So you are trying to get pregnant. You first have to ask yourself – when do I ovulate? Knowing this will get the ball rolling, when it comes to conception timing is everything. You have to know when to baby dance. In this blog we are going to go through everything you need to know to give yourself the best chance of catching your most fertile days, timing correctly, and getting that BFP (big fat positive).
Ovulation – The Big Release
Ovulation is the time in your cycle when an egg is released from your ovaries. During the first part of your cycle, many immature eggs grow in follicles, but only one will actually drop. This mature egg will burst out on your day of ovulation and begins it floating journey, it only survives for about 12-24 hours.
Which Day Do I Ovulate?
First, you need to figure out your cycle length. Your cycle begins on the first day of your period, and ends the day before your period begins. The average cycle is 28 days. This is only an average, every woman is different, my cycle is typically 32 days long.
Ovulation typically occurs 12 to 14 days before your next period. That means in a 28-day cycle, on average, you will ovulate on cycle day 14. But if you have a longer cycle like I do then you will ovulate later. I usually ovulate around day 16 or 17.
Let’s Start Tracking
Is There An App For That? Why Yes There Is
A great place to start is with an app that allows you to log your period, daily symptoms, and helps you predict ovulation. I use the My Calendar app, it allows me to input my average cycle length and log symptoms (including cervical mucus), and you can input your ovulation predictor test results which we will talk about below. The app can make prediction for ovulation based on the info you provide.
A little advice though, don’t put all you eggs in one basket with the tracker app, these are all designed off of averages. However, I think it’s a great place to start. It will give you an idea of when your fertile window could be, which lets you know when to start baby dancing. It’s also a nice way to track your monthly cycle and start to notice patterns. It will keep it organized and all in one place.
What In The World Is OPKs?
(OPKs) are ovulation predictor kits which essentially are strips you dip in pee and it detects a surge of the LH (Luteinizing hormone) in your body. The LH hormone surges when your egg has reached a certain size, usually 24-48 hours before the egg burst and ovulation occurs. When you have a postive ovulation test, the test line will be as dark or darker than the control line.
When you use ovulation strips, you are looking for this surge to occur. When you have a positive ovulation test, you should be actively trying to get pregnant on that day, and for the next 3 to 4 days to be safe.
Generally, you want to be using your ovulation test strips every day after day 10 of your cycle until you get a positive result. The LH hormone builds up in your body throughout the day, so aim to take your tests in the late afternoon or evening.
I did not know anything about OPKs 8 years ago when I was trying to get pregnant with my daughter I use them now to really track my cycles. They pretty inexpensive also when is a good thing. You get them on Amazon.com and EBay.com. They really work for a lot of women! But here are some things to note about using them:
- Some women have very short LH surges that can be difficult to catch with just once daily ovulation testing.
- On the other hand, some women’s LH surges last a very long time, and can make it tricky to know if ovulation is actually imminent.
- If you drink a lot of water during the day, or don’t do a long enough “hold” before a test, it may be difficult to ever see a positive test.
Watch For EWCM
In combination with the OPKs, learning how to track your cervical mucus (CM) can be an easy and effective way to spot your fertile window. The right cervical mucus can be one of the clearest signs of ovulation before it happens which means you can time baby dancing perfectly. Though this method does not work for me as I do not have much EWCM around ovulation so I have to use Preseed when baby dancing around baby dancing to help the swimmers swim.
This is the typical progression of CM throughout your cycle:
- Right after your period: Dry or Absent CM
- Sticky Phase (not fertile)
- Creamy Phase (semi-fertile)
- Clear, ‘Egg White’ Phase: Fertile! Ovulation is coming in the next few days
- Dry again after you ovulate
This will vary from woman to woman depending on their cycle length. But on average, you can expect to see the ‘magic’ egg white cervical mucus between cycle days 10-14. This slippery CM will look like raw egg whites and when put between your fingers and pulled apart is the only type of CM that can stretch and stay intact.
Egg white cervical mucus usually begins 1-5 days before you ovulate. This type of cervical mucus creates a perfect environment for sperm to swim up to the egg. As soon as you notice this type of CM, it’s time to dance.
It’s Getting Hot In Here!!
Another way to track your cycle and figure out when you ovulate is by monitoring your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) with a Basal Thermometer. Your BBT is the lowest temperature your body reaches in a 24-hour period. The idea is that by taking your temperature every day, right when you wake up, you can find a spike in your basal temperature, which indicates ovulation has occurred. Take your temperature at the same time every day before you even step out of bed to do anything because any movement affects your temperature.
After your body releases an egg (ovulates) your BBT will rise due to a surge in the hormone progesterone. This is great because now you know what cycle day you ovulate on.
The only problem with this method is by the time you see the spike in your temperature that indicates ovulation, that confirms that your fertile window has ended. This is helpful, but remember if you want to conceive you should be having sex 3-5 days before your egg drops.
I personally recommend doing basal temperature monitoring in conjunction with OPKs and cervical mucus tracking, because alone, it’s just telling you when your window has ended.
Know Your Body
The above methods are really your best visual methods when it comes to tracking ovulation but your body will also let you know things are happening Knowing the following signs of ovulation can be helpful in confirming or reassuring results from a more reliable method like the ones detailed above.
- Heightened Sex Drive – You may feel an increase in sex drive on the days leading up to ovulation. Your body knows when it’s most fertile and is designed to reproduce. This is a big one for me 🙂
- Ovulation Pains – A feeling of achiness in your pelvic floor, hips and lower back could be a sign of ovulation. Typically, I will have dull aching on one side or the other, depending on which ovary released the egg.
- Light Spotting Or Brownish Discharge – Some women may see evidence of ovulation when they wipe or on their panty liner. This will not look like bleeding and would be very light. This may occur when the egg is released.
- Tender and Swollen Boobs – Due to fluctuations in hormones during ovulation, you may experience sore, tender, and swollen boobs as it approaches. This is also one for me, although my boobs usually hurt after I have ovulated.
Bottom Line – Timing Timing Timing
Timing really is everything when trying to get pregnant. With these 4 ways to track ovulation, you can get to know your body. Just relax and know that you are getting the timing right each month. For the best results, I wouldn’t just pick one method. Use these methods together to get a better idea about what’s going on in your body each month.
If anyone else has signs of ovulation that you experience that is not on this list, please leave them in the comments below.
As always, thank you for stopping by The Pregnancy Glow!!