Using an ovulation calendar, what you should be tracking and tuning into your body’s signals
When you’re trying for a baby, you very quickly start to become more aware of your cycle. You might be looking for the best way to pinpoint when you ovulate so you can make sure you are having sex at the right times. There are only a few days in your cycle when you can actually get pregnant. At other times, it’s actually impossible to get pregnant so it’s crucial you are aware of when this ‘fertile window’ is so you can make sure you’re having regular sex during this period (whether that be every day or every other day)
The other important thing to know is that your most fertile period is actually just BEFORE you ovulate so if you have sex at this time the sperm is waiting in the fallopian tubes when the egg is released.
1. Ovulation calculators
Online ovulation calculators can be helpful to help you find out when you’re ovulating but they can also be quite inaccurate. Firstly you need to know the number of days in your cycle and if not the calculator will assume it will be 28 days.
Secondly the calculator assumes your luteal phase is the average of 14 days and then calculates based on that. So as you can see there are a lot of assumptions here. Don’t worry, there are many other ways you can predict ovulation which have a greater degree of accuracy. Our favourite at Your Fertility Hub is coming up at number 2.
2. Cervical Mucous
This white slippery mucous appears in your vagina in your fertile window. Although it might feel a bit gross, it’s actually amazing stuff, crucial to getting pregnant, so make sure you don’t wash it away. Read more about cervical mucous and why it’s so important when you’re trying to conceive (TTC).
3. Increase in Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
You may also have heard of tracking your temperature. Your basal body temperature (BBT) increases around ovulation so is a fairly good way of identifying when you’re ovulating. However you must take your BBT temperature at rest, so before you have even got out of bed in the morning, otherwise it won’t be accurate.
4. Ovulation Predictor Kits
These kits are a modern and popular way of predicting ovulation. They work a bit like a pregnancy test as they test for ovulation hormones and you are looking for lines on your test. Some of the digital ones are simple to use, however, the basic ones can be a little difficult to read. This is also an expensive method and not completely guaranteed – you can get a positive result and actually not have ovulated, particularly if you have PCOS.
5. Increased sexual desire
One good sign that you are ovulating is an increased libido or sexual desire. This is your body’s natural way of telling you ‘you’re fertile’ and helps with all that baby dancing you need to do around this time!
6. Changes in your body
Around ovulation, some women notice changes in their bodies such as breast tenderness and a pain in the lower abdomen. Often short-lived, this sharp pain is actually an ovulation pain which occurs just before you ovulate. So if you get this pain, it’s a sure sign you’re in your prime time to have sex for conception.
7. Your cervix position changes
Now you might be thinking that only your doctor can reach and check your cervix but you can actually learn to do this yourself too and it’s worth trying as you can feel your cervix position changing throughout your cycle. When you are about to ovulate and are ovulating your cervix softens, moves higher and opens a little. You can also check for changes in your cervical mucous this way too.
Many people start tracking their cycles using some or all of the above methods. Tracking or charting is a great way to look at several signs altogether. There are many apps and sites you can use online to help you or you can use your diary or draw a graph for charting your BBT.
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub
Karenna Wood is an international fertility coach, founder of Your Fertility Hub and passionate advocate for more emotional support and information for women trying to get pregnant. She’s an expert in mind-body tools and when not blogging, podcasting, coaching or speaking is...fast asleep!