Many women are trying to get pregnant, while some are trying to avoid pregnancy all together. No matter what end of the situation you stand on, there is one time of the month for every woman that is extremely crucial in both cases: ovulation. For those of you who are not sure what that is, ovulation occurs once a month after one of your ovaries releases its most mature egg. Afterwards, if there is sperm inside, it will fertilize the egg before it travels to one of your fallopian tubes. But how do we know when we are ovulating? There are a few signs to look for.
During the non-fertile time in your cycle, your cervical mucus usually has a thick, sticky or pasty type of consistency. However, during your fertile window, which is approximately a total five days in the middle of your cycle, you will notice an increase in discharge.
On and around the day of ovulation, many women say they have more discharge than usual, and it is not as thick as when they are non-fertile. Also, around this time of the month discharge usually becomes more clear in color, and it is very stretchy.
This is so that it will help sperm reach their destination, whereas the sticky consistency of non-fertile mucus will try to block sperm. One way to check out what your cervical mucus looks like is to examine it on a piece of toilet paper. Another way to look at it is to gather a little bit on one of your fingers. This type is referred to as egg white cervical mucus.
Knowing where you are in your menstrual cycle will be a great help during this time as well. Women who have an average 28 day menstrual cycle will ovulate around days 12 and 14, so if you have a cycle that is approximately this length, there is a high chance that you will ovulate about two weeks before your period.
There are many great ways to track your cycle. You can use your own calendar, or you can choose from numerous apps that have ovulation and period trackers. While these apps are not always accurate as to when we will ovulate or start our menses, using them as well as doing other things will help you know when you are ovulating or going to ovulate. They can also be especially helpful to those of us who have longer or shorter menstrual cycles as well, because they allow us to put in symptoms we are feeling on certain days. They are also a great help in keeping track of our cervical mucus, because many of them allow users to add that information to their calendar.
Those who have been trying for some time to get pregnant more than likely know about temping. But if you are new to the game and just started trying to conceive, you might need a little help trying to figure out how to track your basal body temperature.
If you are just a day or two away from ovulation, you will most likely see a drop in your temperature. This doesn't last for long, though. After ovulation occurs, your temperature will rise higher than it was before, and it will stay that way for the next few days.
Tracking this is very useful as it is considered to be one of the more reliable signs of ovulation. As with the other things I have mentioned in this article, you can also track your basal body temperature with apps and websites, which will provide you will a great chart you can look at to see how your temperature shifts throughout your cycle.
A less obvious sign of fertility and ovulation is an increase in your sex drive. According to a study done in recent years, our sex drives increase and peak around that certain time of the month.
Researchers involved in the study looked at the relationship between sex and ovulation, and they discovered that we are 24% more likely to have sex in this time than in any other time in our cycles. Next time you notice that you feel like doing the deed with your partner more than usual, make sure to check your calendar to see if you might be close to ovulation, or even better, already doing it! While this may not be an obvious or reliable sign, if it occurs in addition to other signs on this list, the big day might be just around the corner.
Some, but not all women, notice that when they reach their fertile period their breasts might become a bit tender. Sometimes this is an overlooked symptom because many women also feel this before we are about to start our periods, and we are less likely to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us because we think it is just a premenstrual sign. However, tender breasts can be a great indicator of ovulation and fertility for some women.
This is caused by elevated levels of progesterone, which will last for a few days after ovulation, and maybe longer depending on if conception has occurred or not. Your breasts may also swell up a bit because the progesterone hormone causes our bodies to retain water to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy. If you find yourself suffering from mildly sore breasts, wearing a very supportive bra will help relieve some of the tenderness.
Something many women do not pay attention to unless they are trying to conceive a baby is the fact that the position of their cervix changes a few times throughout their cycle. If you are actively trying to have a child with your partner, you may want to begin checking your cervix, as it can be another good indicator of ovulation and, possibly, conception. During times when your fertility level is low and it is much less likely for you to conceive, your cervix will be hard, closed, and firm. It will also be low, so finding it with your fingers at this stage is considerably easy, depending on what position you are in when you are searching for it.
When ovulation is approaching, the cervix becomes higher and softer. It also opens up, allowing sperm to enter inside. At this point in your cycle, it will be harder to touch it as it rises.
This is not the case for all women, but some do say that they feel minor cramps on either their left or right sides for a brief time during ovulation. These cramps are also referred to as “Mittelschmerz,” a German word that means “mid pain.” Though some women do not get these cramps, others do, and this is usually not something to be very concerned about unless it gets so bad that you have trouble moving or staying in a certain position for any length of time.
This type of cramping occurs suddenly, and it is usually a dull pain that will not last long. While some cramping can be normal and not necessarily be the cause for any worrying, if you are experiencing very painful cramps during ovulation, this is not normal and you should pay a visit to your doctor.
