Signs to help you detect your ovulation
When it comes to getting pregnant, timing is everything. First, it’s essential to know your fertile days – when you are ovulating – to try for pregnancy. Generally, during each cycle your ovaries will release an egg that will live only about 12 to 24 hours, a very small window, during which it can be fertilized by the sperm. If sperm doesn’t reach the egg during those few hours, the egg is lost and expelled by the body shortly before or during menstruation.
So it’s critical to learn how to detect your fertile period when you are planning to conceive. On average, women ovulate 14 days before their next period begins. If you are “regular”, meaning that on average your cycles last the same number of days, this information will help you determine your most fertile period. If you have 28-day cycles, for instance, your fertile period would be between day 13 and 16. Ovulation would occur on day 14. If you have 30-day cycles, your most fertile period would occur between day 15 and 18. When your period begins, that is considered day 1.
Some women can easily sense when they are about to ovulate. Others aren’t so lucky. So it’s best to learn to read your body’s signals. One signal many women look for just before they ovulate is heavier cervical mucus, which helps the sperm move and survive in the woman’s body for several days.
The Ovulation Calendar by TodoBebe can help you determine the best days in your cycle to try for pregnancy. It is also a good idea to pay attention to your body.
These are some common signs of fertility, though they may not apply to everyone:
- Mild ovarian pain that lasts about 24 hours. In German, this pain is called “mittelschmerz” (mid-cycle pain).
- Clear and stretchy vaginal mucus that resembles raw egg whites. To test it, take a small amount of mucus in between your thumb and index finger. If you can stretch it without breaking it, it could be a sign you are ovulating. If it breaks, it’s not that fertile mucus you are looking for.
- Increased breast tenderness.
- A slightly raised body temperature. Some women find it helpful to take their basal temperature (taken while still in bed, before any morning activities) throughout the month. When you detect that slight rise in temperature, it’s a sign you have ovulated. If your basal temperature stays high for more than 17 days, that’s a sign of pregnancy.
- Increased sexual desire and more energy in general.
You can also invest in over-the-counter urine tests that detect ovulation. They are similar to home pregnancy tests, but the critical difference is that they detect the LH hormone, which is present when the ovaries release an egg. If used according to package directions, these tests are quite effective. However, regular use can get costly since a new package would need to be used each month.
It’s also important to note that not all women ovulate every cycle, which can be considered normal if it’s occasional. If you suspect that you haven’t ovulated for more than three cycles in a row, it’s time to consult a doctor. Without ovulation, pregnancy isn’t possible; and you and your doctor may need to consider medication to stimulate the ovaries.
Remember: Even during your fertile period, there is only a modest chance, about 20%, of getting pregnant. Many different factors influence conception, so try not to obsess over it. Take a reasonable amount of time (one year if you are under 35 and six months if you’re over 35) to try for pregnancy. Meanwhile, take vitamins with folic acid to help ensure that when you get your baby, he or she will be as healthy as possible.