Tracking your ovulation isn’t just for those who are trying to get pregnant. It’s also helpful to track if you are trying to avoid pregnancy OR if you are navigating hormonal imbalance. Once you get the hang of tracking your ovulation you’ll find the symptoms aren’t hard to notice.
Ovulation occurs when an egg is released from the ovary and is ready for fertilization. Ideally if you are trying to achieve pregnancy, you’d want to time sexual intercourse in the day or two prior to ovulation to increase your odds of conception (1). Your body is most fertile in the days leading up to ovulation.
When do most women ovulate?
For most, ovulation takes place in the 2 weeks prior to your next period. If you have a shorter cycle, you’ll ovulate sooner (ex. day 10), if you have longer cycles your body ovulates later (ex. day 20). The fertile window of ovulation generally lasts 2-3 days.
Knowing this timeframe is not only helpful if you are trying to conceive (or avoid conceiving), but also helpful for following cycle syncing. The ovulatory stage of your cycle is when you typically have the most energy, feel the most extroverted & social, and communication is at its highest.
What to look for
The texture of your cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle. When you’re approaching ovulation, your cervical mucus changes to a slippery, raw egg-white consistency. (2). This high quality mucus helps sperm travel through the female reproductive system and makes sexual intercourse more pleasurable.
INCREASED SEX DRIVE
Since ovulation is when fertility is at its highest, it’s no surprise that a woman’s desire for sex is at its highest during this time too. It’s often said that women have a glow during ovulation. A woman’s pheromones (the way we smell) are more favorable during ovulation too.
If you find that your sex drive isn’t increased during ovulation, this could be due to stress or depression.
CHANGE IN BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE
The good old basal body temperature trick worked great for me when I was trying to get pregnant. Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your temp when your body is at rest. “After ovulation, progesterone levels rise in your body. The hormone progesterone causes your temperature to rise slightly. If you track your BBT, you can see when you ovulated.” (3)
Some things to note about tracking your BBT:
- Must be done first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. If you work night shift or have irregular sleep this won’t be nearly as accurate for you.
- Taking your BBT will help pinpoint cycle issues such as late ovulation or a luteal phase deficiency.
- Doing this won’t predict when your body will ovulate, it will tell you when your body as ALREADY ovulated. This helps you better predict ovulation for your next cycle.
- Input your BBT in a free app such as fertility friend. This helps you track and see how your temps change throughout the cycle. During the follicular phase and ovulation temps are lower, then they rise after ovulation until you get your period.
Mittelschmerz or “ovulation pain” is a surefire way to tell when your body is about to release an egg. It’s a pain in the lower abdomen that seems to occur mid-cycle, just before your body ovulates. This pain should not be long lasting, if it is that could be a sign of endometriosis.
Final thoughts on ovulation
If you are concerned that you are not ovulating or ovulating irregularly, consider seeing a doctor. A simple progesterone test and other bloodwork (as deemed necessary by your doctor) can help determine your hormonal health. Keep in mind that things such as illness, stress, anxiety/depression, poor self care can negatively impact your body’s sex hormones.