Ovulation is the most fertile time of a woman's menstrual cycle. Every month, the ovary releases an egg (rarely more than one egg) as your body starts preparing for fertilization. In order to conceive or to avoid conception, for both, you need to know when do you ovulate and when you are most fertile. So, how do you know the exact day of ovulation? Before answering this question, here are some basic facts about ovulation.
Ovulation and Conception
A woman is most fertile during the days around ovulation. The functions of the ovaries include helping the egg or ovum to grow every month and release it when it reaches a certain size. The egg is then pushed into the fallopian tube toward the uterus. For conception to take place, there should be sexual intercourse during the period extending from one to two days before ovulation to 24 hours afterward. The sperm cells are found alive for 2-3 days, but the egg cannot survive for more than 24 hours after ovulation. This is considered the most fruitful time for fertilization to occur. Therefore, you need to know at what time you ovulate if you are interested in motherhood (to get pregnant soon), or even if you are not yet ready to be a mother (to avoid pregnancy). The following methods may help determine the time of ovulation:
To know the 'day on which ovulation takes place' is very easy if you count the days of your menstruation cycle. It is a well-established fact that the first day of a woman's period is 14 days after ovulation. It has been observed that the number of days between ovulation and the start of the next period is fairly consistent among all women. However, the opposite it not true. The number of days between the start of the period and the next ovulation will vary from woman to woman, or may even vary from month to month for the same woman.
So, though counting days of the cycle is the easiest of all the methods to know the exact day of ovulation, it is really a retrospective indicator, which can tell you when your last ovulation was. If your cycles are 'very regular', then this method can be used to predict the next ovulation. For example, if you have a perfect 30 day cycle, you will ovulate on day 16. Day 1 should be considered as the first day of your next period. Women whose cycles vary a little bit in length (a cycle of around 30 days or so), should also note down the first day of their periods for 3 consecutive cycles. From this information, they can get a pretty good idea of the week when they will be ovulating the next month. They can have or avoid sex during that week depending on whether they want to get pregnant or not. This method of counting days will not help those women who frequently have widely varying cycles. So, how do you know when you are ovulating if you have irregular periods?
The maintained records of the basal-body temperature can show a change in temperature that occurs after ovulation. This method also cannot predict when ovulation will occur in a given cycle. Nevertheless, if you take a look at the records from a few cycles, you will be able to notice a pattern from which ovulation can be anticipated. You are expected to prepare a chart for everyday body temperature. Remember, day one on the chart should be the first day of menstruation. Every morning, before getting out of bed or going to the bathroom, you are supposed to take your temperature and note it down in the chart. You may use a regular thermometer or a specially made basal-body thermometer. It is important that you use the same thermometer every day. You may also note down specific changes such as lack of sleep, drinking alcohol, fever, illness, or emotional stress. It will help describe the condition of any mucus or discharge.
You will be able to notice a rise of approximately 0.4-0.6 degrees Fahrenheit (about 0.2 degrees Celsius), just after ovulation. A slight rise in temperature can be observed on the day of ovulation, and for the following two days, there will be remarkable rise in temperature. It is possible that the rise on the day of ovulation may not be distinct, and you recognize it afterward when you observe an upward line for the next two days. You will notice that the post-ovulatory temperatures remain constant at this new, higher level until menses. Then they drop and start the cycle over again. This method will be useful only when you track several of your cycles. If your cycles are regular, then only you will be able to know the exact time of ovulation. For those having irregular cycles, this method can give them a general idea of whether they have a regular pattern to their cycles, and will also help them collect information that might be useful to their doctors if they have any trouble conceiving.
The consistency of the mucus secreted from the cervix changes during the cycle due to hormonal fluctuations. The following table will explain it clearly:
|Before Ovulation||Few days after menstruation, little or no discharge||Dryness around vulva||Usually not able to conceive, low chances|
|Approaching Ovulation||Moist, sticky, white or cream in color, mucus break easily when held between the fingers||With the advance of time, volume of the mucus increases.||Chance of pregnancy|
|Right Around Ovulation||Mucus resembles egg white. Thinnest, clearest and most abundant mucus, can be stretched quite a way when tested on fingers||Maximum amount of mucus||High chance of pregnancy|
|After Ovulation||Mucus returns to sticky stage, does not stretch||Dryness around vulva||Low chance of pregnancy|
To know your ovulation time after a miscarriage, again you need to follow the aforementioned methods. After a miscarriage, some women resume ovulating right away while some might take longer to begin ovulating again. So, you will have to track a few cycles, and with the help of the aforementioned methods, you will be able to know the exact day of ovulation. The signs of ovulation are easy to look for. By recording the necessary factors described above, you will be able to know the day of ovulation.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.