12 ways to know when you are ovulating
Trying to conceive? Then it's crucial to know when you are ovulating. Find out what our expert has to share to help increase your chances of conceiving.
Each month, it is found that a healthy couple that isn’t using any protection, has about 20 percent chance of conceiving naturally. And that is a pretty good percentage since conceiving is only possible at the time of ovulation.
Read on to find out what ovulation is and how ovulation influences your pregnancy:
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is that time of the month (about 12 to 24 hours) during which the egg is ready for fertilisation by the sperm. Here, the eggs are released from the ovaries and this usually happens between two menstrual cycles. Understanding this cycle would help you to know when you are ovulating.
Each month, a woman’s ovaries activate almost 15 to 20 follicles (out of over a 1,000 potential follicles that could later become eggs). Out of these activated follicles, only one or two make it past the first stage and the rest get absorbed (or die). These eggs then travel through the fallopian tubes and reach the uterus. They are released randomly and not in any particular order.
Dr Shobha Gupta, medical director and IVF specialist at Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, Delhi, shares, “For women, ovulation is a common cause of infertility. There are many reasons that affect fertility. These could be thyroid, PCOS or PCOd (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) or PID (Pelvic Inflammatory disease). In some cases, women do not produce eggs, have endometriosis and/or maintain a sedentary lifestyle,” she says.
Influence of ovulation in pregnancy
If you are hoping to get pregnant, being aware of your ovulation cycles is of high importance as it is a key factor in affecting your probability of getting pregnant. Here’s what happens:
- In order to get pregnant, your eggs should meet the sperms at the fallopian tubes. But an egg can only survive for about 24 hours. This means that the egg(/s) and the sperms must meet in that window of opportunity.
- The good news is that sperms can survive for about seven days. So you don’t necessarily have to time sex during that one day. You actually have a window of six days to conceive.
Remember that this fertile window is five days before your date of ovulation. This way, if you have sex during that fertile period, your eggs can meet healthy sperms, thereby, increasing your chances of conception.
Check your fertility
Since you have now figured out that calculating your ovulation calendar can help you identify the best chance of getting pregnant. The question that arises next is how do you know when you are ovulating and are there any symptoms to identify ovulation.
The best way to begin this process is by noting the length of your menstrual cycle. Next, look out for signs of physical and hormonal changes in your body. You will be able to notice signs of fertility a few days before your menstrual cycle.
For instance, if you have a 28-day cycle, count the first day of your cycle as day one. Your fertile window will be around 12 to 17 days. However, if your cycle is irregular, then your fertile window could be a week earlier or later.
In case you are still confused about pinning down that one date, here are six symptoms or checks to look out for. These will help you know when you are ovulating.
#1: Keep a tab on the calendar
Ovulation usually occurs midway through an average monthly menstrual cycle of 28-days. These 28-days are counted from the first day of the period to the first day of the next period. Although this is the normal cycle, it could vary if you have irregular periods. Either way, maintaining a calendar will give you an idea of what’s normal for you.
#2: Understand your body
If you already know your body, you’d probably also know when you are ovulating. Just a few days before the menstrual cycle, you would feel cramps in your lower abdomen. Similarly, when the egg is released from the ovaries, you might be able to feel a slight tinge in your body, if you pay close attention. This phenomenon is called ‘middle pain.’
#3: Chart your body temperature
Another way to know when you are ovulating is by checking your basal body temperature (BBT). This is done with a basal body thermometer and is taken first thing in the morning. You will notice that during the first half of the cycle, the oestrogen levels will increase. This will result in the temperature being lower than normal.
During the second half of the cycle, progesterone levels will be high, thereby, increasing your body temperature. If you follow this calculation religiously, you will know when you are ovulating next. Dr Gupta of Mother’s Lap IFV Centre, Delhi, says, “Your temperature rises by roughly 0.5°C just after you ovulate. So charting your temperature over several cycles can help you pinpoint your fertile days.”
#4: Understand your cervix
Yet another way to know when you are ovulating is to study the position of your cervix. During the beginning of the cycle, the cervix (passage between vagina and uterus) is hard, low and almost closed. However, as ovulation approaches, it opens and softens in order to accommodate the sperms. If you test your cervix each day, you might be able to study it better overtime.
After your periods end, you will experience a dry spell. But as the cycle progresses, you will notice an increase in the amount of cloudy mucus. As you reach closer to ovulation, the mucus becomes more slippery and resembles an egg white. This is a sign of impending ovulation.
#5: Buy an ovulation kit
In case you do not intend on messing with your mucus, try buying an ovulation kit to know when you are ovulating. Ovulation kits are able to pinpoint at the exact period of the ovulation window. It checks the level of luteinizing hormone in the body. These are the final set of hormones to hit their peak before ovulation actually occurs. All you have to do is pee on a stick and you are good to go! Dr Gupta adds,
Ovulation kits are conveniently available at your personal care stores in Singapore and they require the use of urine or saliva for these tests. Some brands include Clearblue and housebrands by Guardian or Watsons.
#6: Take a saliva test
You could also try the saliva test. This identifies the level of oestrogen in your body as you near ovulation. A cost-efficient method, you have to check your saliva under a microscope to see if you can spot a fern-like structure. If you are able to make out a fern, then it means that you are ovulating.
Apart from these, Dr Gupta of Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, Delhi, lists six easier methods to identify if you are ovulating.
- Breast tenderness: If you experience a little bit of soreness in that area, you might be ovulating.
- Missed period: A missed period is one of the surest signs of pregnancy. If you’re usually pretty regular, and your period doesn’t start on time, you should take a pregnancy test before you notice any other signs.
- Frequent urination: From about six weeks of pregnancy, you may notice that you’re passing urine more often. This is because of a combination of pregnancy hormones, a larger volume of blood in your system, and your kidneys working extra hard.
- Mood swings: During pregnancy, your hormone levels are surging, as the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in your blood increases. These increased hormone levels can affect your mood. You might feel heightened emotions, both good and bad, or you might just feel more depressed or anxious than usual.
- Heightened sense of smell: “A recent study revealed that a woman’s sense of smell becomes more sensitive in the latter half of a normal menstruation cycle, as you near ovulation,” Says Dr Gupta. Women in this fertile phase are more likely to be attracted to male pheromone androstenone, which contributes to that strong smell.
- Light spots: You might see spotting or light bleeding when you ovulate. This is because dropping oestrogen levels can affect the lining of your womb.
You can try all these methods at home or through a medical practitioner’s help, but remember that patience and persistence is the key. Don’t pressurise yourself into having sex and do not forget that candle-lit dinner.
Enjoy the moment so you can just as easily enjoy your pregnancy!
Republished with permission from: theIndusparent