How To Track Ovulation For Conception
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How To Track Ovulation For Conception

From ovulation predictor kits to old-fashioned charting, there are several ways to track ovulation for conception. Read on to find out more about fertility awareness and how to track ovulation for pregnancy.

Understanding when your fertile window occurs and the symptoms of ovulation to look out for can be extremely helpful when you're trying to get pregnant.

If you're trying to grow your family, you'll want to make sure you're familiar with how to track ovulation. Ovulation schedules vary among women, but there are many ways to recognize the signs of ovulation so you can predict the best time to get pregnant. Even if you're not trying to get pregnant and want to practice family planning, it's important to know how to predict ovulation. This can help women better understand their menstrual cycle length, and identify any abnormal signs and symptoms down the road. Tracking ovulation is a great way to practice not getting pregnant, too.

Read on to find out more about the signs of ovulation, common symptoms that can be an ovulation predictor, and how ovulation is important when trying to conceive.

Ovulation: The basics. 

Woman Calculating Menstrual Cycle Using Mobile App

Most women of childbearing age have a menstrual cycle that lasts between 28-32 days. Typically ovulation takes place between days 10 and 19 of the cycle. The timing of ovulation can vary greatly between women, and it is important that women become familiar with their body's menstrual patterns for several months before trying to get pregnant.

Ovulation can be irregular depending on a number of factors, including menopause, birth control use, disorders such as PCOS, using certain medications, and chemotherapy. Lifestyle factors such as significant stress of weight changes can also impact ovulation.

Once the mature egg is released from the surface of the ovary, it can be fertilized for about 24 hours. Timing intercourse doesn't have to be exact, because you'll experience a "fertile window" in your cycle, which is about five days before ovulation up to the day of ovulation. Women are most fertile two or three days before ovulation as well as the actual ovulation day.

What are some common signs of ovulation?

1. Changes in cervical mucus

Cervical mucus and vaginal discharge can change over the course of menstrual cycles. As a woman nears the day of ovulation, her body produces more estrogen, and cervical mucus becomes stretchy and clear, resembling raw egg whites. This mucus helps the sperm reach the egg when trying for pregnancy.

These changes happen in most women. Women should pay attention to changes during their monthly cycle, checking for mucus consistency and vaginal mucus changes that can predict when she will most likely ovulate.

2. Heightened senses

For many women, her sense of smell changes during her typical menstrual cycle. In her fertile phase, her body is designed to be more attracted to the male pheromone androstenone. Some women even report changes in their sense of taste.

3. Breast tenderness

One fertility awareness method involves paying attention to breast changes. Tender, sore breasts or nipples can be a common sign of ovulation. This occurs due to the rush of hormones entering the body before and after ovulation.

4. Pelvic pain or lower abdominal pain

Some women can actually feel when ovulation occurs, and this can help her understand her fertile days. Typically, ovulation presents as a mild ache or pain in the lower abdomen, typically on one side. It can feel like a dull cramp or a sharp pain when the ovary is releasing an egg. Women might also experience vaginal discharge or bleeding.

There isn't a need to worry about ovulation pain. Over-the-counter medication can be taken for any aches and pains. Sometimes, doctors need to be consulted to rule out endometriosis or ovarian cysts.

Ovulation pain indicates when an egg is being released, but there is no guarantee that it will be fertilized during that menstrual cycle. You can also still be fertile without feeling pain, so this isn't one of the best fertility awareness-based methods. It can be useful when analyzing your average cycle length.

5. Light spotting or discharge

Ovulation can cause discharge of cervical mucus, or even brown discharge or light splitting. If you experience extreme changes in discharge, see a doctor to be assessed for reproductive health and rule out sexually transmitted infections.

6. Changes in libido

Libido changes are a common ovulation symptom. Many women report that their sex drive increases during ovulation, but this isn't true for everyone.

7. Cervical changes

During ovulation, the cervix becomes higher, softer, and more open. Women can do a self-exam or see a doctor to assess changes in the cervix. Right before ovulation, the cervix will feel softer, and after ovulation, it will feel harder. An OB can provide advice on how to safely do self-exams at home.

8. Nausea and headaches

When the ovaries release eggs, sometimes it can cause other symptoms like nausea, soreness, and headaches. These side effects are due to the change in estrogen and progesterone levels.

