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The Key Signs of Ovulation

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Knowing when you are most fertile is one of the best ways to increase your chances of conceiving a child (or avoiding conception, if you prefer!). Since you are most fertile when ovulation occurs, it is helpful to learn the signs and symptoms of ovulation so you can time intercourse appropriately.

Understanding Ovulation

Ovulation refers to the process of the ovaries releasing eggs. Normally, one ovary releases one egg every months - around mid-cycle. For women with 28-day cycles, ovulation occurs around Day 14.

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Your date of ovulation may be sooner or later than that depending on the length of your cycle. Eggs start ripening at the beginning of every menstrual cycle. When an egg is fully ripe, it bursts from the ovary and travels down the nearby fallopian tube where it awaits fertilization.

Natural Signs Of Ovulation

Figuring out when ovulation occurs is fairly easy to do once you know what to look for and are familiar with your body. Changes in the body let you know that you've got an egg ready and waiting. Here are some signs of ovulation:

  • Change in Cervical Mucus. A woman's cervix produces mucus all the time. But have you ever noticed the changes this mucus goes through as the month goes on? It does change and there's a reason for this.As you approach ovulation, the mucus becomes thinner and stretchier and there's more of it. It's easier for sperm to travel in the thin and slippery mucus, increasing the chances that they'll make it into your womb, find the egg and fertilize it. Take a good look at your mucus this month, around mid-cycle you'll find it to be much like egg whites. When it is, you're likely ovulating.

  • Abdominal Pain. Some women can actually feel themselves ovulate, or release an egg. This manifests as pain in the abdomen, usually on one side or the other depending on which ovary has released the egg, or even low back pain. The pain may be crampy, dull and achy or a sharp stabbing pain. It goes away quickly once ovulation occurs.

  • Change in the Cervix. If you're familiar with the feel of your cervix (or don't mind learning) you can track changes in the cervix to figure out if you're ovulating. Normally the cervix is hard, closed, dry and sits lower in the vagina. Around ovulation, it gets wetter, softer, more open, and sits higher in the vagina. You'll need to use your fingers to get used to how the cervix feels. Once you do that, you can check it around mid-cycle and gauge whether or not ovulation is likely.

  • Breast Tenderness. Sore, tingly, or tender breasts are another sign of ovulation on the way. Blame it on the higher levels of estrogen that occur before ovulation.

  • Spotting. Once you've ovulated, you may spot. This time it is the drop in estrogen in the uterus that is the cause.

  • Basal Body Temperature Changes. A woman's body temperature rises around the time of ovulation. Tracking temperature chances in the body with a basal body thermometer can help you pinpoint ovulation.

Testing and Kits

Ovulation can also be tracked and tested with kits available at any pharmacy. These kits track levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). When ovulation is about to take place, LH levels surge.

 
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