Why chart ovulation?
If you are one of those people who is having some trouble getting pregnant or if you are one of those who wants to be pregnant immediately, then watching for the signs of ovulation is essential. In fact, understanding when you ovulate greatly increases the odds of getting pregnant in any given month. So if getting pregnant is a high priority for you, then you will want to become very famililar with all the signs and indications of ovulation. Understanding our menstrual ovulatory cycles can actually be fun. It is amazing the get a glimpse at how brilliantly the female body works and how much of this we fail to notice for most of our lives.
A great step toward understanding all the signs of ovulation is purchasing Toni Weschler's book, "Taking Charge of your Fertility". After reading this book, you will know everything you need to to successfully chart the signs of ovulation. Much of the content of this article is derived from her book. This article will summarize some of the steps but to really understand how it works, read the book.
Signs of ovulation
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
For nearly all ovulatory women, their basal body temperature rises after ovulation. It can rise by an entire degree farenheit or more. However, to know this, you need to chart your temperature from the beginning of your cycle. Here are some tips to do this:
- Use a basal thermometer. It has a reading to the 1/100th of a degree. This will be necessary for the accuracy of the reading. You can purchase one of these online at any number of the fertility sites or from your local Drug's store.
- Download a free BBC (Basal Body Chart) from any number of fertility/pregnancy sites. Print it out and put it and a pencil by your bed. Make sure you mark down your temp, the time you took your temp and any other relevant information about ovulatory signs.
- Take your temperature at the same time every morning. Some people are really sensitive and see a rise in their basal body temperature simply by turning over and starting to ruminate on their day. Others are a bit more impervious to such fluctuations in temperature. In order to be safe though, you will want to chart your temp at the same time in the morning (give or take 30 minutes) and BEFORE getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. Chart your temp and make sure that you are rounding down to the nearest 1/10th of a degree.
- As soon as your temperature rises at least 2/100ths of a degree above the prior six temps, you can assume you have ovulated. Of course you will need to have had sex prior to the temperature rise for optimal chances of pregnancy (given a rise in temperature is a sign that ovulation has already occured.)
Given this, BBT is really a great indicator of fertility/ovulation but it will only tell you after you have ovulated which is after the egg has been released and is likely to be gone by then.
Cervical fluid consistency
Closely monitoring your cervical fluid may be the easiest way to identify your most fertile periods. Around the time of (or right before ovulation) the cervical fluid gets wetter and more lubricated. For some people this starts 5 days or so days before ovulation. Women generally notice an increase in wetness, and then an increase in creaminess, and ultimately the fluid turns to an eggwhite consistency.
If it is hard for you to determine what type of cervical fluid you have, try assessing what the sensations you experience throughout the day. Is it sticky, wet or lubricated? Lubricated would be a sign of the most fertile period and is generally accompanied by eggwhite secretions.
During the infertile phase of the month, the cervix is hard and low. It can sometimes be felt during intercourse when the penis pushes up against it. However, during ovulation, the cervix becomes softer and higher in the body. It rises up into the body and parts a bit to make space for the sperm to swim up and into the uterus.
Increased sex drive
Women often also have an increase in sexual desire around the time of ovulation. This is the body's biological drive to procreate. Because of the increase in cervical fluids and the rising of the cervix itself, some women find sex more enjoyable during this time of the month.
Abdominal discomfort or cramping
Many women notice a slight twinge in their ovaries right around the time of ovulation. This ovulatory cramping is called Mittelschmerz. Some women can actually feel the exact moment they ovulate. Some women can even detect which ovary is ovulating.
Other have general pain or mild cramping for a few days. Regardless, if you notice cramping, especially if it is followed by any of these other signs, have sex as it could be your most fertile time!
Very light spotting or bleeding
Some women actually notice slight spotting during ovulation. This is caused by the egg breaking through the wall of the ovary. This spotting can be obvious when you wipe or less obvious and may only turn your cervical fluid pinkish or brownish.
Other possible signs of ovulation
- Change in energy levels. Some women experience an increased level of energy or focus, while others may experience an increase in fatigue.
- Increase in appetite. Some women are hungrier around the time of ovulation.
- Breast or nipple tenderness. For some women this does not go away until they get their period, for others it only lasts the few days around ovulation.
Benefits of knowing when you ovulate
- It greatly increases your chances of getting pregnant.
- If you are NOT trying to get pregnant and are not on birth control, knowing when you ovulate can be equally helpful. If you do not want to get pregnant, it is really important to avoid having sex (even withdrawl sex for 5 days before ovulation).
- It can be fun and interesting. Exploring the body and its signs of ovulation can be fun especially if you approach it as an enjoyable past-time.
- You can learn if you are not ovulating or if you have other fertility issues.
- It can bring greater health. From an overall health perspective, being more in-tune with the body increases intimacy with it. Knowing your body better can have benefits, such as understanding when it is sick or out of balance, knowing when it needs rest or food. Bringing awareness into the body also can help to give the thinking mind a rest, which lends to a greater sense of calm and peace.
If you are not ovulating
Ovulation is absolutely mandatory for conception. If after charting these signs you discover that you are not ovulating, you should contact your doctor. It is not possible to get pregnant in any month of anovulation (where no egg is being released.) While there are many tactics (both medical and natural) that can help with anovulation, you will need to attend to the matter.
If you are indeed not ovulating, do not worry, you will likely still be able to get pregnant. However, the sooner you address this, the better. Be prepared to learn more about the body and why yours is chosing not to ovulate at this time in your life.
- This page was originally created by Pregger at 16:39 on May 22, 2013.
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