Ovulation is when a woman releases an egg from their ovary. Once this release occurs, there is a chance that this egg can become fertilized and when this happens you can become pregnant. Unfortunately, this window of opportunity is very small and is not extremely obvious. It has been show that the egg can be fertilized for a period of 12-24 hours. What is important to note is that you do not necessarily have to have intercourse during this window of opportunity, although it is extremely ideal. Having sex before this window can still leave viable sperm in the body that can still reach the egg and fertilize. So, how do you know when you are ovulating? What are the methods for tracking ovulation?
One method for tracking ovulation is based upon the days found in a month. To use this method it is probably best that you have a fairly regular period, or it may be hard to track your cycle. You start by determining what the first day of your period will be and then counting back 12 days and then subtract 4 more days. This 5 day range is known as your ovulation range and the most likely days to become pregnant. There are ovulation calendars and even apps for your phone that can help you to track and determine the best days to conceive (or at least try). This is one of the easiest ways to track your ovulation without little effort.
Basal Temperature Chart
Another method for tracking ovulation is a little more complex. This method involves taking your basal temperature, which is your lowest body temperature in a 24 hour period. There is a special thermometer that is used and you can take your temperature every morning to determine the subtle changes and track them on a chart.
Something else that changes during ovulation is vaginal discharge. This should be monitored daily and when the discharge becomes slightly mucus-like and clear, this is when ovulation is occurring. This discharge is similar to an egg white consistency. Whenever this is occurring, you can ensure that you are ovulating. Track this and chart this with your basal temperature and you will be able to pinpoint the exact days that you are the most likely to start a pregnancy.
Mittelschmerz (Middle Pain)
One natural indication of ovulation appears in the form of pain. Many women experience a slight cramping in the lower abdominal area that is referred to as the mittelschmerz or the middle pain. This pain is usually localized to one side of the body. This cramping is thought to be linked to the actual release of the egg from the ovary. Pregnancy could be the next step in this cascade if you play your cards right.
There is even a saliva test that can tell you if you are ready for fertilization. If it is that time of the month, the saliva being tested will look the leaves of a fern under the microscope. This test is not as accurate as a hormonal test, but it is fairly affordable, reusable, and can truly give insight into your ovulation cycle.
Ovulation Predictor Kit
All of the above methods are extremely useful in tracking a range of days that ovulation may be occurring; however, there is one method that is extremely accurate. This method is known as the ovulation predictor kit, which measures hormone levels to determine when your ovulation cycle is occurring. The test is similar to a pregnancy test in that you urinate on a stick and wait for a result. It measures luteinizing hormones, which will increase when the eggs are about to be released from the ovaries. The best thing about these stick tests is that they give advanced warning of when ovulation will occur. They can detect the hormone up to 2 days prior to ovulation, so that baby making plans can be made. The downside is that this method costs money, which on average is approximately $20-50 a test.
All of these tips and insights can help you determine when that ideal 12-24 hour window will occur in your monthly plans. The important thing is that you become in tune with your body. Start with a calendar and start tracking the 5 day window of ovulation period based on your cycle. Then start mapping out your basal temperature and vaginal mucus consistency. Once you have narrowed down the time frame, consider taking one of the ovulation tests to get the timing just perfect. Then plan an eventful night and cross your fingers for a successful pregnancy as you may soon be a mother.