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How to Know When You're Ovulating

A blog by Dr. John Zhang, New Hope Fertility, December 22, 2015

Ovulation is one of the most important things to know about when trying to conceive. The window of opportunity for getting pregnant during a cycle is very small. A woman is only able to become pregnant the 24 hour period after she ovulates. After that, the egg is unable to survive. Being able to tell you're ovulating can provide the information you need to become pregnant.

Ovulation Timing Explained
A woman’s body releases an egg once per menstrual cycle. While cycle length varies between women, just about everyone ovulates 14 days prior to the beginning of her next cycle. For women with regular cycles – regardless of length – this information can help to time intercourse. Women with irregular cycles will have difficulty using this tracking method due to the flexibility of their cycle.

Thankfully, there are a number of more accurate ways to determine when ovulation will occur.

Tracking Ovulation
There are a number of ways to determine when a woman is ovulating in order to time intercourse:

  • Ovulation Predictor Kits – Similar to pregnancy tests, ovulation predictor kits monitor hormone levels in a woman’s urine. Before ovulation occurs, a women experiences a surge in LH, luteinizing hormone. Once the surge is detected, the kit provides a positive response, notifying women if they are entering their fertile period.
  • Basal Body Temperature – The basal body temperature is the temperature of your body at rest. In order to monitor this temperature, you will need a special, extremely sensitive basal body thermometer. Then, you will need to take your temperature every morning immediately upon waking. Ovulation causes a rise in body temperature. Charting will allow you to see when that temperature occurs in order to target intercourse.
  • Cervical Mucus – A woman’s cervical mucus changes during her menstrual cycle. Immediately before ovulation occurs, the cervical mucus will become clear and have a consistency that is like that of egg whites.

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