Tips for Ovulation Prediction
Your body provides important cues to peak fertility, which appear as ovulation symptoms. These signs aren’t at all difficult to detect, and they can help you plan for conception.
How Ovulation Fits into the Menstrual Cycle
In many women, the menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, with ovulation taking place right in the middle, 14 days before the current cycle ends and the next one begins. As with so many things in nature, this is not an exact science. Most women must watch for symptoms instead of simply counting days, since the menstrual cycle varies from one individual to the next, and isn’t always the same from month to month. On average, ovulation symptoms appear either four days before or four days after the menstrual cycle’s midpoint.
Most of the time, ovulation results in the release of a single egg. It has a very short time frame for fertilization, surviving for just 12 to 24 hours after its release.
Ovulation Symptoms: What to Watch For
As with ovulation itself, symptoms vary from one woman to the next. Some women experience no symptoms of ovulation at all. The most common signs of ovulation include:
Increase in Basal Body Temperature
It takes some effort to track your basal body temperature, but doing so is one of the best ways to predict ovulation. In most women, basal body temperature remains consistent from one day to the next. A slight dip in temperature often takes place just before ovulation, followed by a temperature spike. Among the most reliable symptoms after ovulation, this rapid increase in basal body temperature tells you that an egg has been released and is ready for fertilization.
Your cervix, which connects your uterus and vagina, is capable of opening and closing. It changes throughout your cycle, and familiarizing yourself with the way it feels can help you determine whether you are ovulating. During ovulation, your cervix will be wet, soft, and open, and will be higher than usual.
Changes in Vaginal Discharge
Your body produces more cervical fluid as you get closer to ovulating. Cervical fluid that is clear, stretchy, and slippery, with an appearance that might remind you of egg whites is among the top ovulation symptoms, as well as one of the easiest to identify. Ovulation may coincide with peak cervical fluid production, or within a day or two.
Could it be the extra carbs you had with dinner, or are you ovulating? Abdominal bloating is associated with ovulation, but other factors may contribute to its presence.
Tender or Painful Breasts
Ovulation-related breast pain ranges from slight to severe. It typically begins around the time the egg is released, and continues until the next menstrual cycle begins.
When an egg is released from one of your ovaries, it may be accompanied by a trace of blood.
Among the more irritating symptoms of ovulation, pain located on one side of the lower abdomen or pelvic region is also known as mittelschmerz. While many women never experience this, others can rely on it as a sign that ovulation is taking place. Although it is one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of ovulation, period like pain is normally mild, and should go away shortly after the egg has been released. Check with your doctor if you are at all concerned; he or she can rule out other potential causes for your pain.
Increased Levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
At ovulation, luteinizing hormone levels increase. The surge typically occurs between 24 and 48 hours prior to ovulation – in fact, the LH increase triggers the release of the egg. You can use an at-home ovulation test kit to keep an eye on your LH levels to more accurately predict ovulation.
Increased Sex Drive
If you’re trying to conceive, this is great news. If you notice that you’re in the mood, it could be a sign that ovulation is imminent.
Don’t be surprised if you notice that a few of your senses are sharper than usual around the time of ovulation. Odors may seem stronger, tastes may be more predominant, and you might even have sharper vision.
Using an Ovulation Predictor Kit
Because the surge in luteinizing hormone is a reliable indicator that one of your ovaries has released an egg, an ovulation kit is an excellent ally in determining your fertility. Since home ovulation tests can be expensive, it’s a good idea to track your menstrual cycles with an app so that you know when to begin the testing process. You can also watch for other ovulation symptoms, particularly for changes in the amount and type of vaginal discharge.
Different Types of Ovulation Predictor Tools
Fertility Monitors – either dedicated electronic devices or apps for your mobile phone – can help you predict ovulation up to seven days before it happens. A good-quality fertility monitor is a bit costly, but it is a helpful tool to have, particularly if your menstrual cycles are irregular.
Stick-type Ovulation Tests– It look very much like home pregnancy tests. A “control” line shows up on every test. A second line indicates the level of LH present in your urine; if it is as dark as or darker than the control line, then it indicates that ovulation should take place within one to two days.
Ovulation prediction takes a little time, but it does offer an accuracy rate of approximately 99 percent. When used as a method for timing intercourse, it may help increase your odds of becoming pregnant.
Despite their usefulness, ovulation prediction tests are not for everyone. If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), then your tests may show spikes in LH too soon, before the actual LH surge. If you have Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS), then the surge will happen, but the egg may never be released.
No surge in LH may indicate that you have had an anovulatory cycle in which no egg was released. Unless you suspect a problem, it’s a good idea to keep on testing, using other symptoms of ovulation as clues and monitoring your cycle carefully. Try to have intercourse at least once a day or every other day when fertility is indicated. If you have no success, share your findings with your health care provider so that he or she can more easily identify infertility issues with you and/or your partner.
Factors that Affect Ovulation
There are a number of physical and environmental factors that can adversely affect ovulation. If you have been stressed or sick lately, or if there have been changes to your usual routine, then you may not ovulate on schedule. This will result in changes to your period’s timing.
Certain ovulation disorders have a direct affect on the ovaries’ ability to release eggs:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance, and can cause you to stop ovulating. Symptoms include acne, weight gain, irregular periods, and depression. PCOS is treatable.
An excess in the hormone prolactin can inhibit ovulation
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Also known as early menopause, primary ovarian insufficiency signals an end to menstruation prior to age 40. At this point the ovaries have stopped working, and ovulation no longer occurs.
Other fertility problems such as endometriosis and blocked or damaged fallopian tubes can affect your body’s ability to ovulate on schedule. Be sure to check with your doctor if you suspect that something isn’t quite right.
How Soon Can You Feel Pregnancy?
If your attempts at tracking your ovulation symptoms are successful and you manage to conceive, how soon will you be able to feel your pregnancy? The answer to this question varies from one woman to the next. In some cases, early signs of pregnancy are noticeable within just a week of conception. Other women notice no symptoms for the first few weeks of pregnancy.
It takes an average of six to twelve days for the embryo to implant in the uterine wall, which can cause spotting known as implantation bleeding. Cramping can occur at this time, as well. Not everyone experiences these early pregnancy symptoms, however! A poll conducted b the American Pregnancy Association revealed the following findings:
• 29% of survey participants indicated that a missed period was their first sign of pregnancy
• 25% of women surveyed reported that nausea was the first indicator of pregnancy
• 17% of participants said that their first pregnancy symptom was breast changes
• Only 3% of all survey participants reported that implantation bleeding was their first pregnancy symptom
After a positive pregnancy test, how long until you feel your little one move for the first time? You might find that the long wait is pretty suspenseful! Also known as “quickening,” the first fetal movements are usually felt sometime between week 16 and week 25 of your pregnancy. Women who have been pregnant before may feel movement closer to week 13 of pregnancy.