When Am I Ovulating? 5 Ways to Tell
The day you’re ovulating and the five days before are your best chances of getting pregnant. The problem is that it can be hard to tell when these days actually happen.
Since you only ovulate for about 24 hours each month, you need to recognize your fertility window and “act upon it” quickly.
Although there’s no 100% foolproof method to detecting the day you ovulate, there are a few signs to look out for. Following these tips below will give you the best chances of conceiving.
Ovulation Journal and Ovulation Apps
Before looking for the signs of ovulation, you should consider dedicating a journal to tracking your body’s changes. Noticing patterns in how your body changes from month to month will help you determine when you’re ovulating. It will also train your mind to notice even the subtle changes. Purchase a daily journal with enough space to make notes each day. Headings may include:
- Day of menstrual cycle
- Cervical mucus notes
- BBT notes
- Breast tenderness
- Other notes
Keeping this journal by your bedside may be the most convenient spot if you’re beginning each morning by checking your basal body temperature.
If it helps you to remember, set an alarm on your phone for the same time each day.
If you’re more of a digital person, you can store these notes on a journal/note-taking app on your phone. There are also many apps specifically designed to help you track your ovulation. To decide which one is right for you, consider which features you’ll actually use and which are just too complicated.
Some options include:
- Free Menstrual Calendar. This app tracks your cycle length, when you have sex, cervical fluid and temperature.
- Kindara. This app works with a thermometer called Wink, which syncs to the app. It helps you track your basal body temperature and cervical mucus.
- Fertility Friend. This advanced app gives you a more in-depth look at your cycle. The paid version also gives you access to message boards.
Signs of Ovulation: 5 Ways To Tell
When you get your period the signs are obvious: Cramps and bleeding. However, the signs of ovulation mostly go unnoticed. Since these changes are much more subtle, you’ll need to intentionally look for these signs and track them.
During your menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus changes. The days leading up to ovulation, your estrogen levels rise. This causes “fertile quality” mucus to develop, designed to protect the sperm as it travels through the reproductive tract.
When you’re not ovulating, your cervical mucus will be a whitish color. The days leading up to and including ovulation, you’ll notice this mucus change to a clear color. It will have a stretchy consistency similar to egg whites.
If you notice that you aren’t producing a lot of thin, egg-white-like mucus, it can hinder your fertility. To increase mucus, drink plenty of water and take a supplement to increase cervical mucus production, such as FertileCM.
How to track: Every day (except for the days you’re on your period) use a tissue to check any mucus in your vaginal opening. Record the color and texture in your ovulation journal. Although recording it every day may seem unnecessary, it will help you notice the subtle changes. Over time, you’ll begin to notice which changes signal you’re ovulating.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Tracking your basal body temperature over a few months may help you detect a pattern that will help you know when to have sex. Throughout your cycle, your BBT stays about the same. However, after ovulation, it will rise less than one degree. For the first few months, tracking your BBT will only let you know after you’ve ovulated. However, after a few months of looking for patterns, you may be able to predict when ovulation occurs.
How to track: First, you’ll need to purchase a basal thermometer. These devices detect even slight temperature changes and are available at most drugstores. It’s important to use the thermometer at the same time each morning, before you get out of bed or drink anything. If you don’t follow this, your reading will not be accurate. Write down your BBT each day in your ovulation journal. After a few months, see if you can notice a pattern. If you do, it will help you estimate when you’re ovulating next.
There are a few other signs that may let you know you’re ovulating. Although these changes are more subtle, if you look out for them, they may help you estimate the best time to conceive.
- Increased libido— Some women experience a surge in sexual desire around the time of ovulation.
- Cramping— Only about 20% of women experience stomach pain during ovulation.
- Breast tenderness— Similar to when you get your period, your breasts may become tender.
- Light spotting or discharge— Some women notice light spotting.
Since these changes can happen for a variety of reasons, they’re not a reliable predictor of ovulation. However, you may wish to track these symptoms in your fertility journal to see if you can spot a pattern. For example, if you notice breast tenderness around the same time that you notice your cervical mucus changing, it may be a good indicator that it’s time to get busy.
How to track: In your fertility journal, make space for an “other changes” category. Each day you’re not on your period, ask yourself if you’re experiencing the above symptoms. If so, record them. If you experience a change each month that isn’t listed above, still record it since signs can vary from woman to woman.
Tracking Your Own Ovulation
Some women find daily tracking too much effort and instead opt to find the days they’re most fertile—then get busy on each or most of those days. The block of days you’re most fertile is called your “fertility window.”
Ovulation generally occurs about halfway through your menstrual cycle. The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but can vary by woman between 23 and 35 days. You may even notice that your own cycle varies a bit month to month.
How to track: To find how long your cycle is, count from the first day of your period (day 1) to the first day of your next period (last day). If it takes you 28 days to get your next period, that means your cycle is 28 days long. To get an accurate result, track this for at least 3 months to find your average.
Next, subtract 18 from the number of days of your shortest cycle (Ex. 28-18=10).
Then, subtract 11 from the number of days of your longest cycle (ex. 30=11=19).
This means that having sex between day 10 and day 19 is your best chance at getting pregnant. You’re only fertile 6 days a month and ovulate for only one of those. However, this method of calculating your fertility window makes you less likely to accidently miss ovulation day.
You may also find that it’s easier to track your cycle with digital tools such as OvulationCalculator.com.
Ovulation Predictor Kit
Ovulation predictor kits can predict ovulation about 24 to 36 hours before it starts. Some women find tracking changes each day time consuming and would rather just spend the $30 to $50 each month on a kit.
There are two main types of ovulation predictor kits. The most common type detects hormones in your urine. The second detects salt levels in your saliva before you ovulate.
How to track: If you use a daily digital kit, such as First Response, it will come with 20 sticks to test your urine. The test will compare your hormone levels to previous days. Once the test reads “YES +” you will be ready to conceive within the next 2 or 3 days. For the test to be accurate, you need to make sure to do it daily and follow the instructions exactly.
Other ovulation predictor kits such as Clearblue test for a second hormone but only come with 10 sticks.
More Fertility Help
If you’re looking to conceive quick, consider reading some of our other fertility guides:
- Alcohol and Conception: Should You Stop Drinking?
- Fertility Smoothies: 8 Recipes
- 9 Ways to De-stress While Trying to Conceive
- Trying to Conceive with Irregular Periods? Here’s How
- When to see a Fertility Doctor
- 7 Fertility Boosting Vitamins & Nutrients
- 6 Habits You Need to Kick Before Pregnancy
- 4 Alternative Fertility Treatments
- Food to Increase Libido and Make a Baby
- 6 Ways to Strengthen His Sperm
- 11 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
Are you trying to track when you ovulate? If so, which sign or tool has been the most accurate predictor for you? If you have pregnant friends, be sure to share this post with them, too!