Calculating Ovulation

Here are some tips for calculating ovulation. You probably learned about menstruation, ovulation, and pregnancy in middle school. At that time, those topics caused you to giggle with your girlfriends. However, those are serious issues in your life if you have been trying to get pregnant without success.

No longer being the teenage girl who thought getting married and having babies was far off in the future, you are now an adult concerned that you cannot seem to conceive.

As a result of this, chances are that ovulation has been on your mind. You are probably learning all you can about calculating ovulation because you understand the importance of pinpointing your fertile days.

Nevertheless, let’s start with the basics.

What is ovulation?

Ovulation occurs when an egg is released from an ovary, finds its way down the fallopian tube, and is available for fertilization by sperm. 

If you are ovulating when you are having intercourse, the egg can fertilize, and you may become pregnant. The egg can survive for 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary.

Approximately once every month, one egg will mature and be released from one of your ovaries. If no conception occurs, the unfertilized egg will be absorbed by your body. If it fertilizes but does not implant in the uterus, it will shed along with the uterine lining during menstruation.

Signs you may be ovulating

While the outward signs of ovulation are not set in stone, there are several things to look for that could indicate ovulation.

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mild abdominal cramps
  • Cervical mucus that takes on the texture of egg whites
  • Increase in basal body temperature
  • Some mild spotting
  • Bloated stomach
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increased libido (sex drive)
  • Heightened sense of smell

Calculating your fertile days

A basic ovulation calculator generally looks at the first date of your next expected period and counts back 14 days. This is assuming you have a 28-day cycle, which is not true of everyone.

Your fertile window is considered the day you ovulate and the two to three days before since the sperm can survive in your reproductive tract for upwards of 72 hours.

In reality, your best chance of getting pregnant is as close to ovulation as possible or during the last two days of this particular time frame.

This is a fairly basic way to calculate ovulation, but it is certainly not without potential flaws. There are other scientific ways to pinpoint your ovulation as well.

  • Ovulation predictor kit – This kit uses test strips that help you identify your most fertile days during the month. These strips test your urine for an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH), which generally happens about a day before ovulation. A test stick can show a positive result about 24 to 36 hours before your egg is released, so planning to have sex during that window could maximize the chances of conception.
  • Charting your basal body temperature –Your “basal body temperature” is the term given to your lowest body temperature in a 24-hour period. It increases slightly right after you ovulate; therefore, by using a special thermometer, you can track your basal body temperature over time to estimate when you are ovulating and when you might be most fertile.
  • Checking your cervical mucus – Though you may turn up your nose at doing this, checking your cervical mucus can be quite helpful. To do so, you should: 1) Wipe your vagina clean with a tissue or toilet paper before you pee and view the discharge; 2) insert a clean finger into your vagina towards the cervix and examine the mucus on your finger, or 3) look at the discharge in your underwear. The discharge is clear, wet, and stretchy in consistency when you are at or very near ovulation.

Calculating ovulation can be tricky, especially if your menstrual cycles are irregular. However, do NOT give up! At Advanced Reproductive Medicine, we can assist you with keeping an ovulation calendar and can suggest other ways to determine your most fertile days. For more information or schedule a consultation, call us at 732-339-9300.

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