How to tell when you ovulate

Determining when you ovulate may be one the most helpful aspects of trying to conceive. Ovulation is a time when a woman’s body releases an egg from its follicle from one of the ovaries. This is one of the most important factors in concieving. The main function of the ovaries is to create hormones and grow, mature eggs to be released for a pregnancy. When your body is releasing an egg, you are ovulating. There are many hormonal and physical changes that occur during this period. Being of aware of these changes can help determine your fertile time and when intercourse is most likely to lead to conception.

These techniques are often known as fertility awareness methods. The fertility period lasts a total of 6 days, 5 days before ovulation and 24 hours after ovulation. The best chance to conceive within this fertility period is 1-2 days before ovulation.


Checking and monitoring your menstrual calendar

Keeping a calendar can help predict when you are ovulating. A typical menstrual cycle is 28 days and ovulation occurs on day 14. Mark your calendar as day 1 on the first day of your menstrual cycle and count out 14 days. This is the date that you will most likely be ovulating. 5 days prior to ovulation and 1 day after is considered the fertile time. Having intercourse during these days will help with your chances of conceiving.

Cervical mucus

Cervical mucus changes at different time during the menstrual cycle. Sometime the cervical mucous in whitish and thick.  During the time of ovulation this discharge becomes thin, clear and sticky . When the cervical mucus is very slippery, stretch and clear similar to egg white this indicates a very fertile period. It is when the cervical mucus is slippery that allows sperm to live longer and helps the sperm navigate the way to the egg. Ways to check the cervical mucus is with your fingers, after finding the fluid inside the lower end of the vagina, you should be able to tap your finger and thumb together and if the fluid stretches while you spread your finger this could mean that ovulation is near.

Basal body temperature

Monitoring your body temperature is another method to monitor if you are ovulating. This will require the use of basal thermometer. You will need to record your temperature first thing in the morning before you get up and before you start to eat and drink. After you ovulate your body temperature will rise and stay at a higher level for the rest of the ovulation cycle. You will need a very specific thermometer because you see a rise in temperature of 0.4-0.8 F (less than 1 degree). The typical electronic thermometer is typically not accurate enough to detect this slight rise in temperature. This rise in temperature will last approximately  for 3 consecutive days when you are ovulating.

Intercourse for trying to conceive

Having intercourse during the fertile periods is essential for conception. Most common this is on day 11-14 of a women’s 28 day menstrual cycle. However this can be difficult to tract or hard to determine when ovulation occurs. Sometime having intercourse between days 7-20 will be helpful in trying to concieve. Sperm can survive inside a womena’s body for up to 5 days, however a egg that is released only lives up to 12 hours and timing intercourse may be helpful for concieving.

Ovulation Predictor Kits

There are also some ovulation predictor kits that can be purchased over-the-counter and do not require a prescription. These kits check for the luteinizing hormone surge and look similar to a pregnancy test kit. You will need to urinate on the test stick, or place the stick into urine that has been collected into a sterile container. The test stick will turn a certain color or display a positive sign if a surge is detected. A positive test may indicate ovulation within the next 24-36 hours (this may differ according to kit type).

Other Tips to conceive

One tip is to have your partner abstain from ejaculation a few days prior to your fertility period. This can help build up the amount of sperm. Another tip is to have intercourse in varying positions. Many women have tilted cervix and you may not realize it. If your cervix is tilted upward and you have intercourse lying down it may be difficult for sperm to travel upward to the cervix. It may help if you change positions so that your cervix is tilted down and the sperm will have an easier time of traveling downward. Having intercourse on your hands and knees with your partner behind you can change the position of your cervix. Some lubricants can interfere with conception and you should avoid all lubricants and douches when trying to conceive.

Most importantly, if you are trying to conceive and have not after 6 months you may want to speak with your provider for consultation.

Common Questions about ovulation

  • Question: What is an ovulation test?
  • Answer: An ovulation test is often known as the ovulation predictor test or kit. 48 hours before you ovulate your body creates an increase the Luteinsing hormone and is detected in the urine. This indicates a time when you are close to ovulating and conception is more likely to occur if you have intercourse 2-3 days after a positive result. A negative result only means that you are not ovulating.
  • Question: I noticed some spotting when I was ovulating is this normal?
  • Answer: Yes, bleeding slightly during ovulation is a normal process. However, heavy bleeding is not.



Click here to see an ovulation calendar.