By Katie Musicco
It’s no longer a hush hush topic. In order to get pregnant we need to ovulate. The most amazing thing is that our body tells us when it’s happening (if all systems are ago, aka hormones)
According to a recent study at Yale up to 90% of woman don’t know the signs of ovulation. Can you believe that?! I was definitely in the dark for a lot of my adult life due to being on the Oral Contraceptive Pill for 10 years when these symptoms are put on hold! I had no idea what it was like to ovulate and was it a surprise when I decided to ditch the pill and go oh-natural.
Ovulation signs are the only way to be certain that you have ovulated. Although this is not a complete list, these 3 are the easiest to do at home and most reliable methods. Below we will discuss three obvious ovulation signs to watch out for when charting your cycle. You can chart you cycle in different ways. The easiest for most women is with a period tracking app on their phone. (Don’t have one yet? Download my favourite, the Period Tracker App. Grab it in the App Store on your phone after you finish reading this blog)
Some women believe that because they are getting a period, they are fertile. However, there is such as thing as an “anovulatory cycle”. These cycles appear to be normal, however, there is no ovulation. Anovulatory cycles are common. Yet persistent anovulatory cycles should be monitored as they can indicate other health issues.
WHAT IS OVULATION AND HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Before we dive into the 3 obvious signs of ovulation, it helps to know what ovulation actually is and what it means.
Every month, your body goes through a rhythmical cycle that is quite miraculous. On Day 1 of your period, your estrogen and progesterone levels are low, which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce FSH, or follicle stimulating hormone. FSH stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles, the fluid-filled sacs that contain your eggs.
The follicle releases estrogen to thicken the uterine lining in preparation for a potential pregnancy. Estrogen levels peak around ovulation, which triggers your pituitary gland to release LH or Luteinizing Hormone. For ovulation to occure LH has to tell your body to release usually one egg from your ovary. And just like that you have ovulated.
If there is no viable sperm to fertilize your egg, your hormone levels, namely estrogen and progesterone, plummet and your period begins once again.
This ovulation phenomenon only happens once a month, which means fertility has a limited window (though technically it is possible to get pregnant on your period, it’s not likely).
WHAT DOES CHARTING TELL US?
Charting our cycles will tell us whether our hormones are in the proper balance and will allow us to monitor our natural fertility. A blood test will show a snapshot of our hormones at one particular time. However, our personal fertility chart gives us a complete and unique monthly supply of information. In order to get pregnant naturally, we need to understand the obvious ovulation signs.
Okay, I know that seems like a lot to digest and you are anxious to know the signs of ovulation so that you can either get pregnant or delay it.
THE THREE OBVIOUS OVULATION SIGNS (that you can track at home)
Cervical Mucous Change
1. Body Temperature
Your basal body temperature (BBT) increases after you ovulate, and tracking this can be one way of verifying ovulation. If you perform BBT tracking every day, you should see an increase at least by 0.72 °F (0.4 °C) the day after you ovulate. You can track your cycle by taking your BBT every morning and recording it (written or in an app). Remember it’s important to take your temperature at the same time every day, right when you wake up and before getting out of bed.
2. Cervical Mucous Change
Just before ovulation occurs, the hormone estrogen leads to increased cervical mucus and changes it into a stretchy, viscous-like substance. This helps sperm survive and swim. After ovulation, the hormone progesterone causes cervical mucus to become sticky and thick.
It is normal for a woman to feel variations in her level of interest in sexual activity. A normal cycle of libido will flow with the changes in fertility. When a woman is ovulating she will be feeling her most drive for sexual activity. Again make note in your Cycle Tracking App when these days were.
These clues include variations in: body temperature; cervical positioning and mucous production; and changes in libido. When we monitor our cycles we can become intimately familiar with the timing of our ovulation. Cervical mucus and position changes, and basal body temperature changes are ovulation symptoms experienced by all women. You may or may not have other signs of ovulation, like breast tenderness or spotting but monitoring your body and tracking your ovulation with the help of an ovulation calculator is the easiest way to see when you’re at peak fertility.