- What is the meaning of ovulation? How To Track Your Ovulation Cycle
- When does ovulation occur?
- How to track your ovulation cycle? What are the other ways?
Ovulation is a tricky process to track although not impossible. For that, you need to understand the process of ovulation, what it entails, and ways to track it. Whether you are trying to conceive or not, it is always essential to know your menstrual cycle. To know more about how to track your ovulation cycle, scroll down and read further.
What is the meaning of ovulation? How To Track Your Ovulation Cycle
Ovulation, a process by which a mature egg is released from the ovary. Those six days are critical because the egg can be fertilized for only twelve to twenty-four hours after it is released.
Understanding your ovulation cycle and having intercourse five days before and on the day of ovulation can increase your chances of conceiving naturally.
Furthermore, under the right conditions, sperm can survive inside the female reproductive tract for up to five days after sexual intercourse. When live sperm is present in the fallopian tubes during ovulation, your chances of conceiving doubles.
The science behind ovulation
The first phase begins on the first day of your period when you begin bleeding. Your body produces hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that cause the eggs in your ovaries to grow. Between days 2 and 14, those hormones also aid in the thickening of your uterine lining in preparation for a fertilized egg. This is known as the follicular stage.
The menstrual cycle lasts 28-35 days on average. Ovulation occurs between days 11 and 21 of your cycle. A hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) surges, causing the ripest egg to be released. Simultaneously, your cervical mucus becomes more slippery, allowing sperm to find their way to the egg.
Women are born with approximately 1 million to 2 million eggs, but only 300 to 400 are released through ovulation during their lifetimes. Normally, you only release one per month. The egg travels through one of the two fallopian tubes that connect your ovaries and uterus. If the conditions are favorable, sperm may fertilize it on its way to the uterus.
Timing is important
If the egg is not fertilised within 24 hours of leaving the ovary, it dissolves. Because sperm can only live for 3 to 5 days, knowing when you’re ovulating can help you and your partner plan intercourse for when you’re most likely to conceive.
In general, have intercourse 1-2 days before ovulation for the best chance of pregnancy. If you have a 28-day cycle, start counting back 14 days from when you expect your next period to begin. Plan on having intercourse every other day around then.
Because sperm can live in the fallopian tubes for up to five days and eggs only have up to 24 hours to be fertilised after ovulation, couples only have about a week each month when they have the best chance of conceiving. Assuming a 28-day cycle with ovulation on day 14, the most fertile days would be days 11 to 16.
When does ovulation occur?
If your menstrual cycle lasts 28 days and your period arrives on time, you’ll most likely ovulate on day 14. That marks the halfway point in your cycle. Your fertile period begins on day ten. If you have intercourse at least every other day between days 10 and 14 of a 28-day cycle, you are more likely to become pregnant.
Typically, your fertile window lasts 4-5 days. These are the days preceding your ovulation.
Does ovulation have any symptoms? What are ovulation symptoms and how to track them?
1. Changes in vaginal secretions
You might notice an increase in clear, wet, and stretchy vaginal secretions just before ovulation. Cervical mucus decreases and thickens, becoming cloudy and less noticeable shortly after ovulation.
2. Changes in basal body temperature
The temperature of your body at rest (basal body temperature) rises slightly during ovulation. Take your temperature every morning before you get out of bed using a thermometer specifically designed to measure basal body temperature. Keep track of the outcomes and look for a pattern. You’ll be most fertile in the two to three days before your temperature rises.
3. Invest in ovulation kits
You may try an over-the-counter ovulation kit if you cannot track the above symptoms. These kits determine your ovulation time by testing your urine for the surge in LH hormones before ovulation.
4. Physical symptoms
Bloating, breast tenderness, light spotting, slight pain, or cramps can also occur in some people.
5. Ovulation tracker apps
There are plenty of apps like Flo, that can help you determine the likely date of your ovulation based on your menstrual history. You can even check Webmd for a free online tracker.
How to track your ovulation cycle? What are the other ways?
Mark it on your calendar
Keep track of when your period begins and ends, as well as how long your cycle lasts. Doctors recommend having intercourse at least every other day, especially during the five days before ovulation. This is referred to as your “fertile window.” Your egg has a lifespan of 12 to 24 hours. However, sperm can survive inside your body for a few days, so it’s preferable to have them there waiting for your egg.
Check for body changes
Throughout your menstrual cycle, your hormone levels fluctuate. During the first half of the cycle, your ovaries produce the hormone oestrogen. When your oestrogen levels reach a certain level, your ovary releases an egg. Then your body begins to produce progesterone, yet another hormone. It causes a slight increase in body temperature.
Your hormones also affect the texture of your cervical mucus, the sticky fluid that drains from the bottom of your uterus, the cervix. You have more of it as your body prepares to ovulate, and it feels stretchy and slippery, like raw egg whites. The texture aids sperm movement within your body. You should be in your fertile window if your mucus feels like this.
Although it is possible to feel yourself ovulate, many women do not. Around halfway through your menstrual cycle, you may feel a slight pain in your side. If you’re trying to conceive, don’t wait for the twinge. That means your fertile window is about to close.
Get in tune with your body
Some of you may not have a trackable menstrual cycle and that’s okay too. Please reach out to your doctor who can help determine your cycle and ovulation date to start with. Good record keeping and patience is important to make the most of your ovulation time.
Understand that conceiving is not an easy process and never lose heart. If you are trying not to start a family soon, you may be aware of your ovulation dates to use protection and avoid unwanted complications.
Get in touch with your body and learn to read the signs. Ovulation is not rocket science.
Disclaimer – This information is provided for educational purposes and should not construe it as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.
Proactive is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalized, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer products and services for out-patient health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime – from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. To know more about the sexual and reproductive health of women, visit Proactiveforher.
Author Bio: Dr. Nimmi leads the Ob-Gyn team unit at Proactive For Her. She comes with a rich experience of 30 years in women’s health, maternal health, contraception, infertility and sexual health. Also, she has completed her MBBS from LHMC, Delhi, and MD Gynaecology from MAMC, Delhi. She is extremely passionate about delivering non-judgemental care.
This article is compiled by Sanjana Varma, a freelance writer at Proactive For Her.