If you’re trying to get pregnant, then, you need to know when you’re ovulating. Ovulation is simply the release of eggs from the ovaries. It occurs when an unfertilized egg is released from the ovary and travels through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. This is the stage of the menstrual cycle during which the egg will be available to be fertilized by sperm, for pregnancy to occur. 

When Does Ovulation Occur?
Ovulation predominantly occurs 14 days prior to the next period. 

Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation
Ovulation symptoms vary from woman to woman. Everybody is different. The most common symptoms of ovulation include the following: 

  • An increase in the production of estrogen. Estrogen causes the cervical mucus to become thick, clear, and stretchy, which enables the sperm to swim to the egg once it’s released during ovulation.
  • Breast tenderness or sensitivity due to the change in hormones before and after ovulation.
  • An Increased sense of smell in the second half of the cycle after ovulating in order to be more attracted to a male.
  • Experiencing light spotting or brown discharge. This occurs because, the follicle that surrounds and protects the egg may rupture, resulting in a small amount of bleeding. 
  • Higher sex drive (libido). 
  • In some cases, a mild ache or pain on one side of the pelvis known as Mittelschmerz or pain in the middle.

How Do I Calculate My Fertile Window?
Your fertile window is the day of your ovulation, usually, 10 to 14 days before your period begins. For instance, for an average 28-31 day cycle, your fertile window would be somewhere between days 14 and 17. In order to properly maximize this period, it‘s recommended you have sex a few days before ovulation because sperm can live in your body for up to five days, patiently waiting to meet the egg when it’s eventually released. You are most fertile the day before ovulation and the day of ovulation.
See the table below to calculate your most fertile days. You need to know the average length of your menstrual cycle.

Cycle Length (Days) Ovulation Occurs Most Fertile Days
22 Day 8 Days 6-8
23 Day 9 Days 7-9
24 Day 10 Days 8-10
25 Day 11 Days 9-11
26 Day 12 Days 10-12
27 Day 13 Days 11-13
28 Day 14 Days 12-14
29 Day 15 Days 13-15
30 Day 16 Days 14-16
31 Day 17 Days 15-17
32 Day 18 Days 16-18
33 Day 19 Days 17-19
34 Day 20 Days 18-20
35 Day 21 Days 19-21
36 Day 22 Days 20-22

Other Ways to Detect or Predict Ovulation

Basal Body Temperature
In order to get accurate results using your basal body temperature (BBT), you need to track your BBT for several months to notice the pattern in your hormonal fluctuations. Two or three days after you ovulate, your BBT should rise about 0.4 to 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit due to hormonal changes and stay that high during your period. To track your BBT, follow this step-by-step guide on how to chart your basal body temperature. 

Ovulation Kit
This is the most common method of calculating ovulation. You can purchase an ovulation kit at a pharmacy or grocery store. It is used to test your urine for increased levels of luteinizing hormone just before ovulation. Unlike other methods, ovulation kits can accurately predict ovulation 12 to 36 hours during the first month of using them.

Monitoring Cervical Mucus
Examining your cervical mucus can give you some indication of where you are in your cycle. The consistency and colour of vaginal discharge change over the course of a month, due to hormonal variations. Before ovulation, your vaginal discharge will become clear and develop the consistency of a raw egg white. You’re most fertile the last day or the day of ovulation you see mucus of this consistency.

Cervical Mucus Stages
After Period (1-3 days): Dry.
After Period (days 4-6): Sticky with white globs.
Before Ovulation (days 7-9): Thick, white or cloudy discharge. 
During Ovulation (days 10-14): Clear, stretchy, and slippery, like raw egg white.
After Ovulation: Thick and milky white or yellow.
Note, you are most fertile when you see clear slippery mucus similar to egg white. It means your ovulating.

What Is a Luteal Phase?
The luteal phase is the period between the second half of your menstrual cycle, starting at ovulation and ending with a new menstrual period or pregnancy. This is the time when three important hormones responsible for ovulation come into play. They include the following:

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
The pituitary glands release FSH into your bloodstream, which stimulates the ovarian follicles to produce estrogen, thereby producing a mature egg (or two in the case of twins).

Luteinizing hormone (LH)
LH is released into your bloodstream by the pituitary gland in response to the rising estrogen levels. This hormone triggers the ovarian follicle to release the egg(s) for possible fertilization.

Progesterone
As estrogen plunges with ovulation, progesterone rises in order to nourish and thicken your uterine lining in preparation for potential egg implantation. Your progesterone levels continue to rise if conception occurs.
On average, the luteal phase is 14 days long, which is half of an average 28-day cycle. 
If your luteal phase is less than 10 days, you should see a specialist to help boost your body’s progesterone production. An extremely short luteal phase may be unable to allow for fertilization to occur.

Can You Still Have a Period and Not Ovulate?
There’s a condition known as anovulation, where no ovulation occurs. This means that no egg is being released. It’s important you see a specialist if you’re concerned you may not be ovulating.

Is There a Way to Increase My Odds for a Girl or Boy?
Research shows that, under a microscope, male sperm tend to swim faster but also die sooner while female sperm swims slower but live longer. So, if you’re hoping to have a girl, you can increase the odds by having sex two to four days before you ovulate. On the other handhaving sex the day before or the day of ovulation may slightly increase your odds for having a baby boy; plan to have sex 24 hours before ovulation and the 12 hours after ovulation.

Remember, if your TTC sex shouldn’t just be about that most fertile week. It’s important to keep the connection alive and steamy all through the month so sex never feels like a chore. 

  • Quit smoking and slow down on drinking alcohol.
  • Focus on eating a nutritious balanced diet.
  • Limit your caffeine intake, if possible avoids caffeine.
  • Get your supplements right particularly folic acid.
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