Six Ways To Track Ovulation When Trying To Conceive
Whether you are looking forward to conceiving a baby or avoiding pregnancy, you must know when during your menstrual cycle you are most fertile. If you want to conceive, you can plan to have intercourse during this time to improve your odds of conception. Predict ovulation by using these six easy methods listed below.
You are the most fertile a few days before and after you ovulate. If you know when you are going to ovulate, you can easily predict this fertile window. That said, little outward signs exist that indicate ovulation. Hence, it can be difficult to know exactly when you have ovulated during your cycle and predict your fertility window.
Fortunately, there are ways to know exactly when you have ovulated and determine your fertility window. Before we could talk in detail about how to predict ovulation, we must refresh our knowledge about how ovulation occurs in the first place.
In this article, we discuss the methods that are commonly used to predict ovulation and determine your fertility window.
How does ovulation occur?
Ovulation is the term given to the phenomenon by which a mature egg is released from your ovary during your menstrual cycle. Once the egg is released after ovulation, it has about 24 hours to get fertilized by the sperm. If it fails to do so within this period, the egg will die off, and you will have to wait for the ovulation during your next menstrual cycle.
For most women with a menstrual cycle lasting 28 days, ovulation occurs around day 14, the middle of the cycle. However, no two women are the same, and neither are their menstrual cycles. It is common to have menstrual cycles lasting anywhere between 21 and 35 days. The time of ovulation, thus, will vary in women having cycles that are significantly longer or shorter than the standard 28 days.
Unlike men, who can produce sperm throughout their lives, women are born with all the eggs that they can produce, and only a fraction of these eggs will have a chance to be fertilized and lead to pregnancy.
Ovulation is a carefully orchestrated process of the menstrual cycle that is controlled by a battery of hormones. The menstrual cycle, in general, is controlled by hormones that are released by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.
The whole process starts with the hypothalamus releasing a hormone called the Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) that stimulates the pituitary to release Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Under the influence of these hormones, the female reproductive system undergoes changes that lead to the release of the egg and readies the body for the potential pregnancy.
The changing levels of these hormones trigger certain changes in your body, such as changing the colour and consistency of the mucus, changes to your basal body temperature, the composition of the electrolytes in your vagina, and saliva crystallization. These changes can be potentially used to determine the time of ovulation during your menstrual cycle.
The benefits of knowing your exact ovulation day
If you want to increase the odds of getting pregnant, it is important to have intercourse at the right time. As the egg viable over a 12-24 hour window post-ovulation, the sperm must be available at the right time to fertilize the egg. If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting pregnant, you should plan to have intercourse during your fertility window, which starts five days before ovulation and includes the day of ovulation and a day after.
Six ways to predict ovulation
If you are trying to conceive, there is a great benefit of knowing when you ovulate. But the question is, how can you tell exactly when it happens? Well, there are many ways by which you can accurately predict your ovulation day and detect your fertility window. You can opt for a method that suits your lifestyle and convenience.
Calendar method to predict ovulation
It is the easiest and most straightforward method of predicting ovulation. For a woman who has a 28-day long menstrual cycle, the ovulation, in all likelihood, will happen 14 days before her next period. therefore, you track your period for several months; you can get a fairly good idea of the average length of your period and, therefore, can predict when you are going to ovulate.
Although the calendar method is very easy and convenient, it is not the most reliable method of predicting ovulation. There are differences in the lengths of your menstrual cycle on a month-by-month basis as well, and it can be difficult to predict ovulation day with great accuracy. It takes diligent tracking of your menstrual cycle for over a year to be in a position to predict ovulation with some degree of accuracy. Other methods are far more accurate than the calendar method, but the convenience of this method makes it quite popular among women trying to get pregnant.
Basal Body Temperature Monitoring
The Basal Body Temperature of BBT is the temperature of your body when you are at rest. It is generally measured as soon as you wake up before you are up and about. Your basal body temperature rises by usually less than 0.5 degrees Celsius before you ovulate. If you keep a chart of your basal body temperature readings from every day of your menstrual cycle before ovulation, it can be predicted when you ovulate.
As with the calendar method, it is important to have baseline temperature readings to establish a ‘normal range. Another thing to be aware of is the fact that as the rise in temperature is only about 0.5 degrees celsius, you will need a special thermometer to observe it. Fertility2Family offers the best basal body thermometer that you can purchase at a reasonable price. It is laboratory tested to give you accurate readings of basal body temperature and hence allow you to predict your fertility window easily.
One potential problem with the basal body temperature method of ovulation prediction is that your basal body temperature can change due to reasons other than ovulation. Physical exercise, weather conditions, illness all can have a major influence on the basal body temperature.
Hormone Testing for ovulation prediction
Ovulation is triggered by a sudden release of a hormone called Luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. Luteinizing hormone suddenly increases in the blood, and a small amount is excreted in the urine. The excreted LH can be detected by home ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) to indicate ovulation. Fertility2Family offers one of the best OPKs in Australia that can accurately detect even the smallest amounts of LH in the urine. Our OPKs are laboratory tested and provide a reliable prediction of ovulation at a fraction of the cost. Using an ovulation test has been proven to be the most accurate and the least invasive way to detect your LH surge and therefore detect your peak fertile window.
Tracking cervical mucus changes to predict ovulation
Checking the colour and consistency of the cervical mucus to predict ovulation is quite a popular method of ovulation prediction. As you approach the day of ovulation, there are significant changes in the colour and the consistency of the cervical mucus. Right around ovulation, the cervical mucus appears clear and stretchy and resembles the texture of uncooked egg whites.
If you keep track of your cervical mucus’s nature, colour, and consistency throughout the cycle, you can notice these changes that happen around ovulation. As with the calendar method and the BBT method, consistent monitoring is the key to success. You need to make sure that you know how the mucus appears during most of your cycle so that you can observe the changes when they occur.
It can be difficult to observe any changes in the cervical mucus if you are starting. However, as you gain more and more experience, you will get better at it. If you want to know more about using this method, please check out our article on how to check your cervix at home
Saliva crystallization to track ovulation
It is a method of ovulation prediction that involves observing your saliva under a microscope. The principle is based on the fact that as you approach ovulation, the estrogen level in your body increases, and so does sodium level. An increased level of sodium causes crystallization or ‘ferning’ of your saliva. If you observe your saliva under the microscope, you can see the crystals forming that resemble the leaves of a fern (hence the term ferning).
As this method involves using a microscope, which is not available for everyone to use, it is a method that is not very popular. Besides, inferring any information from this test requires some degree of training. Suffice to say; it is not a method of choice of most women trying to conceive.
Tracking changes in the vagina electrolytes to track ovulation
Another method that requires a special instrument to predict ovulation. The method is based on the fact that the electrolyte balance of your vagina will change during ovulation. The method involves tracking the electrolyte composition of your cervical mucus throughout your menstrual cycle using a piece of special monitoring equipment.
The last three methods discussed are called secondary methods, as they predict ovulation based on your body’s response to increased estrogen. As many factors influence the body’s response to estrogen, the secondary methods are not particularly reliable compared to the hormone method.
Best Way to Predict Ovulation When Trying to Conceive?
The best way to predict ovulation is the one that is most suited for your personal needs and goals. Hormone testing is one of the easiest and fastest methods to predict ovulation for women who are seriously thinking of getting pregnant. Fertility2Family ovulation tests (OPKs) are fast, reliable, and cheap that can be conveniently used at home to predict ovulation accurately.
The calendar and the cervical mucus methods are also good if you are prepared to have a meticulous record of your observations. Both ways can help keep tabs on your general reproductive health apart from being good methods to predict ovulation.