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Ovulation and Your Fertility Window

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

Are you and your partner trying to get pregnant? Then there are certain key facts you need to be aware of. One of the major things you will need to monitor is your time of ovulation.



What is Ovulation?

Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is made available to be fertilized.

In normal circumstances, an egg matures within one of your ovaries every month. As it reaches maturity, the egg is released by the ovary, and it enters the fallopian tube to make its way towards waiting for sperm and the uterus. The lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for the fertilized egg. If no conception takes place, the uterine lining will be shed along with blood. The shedding of an unfertilized egg and the uterine wall is known as menstruation.

How can Ovulation be Tracked?

Your monthly cycle is measured from the first day of your menstrual period until the first day of your next period. A woman’s cycle normally is anywhere between 28-32 days; however, some women may have shorter or longer cycles.

Ovulation is usually calculated by starting with the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) or by calculating 12-16 days before the next expected period. Most women ovulate sometime between Day 11 and Day 21 of their cycle, counted from the first day of the LMP. This is what is referred to as the “fertile time” of a woman’s cycle. Sexual intercourse during this period ensures the best chance of getting pregnant.

It is important to remember that ovulation can occur at various times during your cycle and may even occur on a different day each month. Thus you need to track your cycle and identify your fertile time. There are a number of ways that you can monitor your peak fertile days.

How to Identify Signs of Ovulation?

Look out for these signs to identify your ovulation:

Rise in basal body temperature

Your basal body temperature or BBT fluctuates throughout your cycle as changes in hormone levels occur. Your BBT reaches its lowest point at ovulation. Then there is a slight rise in temperature, about a half a degree, after ovulation occurs.

Use a basal thermometer to record your temperature every morning and record it accurately. Make sure you do this before eating or drinking and ideally at the same time every morning.

Keep in mind that you need to chart your temperature for a few months, to identify a pattern to your cycle and estimate when you will next ovulate.

Monitor your menstrual cycles

Ovulation usually occurs 12-16 days before the start of your next menstrual cycle. So it is helpful to keep track of when your period usually starts and stops, as this will help you find your fertile period.

If you have a regular menstrual cycle you may be able to work out when you’re likely to ovulate but remember that cycles may vary from month to month. So avoid narrowing down the dates too much in case you calculate inaccurately.

Use an Ovulation-Prediction Kit

Another effective method of identifying your ovulation dates is to use an ovulation predictor test kit. This can zero in on the date of ovulation 12 to 24 hours in advance by looking at certain hormone levels. These work by testing your urine and giving you instant results. They are available at medical stores or supermarkets or online and are simple to use.

Keep in mind that ovulation predictor kits may not be suitable if you have been diagnosed with a fertility problem that affects your menstrual cycle, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). As such conditions may affect your hormones, the test may not provide an accurate reading.

Monitor your Cervix

The feel of your cervix changes when you’re close to ovulation. At the beginning of a cycle, your cervix is low, firm and closed. But as ovulation approaches, it pulls back up, softens and opens a little, to let the sperm through on their way to their target. Check your cervix by putting a clean finger inside you. If it feels high and soft and not low and firm, you may be ovulating.

Another change is in your vaginal secretions. If you’re ovulating, your cervical mucus or vaginal discharge may appear clearer, thinner, and stretchy, like raw egg whites.

Other physical changes to look out for:

Other physical changes that accompany ovulation include breast tenderness, bloating, light spotting, and minor pain or cramping on one side of the lower abdomen. It’s not the most reliable way of predicting ovulation, but since several women get these symptoms when they ovulate, it could help you get to know your cycle.

Hopefully, these indicators will help you pinpoint your most fertile dates. However, remember that they are not 100% accurate, so consult your doctor if you feel you need some extra advice.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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