Ovulation monitoring is one of the many ways that women use in basic fertility testing. Ovulation is the time when a single, mature egg is released from the ovarian follicle signalling the start of the fertile period in a woman’s menstrual cycle. The egg is released in response to an increase of Luteinizing Hormone which sets the ovum free awaiting fertilization. Therefore, using an ovulation predictor is important in conception.
The release of the egg at the time of ovulation sends various physical and emotional responses that can give women a clue as to whether they’re ovulating or not. Here are some of the most common ways to tell if you are ovulating.
7 Ways To Use An Ovulation Predictor
1. Counting your menstrual period with an ovulation predictor
For those with regular menstruation (28 days for each cycle), the best way to use an ovulation predictor is by counting days. Usually, ovulation happens at the middle of each cycle so it’s quite easy for those with regular menses to determine when they are most fertile. For those with irregular periods, it is best to chart your period for over 6 months or more in order to get the average number of days until your next period. This will then be your basis for counting the middle day of your cycle, however, it is not always as accurate and foolproof.
2. Cervical mucus changes
The mucus of the uterine cervix as well as the uterine body, changes each month during the menstrual cycle. During the first half of the cycle when hormone secretion from the ovary is low, cervical mucus is thick and scant. But as you get closer to ovulation, you will notice that this mucus will become watery and clear – similar to that of an egg white. It is at this at this stage when sperm penetration and survival are excellent. The mucus not only becomes thin and watery, but it can also be stretched into long strands. This property is known as spinnbarkeit. When a woman stretches a mucus sample between thumb and finger and it is able to stretch a distance before breaking, this is a signal that ovulation is about to occur.
3. Cervical position
This is requires skill and constant monitoring as the changes may be subtle at first. To do this, the woman must squat down and insert one or two clean fingers into the vagina and reach the cervix. Normally, the cervix feels firm and closed and must be low enough for you to reach. However, as ovulation approaches, you will notice that the consistency of the cervix will become softer and wetter. It will also be kept slightly open and be much harder to reach as it ascends higher far back. This is your most fertile time and it’s the best time to have sex.
4. Basal Body Temperature Monitoring
This is the easiest, non-invasive and cheapest way to determine a woman’s ovulation pattern. To do this, the woman takes her temperature every morning before getting out of bed. She can do this using a specially made BBT thermometer which takes temperatures in tenths for more accuracy, although some women find a normal thermometer work just as well. She then plots this temperature reading on a monthly graph, taking into consideration conditions that might affect her temperature (colds, infections, sleeplessness). At the time of ovulation, the basal temperature is seen to dip slightly at about 0.5F. It then rises to a level no higher than normal body temperature and stays that way for 3 or 4 days. This is because the release of progesterone in preparation for fertilization causes an increase in temperature. It is at this time when ovulation has already taken place, usually a day after. This method is still useful though, especially in predicting possible pregnancy. If your BBT remains elevated for more than 4 days, you might be pregnant!
5. Physical symptoms
About twenty percent of women experience middle abdominal pain just before ovulation. This may be due to the ovary getting ready to release the egg. Others may notice slight abdominal bloating or even breast tenderness just before ovulation. Still, there are those who experience light spotting. They may notice scant brownish of pinkish discharges which is perfectly normal and should not be confused with menstruation.
6. Increased libido
Hormonal changes during ovulation increase a woman’s sex drive, especially since estrogen levels go up during this time. It is best to make the most of this especially when the possibility of conception is just around the corner. However, having sex every other day during your most fertile period is the best way to improve your chances of conceiving. Your partner will benefit from this too as everyday sex may significantly lower the amount of sperm count. Having sex every other day gives him time to replenish and produce fresh sperm for optimum use.
7. Ovulation Determination by Test Strip
Various brands of commercial ovulation calendar kits are available for assessing the upsurge of that occurs just before ovulation. These can be used in place of BBT monitoring. The woman dips a test strip into a sample of her urine preferably taken between noon and 8pm. It is best to do this test at the exact same hour of everyday for better accuracy. Do not test with early morning urine as the surge in LH levels may take some time to show. With the instructions given in the kit manual, the woman notes for color changes that occur that tell her ovulation is on its way. These kits are said to predict ovulation as much as 36 hours prior to the event, so it’s best to have sex on these given days. Such kits are purchased over the counter but are pricier than other methods and it takes a lot of time and efficiency. But if you’re willing to cash out, this may prove to be the best method for you.