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Ovulation. How do you know when you are experiencing it and what that means in your fertility journey. This article is a brief run down on ovulating – how to know for sure that you are experiencing it.
The first step to getting pregnant is to make sure the egg and sperm can meet. This can be trickier than it sounds. Your body usually gives you one egg each month, and it needs to be fertilized soon after it’s released. To boost your baby chances, it helps to know when your ovaries release the egg, called ovulation. Then you’ll know when you and your partner should be getting busy.
The good news is there are many ways you can tell if you’re ovulating.
Mark Your Calendar
Doctors say it’s best to have sex at least every other day, especially during the 5 days before you ovulate, also called your “fertile window.” Sperm can survive for a few days inside your body, so it’s ideal to have them already there waiting on your egg.
If your menstrual cycle lasts 28 days and your period arrives like clockwork, it’s very likely that you ovulate on day 14, halfway through your cycle, and your fertile window begins on day 10. You’re more likely to get pregnant if you have sex at least every other day between days 10 and 14 of a 28-day cycle.
Watch for Body Changes
Your hormone levels change throughout your menstrual cycle. During the first half, your ovaries give off the hormone estrogen. When your estrogen levels are high enough, your ovary releases an egg, and your body also starts to make progesterone, another hormone. It makes your body temperature rise slightly.
Try tracking your temperature every day before you get out of bed, called your basal body temperature. If you keep tabs over a few months, you may notice a pattern that can show you when you tend to ovulate and when your fertile window would be.
Your hormones also change the sticky fluid that comes from your cervix, the bottom of your uterus, called cervical mucus. As your body gets ready to ovulate, you have more of it, and it feels more stretchy and slippery, like raw egg whites. The texture helps sperm swim inside your body. When your mucus is thinner and stretchy, you should be in your fertile window.
Ovulation Predictor Kits
These tests, usually available in drugstores, can give you a more precise idea of when to expect your fertile window. They test your urine to measure your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which go up in the 24 to 36 hours before you ovulate.
The kits have enough test strips to let you check your LH levels several times during your menstrual cycle. Start testing a few days before you think you might ovulate, then repeat a few times over the next few days to pinpoint the exact day. When your LH levels are highest, you’re in the fertile window.
A Twinge of Pain
It’s possible to feel yourself ovulate, but many women don’t notice it. It feels like a slight pain in your side that happens halfway through your menstrual cycle. But if you’re trying to get pregnant, you probably shouldn’t wait for the twinge. It means your fertile window is closed.
Ask Your Doctor
Some women don’t ovulate on a set schedule. If you can’t figure out when it happens or if your menstrual cycle isn’t regular, ask your doctor for help.