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I get a lot of questions on Instagram about getting pregnant but one that keeps coming up, again and again, is how do I know when I’m ovulating? So here are 8 signs that may indicate that you are ovulating.
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is the phase in your menstrual cycle usually 12 to 16 days before your next period starts. When the egg is released from the ovary, it will then begin its journey through the fallopian tube and towards the uterus. If the egg is fertilized by sperm, it will implant into the lining of the uterus. If this happens, pregnancy will occur. If it does not happen, your uterus will shed its lining and you will have a period, and your cycle will begin again.
How does ovulation happen?
As you approach ovulation, your body produces increasing amounts of a hormone called estrogen this causes the lining of your uterus to thicken and helps create a sperm friendly environment. These high estrogen levels trigger a sudden increase in another hormone called luteinising hormone (LH). The ‘LH’ surge causes the release of the mature egg from the ovary – this is ovulation.
Ovulation normally occurs 24 to 36 hours after the LH surge. The egg can only be fertilised for up to 24 hours after ovulation. If it isn’t fertilised the lining of the womb is shed your period begins.
How To Predict Ovulation
Whether you’re trying to conceive or just want to get to know your body’s signs of ovulation, these indicators, including at-home tests, can help you predict when you’re going to ovulate.
Basal Body Temperature Increase
One of the ways to determine when and if ovulation has happened is by tracking your basal body temperature with a digital thermometer designed for basal body (you can get one online this is the one I use or you can get one from your local drugstore).
At the beginning of your cycle your basal body temperature remains fairly consistent and averages between 36.1°C and 36.4°C. As you get closer to ovulation there is a slight dip in your temperature followed by a sharp increase typically of about 0.5 to 1.0 degrees, just after ovulation however by the time this happens ovulation often has already occurred, so to be sure you don’t miss your chances of getting pregnant you should use this method alongside other ways to determine ovulation.
Ovulation Prediction kits
Ovulation predictor kits measure your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which can be detected in your urine. These kits work because ovulation typically hits about 10 to 12 hours after LH peaks. Your LH concentration should stay elevated for 14 to 27 hours to allow for full maturation of the egg.
You can buy ovulation tests from your local supermarket or drugstore although I find these only come with about 5 tests so a money-saving hack is to buy ovulation tests online in bulk. Most women use the test strips from cycle day 9 and then when they see the line is getting darker they use Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test Kit or Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test Kit. To confirm their positive result they got with the test strips.
Symptoms And Signs Of Ovulation?
Before and during ovulation you may experience some symptoms of ovulation—including breast tenderness, moodiness or headaches, but if you don’t notice any ovulation symptoms, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you’re not ovulating. By learning to recognize the common signs of ovulation listed below, it could help you predict when ovulation is likely to occur.
Cervical Mucus Changes
At the beginning of your cycle, your cervical mucus will be dry or non-existent. When you are getting closer to ovulation your body produces more estrogen If it’s sticky and stretchy or very wet and slippery, that’s a good sign that you’re in a fertile phase.
Similar to when you are getting your period, your breasts may feel tender to the touch when ovulating. Although it can happen before ovulation, other women experience breast tenderness during the ovulation period or even for a short time afterwards. Since breasts being tender can also be an early sign of being pregnant, breast tenderness is not the best ovulation symptom to rely on.
Some women can actually feel ovulation, however, this is only about 20% of women, so do not worry if you are not one of them.It typically feels like a mild ache or pain in the lower abdomen on one side or the other and can last between a few minutes and a few hours.
Spotting can occur during ovulation when the follicle releases the mature egg from the ovary a small amount of blood can be released and women may notice slight spotting during that time.
Increase Sex Drive
An increase in personal sex drive is a great natural indicator of ovulation for many women. Although this is not a guarantee, a number of research studies have shown many women experience a stronger sex drive around their ovulation time each month.
Nausea or Headaches
Hormone changes may also cause nausea or headaches around the time of ovulation.