop in the car and drive.
The closer you get to ovulation, the more stringy your mucus will become. If you try and stretch it between your fingers, you'll be able to pull a string of a few inches before it breaks. Once ovulation occurs, you may get dry again, like you were at the beginning of the cycle, or you may have thicker, heavier discharge.
8 Change in Basal Body Temperature
Taking your BBT (Basal Body Temp) is easy with a special thermometer (yes, a basal body thermometer). Your BBT is the baseline reading you first get in the morning, after at least three - five hours of sleep and before you get out of bed, or even sit up. Your BBT changes all during the cycle as hormonal changes occur.
During the first half of the cycle, estrogen is the dominating hormone. During the second half, progesterone surges through the system after ovulation has occurred, which increases the body's temp as it gets the uterus ready for a fertilized, implantable egg. What does this mean?
Well, what it means is that your body temp will be lower during the first half of the month than the second, after you ovulate. Your BBT will reach its lowest point at ovulation and then rise dramatically as soon as ovulation occurs, about a half a degree. Remember that one month of charting your BBT is not going to enable you to predict the day you ovulate, but it will tell you that ovulation has occurred. Charting over the course of a few months, though, will help you see a pattern to your cycles, letting you predict when ovulation will occur in the future months.
7 Change of Cervical Position or Firmness
Your cervix will change somewhat as the process of ovulation occurs. When the body senses the hormone shift that indicates an egg is about to be released from an ovary, it begins readying itself for the massive horde of sperm that are coming, and tries to give the egg it's best chance at fertilization. How? The position of the cervix itself shifts.
At the beginning of the cycle, the cervix is low, hard, and closed, but as ovulation nears, it pulls up, softens a bit, and opens just a bit, enough to let the sperm in on their way to their target. Some women can sense these changes, some have more trouble.
Check your cervix daily, using one or two fingers, and keep a chart of your observations. To identify a fertile cervix, remember SHOW: Soft (more like an ear lobe) , High, Open, and Wet.
You'll probably need a few cycles to get the hang of it and understand all the variations and changes in the cervix, and that's ok. Just remember to check at the same time every day, so that you can notice the changes easier, and because the cervix doesn't stay in the same spot all day. And ALWAYS wash your hands before you check your cervix.
There is more you can do
There are other, secondary signs of ovulation that, without proper charting, can be mistaken for PMS or even implantation signs. Some women have these, others do not, others do and get them confused with their premenstrual symptoms.
Unfortunately, charting is the only way to be sure that any of these are coinciding with your ovulation, but, they are indeed signs of ovulation... if you know your body well enough to recognize them.
6 There Are Other Secondary Symptoms: Light Bleeding
Known as ovulation spotting, this is a very light bleeding that may accompany ovulation, but it can be easily missed and is a very uncommon fertility indicator. Unless you are charting and observing daily changes in cervical mucus, you may not even be aware of this secondary fertility sign.The source of this spotting is traced to the rupture of the ovarian follicle when an egg is released.
At this 'midcycle moment', a residual trace of blood may accompany ovulation when the hole that the egg escapes from inevitably ruptures. This should not be confused with implantation bleeding, which takes place a week after ovulation. This is not, again, one of the more common or reliable indicators of ovulation.
5 Slight Cramping or Pain on One Side of the Pelvis
Sometimes you can feel yourself ovulating, but many women don't notice it. If you do notice pain, it'll be like a light pain in your side that happens about midway through the menstrual cycle.If you're trying for a baby, though, don't wait for that twinge. The pain in ovulation means your fertile window is likely closed.
4 Breast Tenderness
You know the days where your boobs are heavy, achy, and sensitive, and all you want to do is rip your bra off and rub the soreness away? That time of the month when your breasts and nipples are tender is often due to a rush of hormones entering the body before and after ovulation.
Some women notice this tenderness, which is similar to the tenderness you feel during PMS, some don't. In either case, if you do notice tenderness, there's a good chance you are ovulating now, or you have recently.
3 Abdominal Bloating
Bloating during ovulation, especially in the lower abdominal region, is one of the indicators of ovulation. The degree of the bloating can vary from woman to woman, and this is also a positive indicator that you can conceive during this period. You may feel a mild pressure as a result of bloating. This is caused by salt consumption and salt retention, leading to that puffy feeling we call bloat.
Sometimes, the sensation is caused by gases filling up in the abdomen, and it may even be passed out of the body. Sometimes, it's water retention. Either way, it's an annoying sign that makes fitting into your favorite outfits more difficult.
2 Increased sex drive
You're feeling, and looking, more sexy, and you're all over him like white on rice. Your lips are fuller, your pupils dilated, and your skin softer. These subtle but sexy changes put you and your partner in the mood for babymaking.
And a recent study shows that men find women more attractive if they're nearing ovulation in their cycle, so... hormones? All I know, is that magical pheromone makes you and your partner ready to bow-chicka-wow-wow, and gets you primed to make a baby, pronto!
1 Heightened Sense of Smell, Taste, or Vision
You're on your partner to go take a shower more than recently, because out of nowhere, man, he stinks! Well, maybe not. Studies show that your senses become more sensitive in the last half of a normal cycle, as you near ovulation. Women in this fertile phase are more likely to be attracted to the male pheromone androstenone, which contributes to that BO smell your nose is wrinkling at.
An ovulation kit may be the answer
If all else fails, you can always buy an ovulation prediction kit (OPK), which will check your LH levels in your urine (if your kit is a urine kit, that is) and will tell you if you are having your LH surge that happens 24 - 36 hours before ovulation.
Traces of LH are in your urine at all times, so you have to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when it comes to reading the tests. You should also use the tests at the same time daily, for consistency, but make sure to again check the instructions to see what the manufacturer recommends.
You're looking for the very first positive result, so you need to begin testing before you think you will be fertile, and then test every day until you get a positive, to ensure you don't miss the LH surge. If you test too late, you may have missed the surge, and you may not be able to tell if you are about to ovulate or if you have already ovulated, as you can have an LH surge in both cases.
Either way, detecting ovulation will take practice, but it can be done and once you get the hang of it, it's actually rather easy. Just be sure to check daily and learn your cycle, because the more you know about your body and how it works, the better of a chance you have of figuring out your ovulation cycle and getting pregnant,
Good luck, in any case! Pregnancy can be a difficult thing to accomplish, but is can also be the most rewarding thing you ever do.