9. Changes in basal body temperature

Basal body temperature changes are a sign of ovulation. The basal body temperature will rise during ovulation and stay elevated.

When should you start tracking ovulation?

Predicting ovulation can be tricky, but ovulation typically occurs around day 14 of a woman's menstrual cycle. For women with regular cycles (about 28 days), ovulation tracking should begin at around cycle day 10. Keeping an ovulation calendar can be a helpful tool when trying to conceive.

How long will it take to ovulate? For many women, it can be difficult to time their periods, especially if they don't have regular cycles. It can be helpful to track your ovulation period over several months to get to know your body's unique pattern and symptoms.

Generally, women ovulate at about the same time if they have regular cycles (around day 14).

How can you keep track of your fertility when trying to conceive?

The best way to track ovulation is to recognize your body's natural rhythm and patterns, and determine when your fertile window occurs. In a typical 28-day cycle, the fertile days are usually observed between day 10 and day 17.

Using ovulation predictor kits and other methods can greatly increase a woman's chances of getting pregnant. She can learn when her fertile window occurs each month and get pregnant more easily.

What are some ways to track ovulation to figure out when you're most likely to get pregnant? 

Positive pregnancy test with circling date in calendar. Planning of pregnancy, trying to have baby.

There are a few ways to track ovulation for fertility awareness. Here are three methods that are commonly used to track ovulation.

1. Basal body temperature monitoring

The basal body temperature method (BBT) requires understanding the temperature of your body at rest. At the beginning of your cycle, the basal body temperature remains consistent (97.2-97.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The closer you get to ovulation day, the basal body temperature method will show a slight dip followed by a sharp increase. This occurs just after ovulation.

Track your fertility window by keeping a log of your basal body temperature over several months. Buy a digital thermometer designed for basal body tracking. From day to day, your basal body temperature can fluctuate, but a sustained rise points to ovulation. You can use a period tracking app to record your basal body temperature as well.

2. The menstrual charting method

Another easy way to track ovulation is to record when your period starts and ends, over a time span of several months. If you have normal cycles, you probably ovulate regularly around the midway point, about 14 days before the next period starts.

Write about any signs of ovulation: cramps, increasing cervical mucus, breast soreness, water retention and bloating, appetite changes, or mood changes.

3. Buy an ovulation kit

Over-the-counter ovulation predictor kits are easy to find. They measure a woman's level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in urine. These kits work well because the ovulation predictor test predicts ovulation, which usually occurs 10-12 hours after luteinizing hormone peaks (on days 14-15 of the menstrual pattern). It is considered normal for LH to stay elevated for 14-27 hours to allow for the egg to fully mature.

A positive result on an ovulation predictor test is one where the color of the line matches the shade shown in the instructions. That means the ovulation period will happen within a few days. If your cycle is regular, keeping a chart can help identify the optimal window for ovulation.

4. Using a fertility monitor

Ovulation predictor kits can predict when ovulation is likely to occur, but a fertility monitor can show a five-day period of a fertile window. This monitor measures LH and estrogen levels to identify two peak fertile days, and 1-5 days leading up to them. These monitors are more expensive than ovulation kits, but they can provide very useful information if you're looking for an accurate ovulation calculator.

What about the calendar method? 

couple having an intimate conversation

If you have regular cycles, it can be easier to predict ovulation. The calendar method uses the standard length of menstruation and the date of your last period to determine the day of ovulation. This method assumes that the average length of a woman's cycle is about 22-34 days long, so ovulation is most likely to occur in the middle, around day 14. You are likely to get pregnant around this time in your cycle.

What about saliva tests?

Saliva ferning tests can detect changes during ovulation. Saliva is looked at via a microscope, and if crystal formation is observed, it means ovulation will begin soon. Saliva changes can accurately detect ovulation.

Tracking ovulation is important for couples who are trying for pregnancy. 

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Whether you're practicing natural family planning or trying to conceive, it's important to understand a woman's menstrual cycle and the changes that occur over the course of her cycle. Knowing ovulation timing can help with overall well-being when trying to get pregnant, as you become more likely to conceive when you track your body's natural patterns. 

Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez

I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.

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