In order for conception to occur, you will need to time intercourse to coincide with ovulation. Ovulation is the release of the egg from the ovary and typically occurs around day 14 of your menstrual cycle; however every woman is unique and the exact day of ovulation can vary from month to month.

But knowing when ovulation is occurring can be tricky. Determining that small window of opportunity will increase your chances of conception. It is therefore important to familiarize yourself with the most common signs and symptoms of ovulation.

Most women can guestimate their ovulatory period by counting back 12 to 16 days from the start of their next expected period. If your menstrual cycle varies, learn to track your cycles using a fertility charting calendar. Once you have charted for a few months you will be able to identify a pattern and your ovulatory phase will be more evident.

Cervical Fluid

The most obvious symptom of ovulation is a change in your cervical mucus or fluid. The closer to ovulation you get, the more your cervical fluid will look like egg whites. This slippery and clear secretion is perfectly normal and is indicative of your fertile phase. This is necessary to help the sperm travel through your uterus and fallopian tubes to reach your egg. Ovulation will typically occur on the day that you experience the most amount of wet fluid. Once ovulation has passed, your cervical fluid will become cloudy and thick or may disappear entirely.

Body Temperature

If you are charting your fertility you will notice a change in your basal body temperature. Prior to ovulation your basal body temperature should be fairly consistent; though you may experience a slight decline as you get closer to ovulation. Your basal body temperature should sharply increase after ovulation and remain elevated for two to three days afterwards. This temperature increase stimulates the production of the hormone progesterone and is a sign that ovulation has just occurred.

Make sure you use a thermometer that specifically measures basal body temperature, and take your temperature each morning before you get out of bed. After a few months of tracking you will see a pattern and will then be able to predict your fertile phase.

Keep in mind that you will be most fertile during the two to three days before your temperature rises and sometimes it may take up to two days after ovulation for your body’s progesterone levels to rise enough to raise your basal body temperature.

Cervical Changes

Every woman will also experience a change in their cervical position or firmness. Throughout your cycle your cervix will adjust accordingly. During ovulation your cervix will be soft, high, open, and wet. It may take you a few cycles before you will be able to distinguish between what your cervix normally feels like and what it feels like during ovulation.

Lower Abdominal Discomfort

Many women experience pain around the time of their ovulatory period. This pain is commonly known as mittelschmerz. MedlinePlus is produced by the National Library of Medicine and defines mittelschmerz as:

Mittelschmerz is one-sided, lower abdominal pain in women. It occurs at or around the time of an egg is released from the ovaries (ovulation).

This pain occurs because right before ovulation, the growth of the follicle where the egg develops will extend the ovary’s surface, which in turn causes pain and discomfort. During ovulation, fluid or blood is released from the ruptured egg follicle which can irritate the abdomen lining. The pain can vary from mild aches to severe cramps that last just a few minutes up to a few hours.


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