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How Do I Know When I’m Ovulating?
The exact time when a woman ovulates depends on the length of her menstrual cycle . Women with a 28-day cycle generally ovulate around days 13 to 15.
Signs of Ovulation
Paying close attention to your body can provide helpful information regarding your ovulation. Examining your cervical mucus can also give information regarding ovulation. Before ovulation, your cervical mucus may be dry or sticky. Closer to ovulation, it may take on a creamier consistency. Right before ovulation, your cervical mucus may take on a slippery consistency similar to a raw egg white.
Your basal body temperature (BBT) can also tell you when ovulation is approaching. A special BBT thermometer can be used to measure your temperature to the tenth degree. An increase of about 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than your normal temperature can indicate ovulation.
There are also secondary signs of ovulation, which may not be present in all women in a consistent manner. These include slight spotting, abdominal pain, breast tenderness, bloating, and increased sex drive.
Charting Your Basal Body Temperature
Charting your BBT to detect ovulation is relatively easy. With your special BBT thermometer, take your temperature at the same time each morning and plot the temperature on a chart. You should take your temperature the first thing in the morning after you wake up, before you move around or begin speaking. Also, try to get up around the same time each morning, so your temperature readings can be as close in time as possible.
When you see a temperature increase of 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit, this can indicate ovulation. The shift in temperature should be the highest of the temperatures over the last six days.
After you chart your BBT for a few months, you should be able to see a pattern. This will allow you to plan the best days to have sex when trying to conceive.
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)
Ovulation predictor kits are at-home tests women can use to determine whether they are ovulating by checking their luteinizing hormone, which should surge sharply 12 to 48 hours before ovulation.
Unlike testing for basal body temperature, OPKs let a woman know in advance when she will ovulate, which allows her to plan intercourse accordingly. However, women who have irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or who take certain fertility drugs may experience misleading results.
The best time to have intercourse when using an OPK is the day of the LH surge and two days later. You may also want to consider having sex one day after that as well.
If you have been charting your basal body temperature and tracking ovulation, but still have not gotten pregnant, it may be time to see a fertility doctor. Current medical guidelines suggest that a woman under the age of 35 who has been trying to conceive for one year with well-timed intercourse, or a woman over the age of 35 who has been trying for six months without success should consult a fertility doctor.