While we are on the subject of mild pain and cramps, lets also discuss another area that may be affected by a slight unpleasant feeling during or right before ovulation. In some cases, women will notice that they feel a slight twinge here and there in their lower backs.
This should not worry you, however, because it does seem to be quite normal. Every body is different, and each of our bodies will react to things in different ways. Just the same as cramping in the stomach area, if you have dull back pain from ovulation it will most likely be on one side, which is the side you have ovulated on.
This sort of pain should not get severe, nor should it last long. Also, there are many ways to treat it, such as taking pain relievers or holding a warm water bottle against the area that is hurting.
Sometimes during that special time in the middle of our cycles, we experience what might seem like a small weight gain but in reality is just some extra bloating.
There are various reasons for this symptom. Bloating is caused when the hormones throughout our body change during ovulation, and some may even crave chips at this time, making the bloating worse due to more water retention in the body than normal. Bloating can happen anywhere in the body, and it can make your clothes and jewelry feel as though they no longer fit.
However, this is not something to stress about. If it is bloating due to your monthly ovulation, then it will not last very long, and should be gone within a couple of days. This bloating sensation can be fought by drinking more water, and continuing to exercise throughout this period of time.
You might notice a tiny bit of blood in your underwear or on a tissue when you wipe. Much like the other symptoms mentioned earlier, this is not usually something to have huge concerns about. As it turns out, a lot of women experience mid cycle spotting and bleeding!
This is known as ovulation bleeding, and some think it is caused by an egg bursting inside of one of the ovaries. Another possibility is that it may be caused by hormonal changes throughout the body. However, another reason for this type of bleeding may also implantation bleeding, which sometimes happens after a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. If you notice this, you might want to wait a few days and take a home pregnancy test, just in case.
While this type of bleeding can be normal, it should not become heavy. If the flow of the blood becomes heavy like your period, visit your doctor to get checked out and make sure that there is not an underlying cause.
If you are prone to having bad headaches or migraines, this may not be something that is terribly obvious. However, some do report having headaches and even migraines as a symptom of their ovulation coming.
This is one of the less common symptoms, and the cause is not yet clear. It is suggested that if you feel any of these pains, such as headaches, migraines, cramps, and others, during ovulation and it is accompanied by a fever, trouble breathing, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should visit your doctor.
Among the many other undesirable symptoms that can possibly come with ovulation, you might also notice a bit of nausea around the middle of your cycle. Some may or may not write this off as something as little as food not agreeing with them, being sick, or possibly something else.
However, next time, if you notice that are feeling a some mild nausea during this time in your cycle, and you also have some of the other signs on this list, you might want to consider that this may be a signal of up coming or current ovulation. Symptoms like this one can be pretty confusing not only because nausea can be the result of bad food, but it can also be morning sickness, which is a well known sign of early pregnancy. You may ease the nausea by drinking herbal teas, and cutting out certain foods from your diet.
You might notice another small change or two, physically, once you begin tracking your monthly cycle. In the middle of our menstrual cycles, sometimes we have to use a little extra facial cleanser, cream, soap and water, etc. then we usually do on our faces.
This is because sometimes the changing hormones in our bodies can cause pimples and acne to appear out of nowhere, and our skin might become more oily than usual. Again, this symptom is not usually a huge health concern, and does not normally last for a long period of time. In fact, there are many products you can buy that work quite well for treating these issues. While this is not a sure way to know you are ovulating, it can definitely be a symptom in some cases, and therefore should not be ignored.
Even if at this point you are not sure if you are really ovulating or not, there may be another part of your body that is trying to sniff out ovulation. If you guessed that this symptom has something to do with your nose, you are correct!
A study done in 2013 suggested that women who are cycling naturally (that means without any oral form of birth control) might have a stronger sense of smell during their fertile days than when they are at any other point in their cycles. The women involved in the study sniffed different scents that included the male pheromones androsterone and androstenone, as well as musk, rose, peppermint and lemon. According to the study, the participants who were not taking oral contraceptives were more sensitive to the pheromones and musk than the other women who were taking them.
This type of test looks for a rise in the luteinizing hormone, which is also known as LH. This hormone will almost always be detected in urine, so if you use a test that is not digital, there will always be a second line. Tests like these are only considered positive if the test line becomes as dark or darker than the control line within the testing time frame. The test will detect a surge of the luteinizing hormone approximately 24 to 48 hours before ovulation occurs.
To get the most accurate result, it is often advised that you take these tests at the same time each day, and don't take in a lot of fluids a few hours before taking the test. Also, because many women have different cycles and may not fit in to the average cycle length of 28 days, there is no exact way to know when to begin testing, so if you plan to use these, you may want to wait until you notice a change in your cervical mucus.