What Exactly is Ovulation?
Ovulation is the fertile period of your menstrual cycle. Every month, a mature egg is released from one of your ovaries through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Contrary to popular belief, ovulation does not occur midway during the cycle. It varies from woman to woman. If you have a normal 28-32 day menstrual cycle, ovulation can occur anytime between the 11th and 21st days of your cycle.
Read: Ovulation Calculator
Why Is Important To Know About Ovulation?
If you’re planning on pregnancy, knowing your ovulation period will help boost your chances of conceiving. Having unprotected sex a couple of days before and after ovulation is the best time to get pregnant because the egg survives only for 12-24 hours after ovulation and it has to be fertilized by the sperm (which can live up to 3 days) within this period.
How Do You Know You Are Ovulating?
One of the ways of finding out when you are ovulating is by calculating the length of your menstrual cycle. If you’re having a regular cycle of 28 days, the 14 th day of your cycle is usually the day of ovulation. However, if your cycle is erratic, it may be difficult to pinpoint your ovulation date. If you have a rough idea of how long your cycle lasts, Mother’s Space’s ovulation calculator can help you find out the exact date for you.
Read: Early Pregnancy Tests
Body Changes That Signal Ovulation
It’s amazing how several bodily changes are triggered during the onset of ovulation. If you pay attention and spot these changes, it’s easy to pinpoint your fertile days.
Changes in cervical mucus: As you approach closer to your ovulation period, the cervical mucus changes in amount and texture. From being sticky and creamy it increases in volume and becomes transparent and slippery. It takes on a watery to raw-egg-white-like consistency, and stretches up to an inch or more between your fingers.
Rise in Basal Body Temperature: Tracking basal body temperature is one of the most popular methods to detect ovulation.
Basal body temperature is the temperature of your body at rest. Post ovulation your body temperature rises by about 0.4 to 1.0 degrees. This happens because releasing an egg stimulates the production of the hormone progesterone that raises body temperature.
Since the change is minimal, you won’t feel it. To detect the rise you need to record your temperature using a basal body temperature (BBT) thermometer every morning as soon as you wake up. A spike in indicates that you’ve ovulated.
Breast tenderness: Some women experience breast tenderness a few days before and after ovulation. This is related to a hormone surge in your body, preparing it for a potential pregnancy.
Here are some other signs that you may be ovulating. But these are generally not as reliable as the others.
- Increased libido
- Increased energy levels
- Spotting – spotting mid-way through your cycle is believed to be a result of the sudden drop of oestrogen prior to ovulation.
Other Ways Of Detecting Ovulation
Ovulation Predictor Kits: These are available at the local drug store and you can buy them off the counter without a doctor’s prescription. They detect a hormone surge in your urine just before ovulation. They’re easy to use and can predict ovulation 12 to 36 hours in advance and can help you maximize your chances of getting pregnant. However, they are not entirely foolproof, hence as a hormone surge can happen even when you’re not ovulating. So it could give you a false positive result.
To get accurate results, follow the directions on the kit to a ‘T’.
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.