In fact, it is probably best NOT to follow a textbook since every woman is different, providing clues and cues along the way to give you a better understanding of what is happening within your reproductive system.
What Exactly is Ovulation?
Before you learn about the signs and symptoms of ovulation, you should know what ovulation entails and even how it happens month after month. Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is pushed from the ovary into the fallopian tube to make its way to the uterus, ultimately in hopes of fertilization with waiting for sperm. (American Pregnancy Association, 2016) This can take place even before a woman has experienced a period.
When Does Ovulation Occur?
This is the magic question on every woman’s mind whether trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid. The correct answer is that there is no set date. Ovulation dates can vary month to month as well, which you would usually see reflected in your cycle lengths since ovulation occurs 12-16 days before the start of your period. (American Pregnancy Association, 2016)
It is important to note that ovulation does not necessarily occur at the mid-point of your cycle as some textbooks will have you believe and some months you won’t ovulate at all, but may have signs that you did. These are called anovulatory cycles. (Miller, 2017)
Generally, ovulation could occur anywhere from cycle day 9 to 21 or later for very long cycles. Even with these numbers in mind, some women could possibly ovulate a few days earlier or later. Therefore, it is of great value to become familiar with these 7 signs of ovulation—especially if you are trying to conceive or avidly trying to avoid without birth control.
7 Signs and Symptoms Ovulation Has or Will Occur
1. Cervical Mucus is Stretchy and Clear
This sign of impending ovulation is an important one to watch for. You may notice it after using the bathroom and wiping as an almost egg-white discharge. This mucus is your body’s way of gearing up to ovulate. The “egg-white” cervical mucus you may be noticing is a perfect helper to get sperm in the right place to meet your egg.
You could experience one or two days of this type of mucus before it changes again, or you may have days of it. Every woman’s body is different. It is important to note that not all women get this type of mucus, it may be more watery—this is also normal. (Gurevich, 2017)
2. Rise in Basal Body Temperature
You will only be aware of this sign if you have been tracking your cycles by taking your temperature each morning before getting out of bed. You will also need to use a specific thermometer for the job—a basal thermometer.
If you have been tracking and charting since Day 1 of your cycle, you will notice a temperature spike once ovulation has already occurred and your temperature should stay elevated until your next period. This is called the luteal phase. Your temperature will only remain elevated if conception has occurred. (Parents Republic, 2017) This is by far the most reliable way to tell if you have ovulated and can easily be tracked through many free online apps and tracking programs.
3. Cramping or Pain in the Lower Abdomen
If you find you are experiencing a cramping or pain in the lower abdomen area and it lasts only a short while, this could be your signal that ovulation is about to or is just occurring. These pains are also called “Mittelschmerz” or middle pain. It is usually felt on one side and can range in intensity from mild to medium and very rarely unbearable. It also shouldn’t last more than a day, but usually only lasts for a few hours. Only about 20% of women will experience this sign of ovulation (Frederick B. Gaupp, 2016), however, so don’t be alarmed if you do not have middle pain.
4. Positive Ovulation Predictor Strip
Most women won’t use ovulation predictor kits (OPK’s) every month to predict their ovulation day, but they are especially helpful for women trying to conceive. These kits and strips can be bought in local stores and online. They measure the LH (luteinizing hormone) in your urine throughout the day.
They are to be used ideally mid-day staring about four days before your earliest known ovulation day. If both lines appear of equal boldness, the test is positive and tells you that ovulation should occur within 12-36 hours. (Ava Women, 2017)This doesn’t always mean that you will ovulate though, just that your body is preparing to do so.
5. Change in Cervical Position
If you aren’t squeamish and have no issue touching your own body from within, you can check and track your cervical position throughout the month. This helpful guide explains how to do it. You should check once a day around the same time every day. Around ovulation time, your cervix usually rises high up, almost out of reach and softens.
6. Heightened Sex Drive
Around the time your body is preparing to ovulate, you may notice an increase in your sex drive. This is believed to be due to increased levels of hormones that come with ovulation time. (Michael Castelman, 2015)There have been many studies to support this theory. It is almost nature’s way of trying to continue the species.
7. Ovulation Spotting/Mid-Cycle “Bleed”
Don’t be confused by the word “bleed” since ovulation spotting is exactly that—spotting. It should not be red in color like your period would be, but instead pink or brownish in color. (Ovulation-Calculator.com, 2017) You may notice a little mixed with your fertile cervical mucus. This is not a common occurrence and most women will never experience ovulation spotting. It may not occur every month, either, if you do experience it.
- American Pregnancy Association. (2016, October). Understanding Ovulation. Retrieved from American Pregnancy Association Promoting Wellness
- Ava Women. (2017). Ovulation Test: What is the Right Time to Take One? Retrieved from Ava Women
- Frederick B. Gaupp, M. (2016, November). Painful Ovulation (Mittelschmerz). Retrieved from eMedicine Health.com
- Gurevich, R. (2017, May 16). How to Check Cervical Mucus and Detect Ovulation. Retrieved from Verywell.com
- Michael Castelman, M. (2015, March 15). How the Menstrual Cycle Affects Women’s Libido. Retrieved from Psychology Today
- Miller, C. (2017). Anovulatory Cycles and Breakthrough Bleeding. Retrieved from Kindara
- Ovulation-Calculator.com. (2017). Ovulation Spotting as a Natural Fertility Sign. Retrieved from Ovulation-Calculator.com
- Parents Republic. (2017). When Do You Ovulate? The Complete Guide to Ovulation. Retrieved from Parents Republic:
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