Guest Blog by Phil Druce, Founder of Ovulation Calendar.
In order to truly understand ovulation, you must first have a basic understanding of the menstrual cycle.
Where ovulation falls in the menstrual cycle
There is no mistaking when you get your menstrual period. So, identifying the start of your cycle is easy. It is the first day of your menstrual period. Ovulation usually occurs 12 to 16 days before your next period.
Your actual fertile window will depend on a few things, including the length of your cycle. Your fertile window is only six days per cycle. The five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation.
The first part of your cycle, from menstruation to ovulation, is called the follicular phase. The phase after ovulation until the day before your next period is called the luteal phase. The follicular phase length can vary from cycle to cycle, but the luteal phase length is usually constant. Because normal cycles can vary from 21 to 35 days, it can be hard to know when you are going to ovulate based on cycle length alone. Other things, like stress, can impact your cycle too. So it’s good to know the signs of ovulation to be sure you can identify your fertile window.
The many symptoms of ovulation
There are many potential symptoms of ovulation, but not every woman experiences them all. Still, there are common symptoms that almost any woman can use to identify their fertile window.
Cervical Mucus – As your body’s hormone levels increase in preparation for ovulation, you will notice some changes in your cervical mucus. When you are not fertile, it will be dry or absent. When you are just starting to enter your fertile window, it will become sticky. When ovulation is imminent, your cervical mucus will be a creamy texture. And when you are finally at your most fertile, cervical mucus will resemble egg whites in consistency and texture.
SHOW – Cervical positioning also plays a role in your fertility. If you can feel your cervix as Soft, High, Open and Wet (SHOW), you are at your most fertile. When you are not in your fertile period, your cervix will be feel, low, closed and dry.
Other signs – As your body is preparing to ovulate, many changes may occur. You may experience spotting, heightened senses, ovulation pain, increased sexual desire or more. Click here to learn about all of the symptoms.
Other ways to detect ovulation
If you are having trouble checking for cervical changes and other symptoms, or if you want another way to identify ovulation, consider the follow methods:
Charting Basal Body Temperature (BBT) – Your BBT is your body’s lowest temperature, usually attained during sleep. Take your temperature with an accurate thermometer as soon as you wake up every day (before even sitting up). Due to hormones, your BBT changes during your cycle. Before ovulation when estrogen levels are high, your BBT remains low. After ovulation when progesterone levels are high, your BBT rises by about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Your temperature will remain elevated until your cycle ends.
Ovulation Prediction Kit (OPK) – These over-the-counter kits test your urine for an increase of luteinizing hormone (LH). When you see a positive result, your body is preparing to ovulate. These tests are very accurate, but it is also the most expensive way to track ovulation.
Saliva Ferning – This less-common way of predicting ovulation involves saliva and a microscope. Under a microscope, you will notice a ferning, or snowflake, pattern when you are preparing to ovulate.
Phil Druce launched OvulationCalendar.com after a personal family battle to get pregnant, Ovulation Calendar aims to provide the necessary tools and educational resources for those couples hoping to achieve a safe and healthy pregnancy.