Learning about your body as a woman is an ongoing learning opportunity. It’s important to understand how the woman’s body works, especially when you’re trying to get pregnant, monitoring your health, or preparing for a healthy pregnancy.
Ovulation is a part of the basics of what women go through, which means it’s good to have a clear picture of what ovulation is and the common signs of ovulation.
What Is Ovulation?
Your body is in a state of ovulation when your ovary releases an egg into your fallopian tube. This typically happens about 13 to 15 days before the beginning of each of your periods. It’s common for the timing to vary from cycle to cycle (just like your period). There may even be a cycle where you don’t ovulate at all.
Knowing about the basics of ovulation will give you a better insight into fertility and also other aspects of your health. Ovulation is affected by your energy, food nutrition and your emotional state. If these conditions aren’t all in line, your ovulation will be impacted.
Let’s cover the basic science behind ovulation. There are follicles in your ovaries, which are sacs that carry tiny eggs. These follicles take months to develop, getting ready to release their egg. The follicles go through so many changes during this stage of development, developing many parts and layers that all have their own functions. A lot of the follicles will never reach ovulation, and sometimes all follicles will die off at different phases which leads you to not ovulate during your cycle.
The follicles that don’t die will release an egg once it’s ready. The egg will travel out of your ovary and into your fallopian tubes where it is fertilized by the sperm for 12-24 hours. If it is fertilized, it makes its way to your uterus over the following 6-12 days to mark the start of your pregnancy.
How To Predict Ovulation
Many women want to monitor their ovulation cycle since it is a helpful tool in trying to conceive a baby. On the other hand, many want to know when they’re ovulating just to understand their body and be familiar with the signs. How can you predict when you’re ovulating?
Basal Body Temperature Monitoring
Your Basal Body Temperature is also known as your BBT, which refers to your body temperature when it’s at rest. At the start of your cycle, your BBT is normally constant at an average of between 97.2 and 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When you get close to ovulation, there’s a small drop in BBT followed by a sharp increase. All bodies are different, so a good technique is to monitor your BBT over a 6-month period. The data you gather after this period will give you a good idea of when you usually ovulate. This will then help you monitor your cycle and also plan your baby-making if you are trying to get pregnant.
Keeping Track Of Your Menstrual Cycle
As mentioned, you generally will be ovulating 13 to 15 days before menstruating. This is with the considerations that you have a normal menstrual cycle of between 25 to 35 days. To monitor this, you can keep track of when you get your period on a calendar and also record when you experience ovulation symptoms. This will help you determine a pattern over time.
Ovulation kits come in handy as they measure your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) through your urine. You are typically ovulating 10 to 12 hours after your LH level peaks -- similarly, this is usually on day 14 or 15 of your menstrual cycle. The process of monitoring your ovulation is very simple with this kit. All you need to do is pee on the stick and wait for a line to appear (much like a pregnancy test). If the color matches the shade that is indicated in the instructions of the kit, you will be ovulating within 24 to 48 hours.
So how do you know when you are ovulating? What does it feel like?
Of course, just like other things women go through, these signs differ from one woman to the next. However, there are some common ovulation symptoms that can indicate it’s that time of the month.
- Your basal body temperature (BBT) has a slight drop, and a sharp rise
- Cervical mucus becomes more clear and thin
- Cervix changes as it begins to soften and open up
- You may feel slight pain and mild cramps in your lower abdomen
- Changes to your libido: Increased sex drive
- Possible light spotting or discharge
- Stronger sense of smell
- Breast tenderness and soreness due to hormones
Getting to know your body is an important part of being a woman. It is also important in order to someday be a mother. Monitoring your ovulation is a key part of trying to get pregnancy as you are most fertile during this time. So get ready to keep your eye out for your ovulating periods!