Ovulation is the process of an egg being released from one of the ovaries to be fertilised 12-24 hours later. In a regular 28 day cycle, it happens just once a month/cycle, typically on day 14, and is the only way to conceive when sperm are present. However, a woman’s cycle may differ from a 28 day cycle, it may be longer or shorter, therefore the best way to determine when ovulation is most likely to occur is by looking out for these key signs.
What are the signs?
1. Increased body temperature
Did you know that your basal body temperature will rise slightly, just after you ovulate until you get your next period? This is caused by the rise in the production of the hormone progesterone in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the second half).
This means, by taking your temperature first thing in the morning every day, you can depict more accurately when you likely ovulated as you should notice a clear rise in temperature. You should take your temperature at the same time every morning and just under the tongue, using a basal thermometer with two decimal places for accuracy.
After doing this for at least a few months, you can use your data to enter into an algorithm device or app such as Natural Cycles which helps to predict your most fertile days.
2. Increased cervical fluid
Your cervix produces fluid mucus throughout your menstrual cycle and the changes to its texture can indicate fertility. At the start of your menstrual cycle, your mucus will be dry and sticky but towards ovulation you will notice it becomes more clear and stretchy, resembling raw egg white.
This kind of texture helps sperm move through the cervix to fertilise an egg and therefore indicates that ovulation is imminent.
3. Positive ovulation test
Another way of measuring when you are ovulating is by testing for high levels of Lutenising Hormone (LH) in your urine. This hormone signals the ovary to release an egg so is a good measure of when ovulation is occurring. LH levels will surge a few days before you ovulate and a positive LH test strip would indicate you should ovulate within the next 36-40 hours. You can purchase ovulation test strips from a pharmacy or health shop.
*Note: if you have PCOS this will not be accurate as LH is typically elevated with this condition.
4. Day 21 Progesterone
Progesterone is sometimes also known as the pregnancy hormone as it helps a fertilised egg maintain a healthy pregnancy. Progesterone will rise following ovulation and peak on day 21, if you ovulate on day 14 as a typical 28 day menstrual cycle would be. A day 21 progesterone blood test will confirm that you have ovulated. If you don't ovulate on day 14, you will need to have this test done earlier or later than day 21.
What do I do if I don’t think I am ovulating?
You may believe you are not ovulating if you don’t notice these signs or get the positive results to confirm ovulation, or you may be having issues trying to conceive. Rest assured that with the right nutrition and lifestyle changes, as well as medical intervention if necessary, ovulation can be restored. Please reach out to us if you’re concerned.
Planning on a baby in 2024?
If you are planning on having a baby in 2024, now is the time to start preparing! We have just released Fertility Focus On Demand, a three month program to prepare you and your partner for having a baby. You can access this program at any time, and digest all of the content at your own pace.