Right on time: Ovulation and timing

Timing is everything. Learn how to recognise ovulation for maximum fertility.

If you’re actively trying to conceive, you’ve no doubt heard about the importance of ovulation. Remember that you are only fertile for about six days in every cycle, so knowing when you ovulate is key to falling pregnant.

What ovulation is
Ovulation is the process that results in the release of one or more eggs from your ovary every month. The biggest egg is released into the pelvic cavity and moves into the fallopian tubes.

Know when you’re ovulating
Your egg only survives for between twelve and twenty-four hours if it is not fertilised. The time leading up to ovulation is when you are at your most fertile. Here are five ways to help you identify when you are ovulating:

Keep an eye on the calendar
Ovulation typically occurs halfway through your cycle. Fertility experts suggest keeping a menstrual calendar for a few months, so that you can get an idea of what’s “normal” for you. 

Listen to your body
Research has shown that some women experience a twinge or cramps in their lower abdominal area when they ovulate. This pain is called “mittelschmerz” which is German for “middle pain”. If you pay close attention to when you get this pain, you are likely to identify exactly when you are ovulating.

Chart your temperature
You can take your basal body temperature (BBT) with a special thermometer. Your BBT is the baseline reading you get first thing in the morning when you wake up. Your BBT changes during your cycle as your hormone levels change. Once ovulation has occurred, there is an increase in progesterone, which in turn increases your body temperature as it prepares your uterus for implantation. Your BBT will reach its lowest point at ovulation and then rise about half a degree following ovulation. Charting your BBT over a few months may help you to see a pattern and enable you to predict when you are likely to ovulate in future.

Learn about your cervix
One sign of oncoming ovulation is the position of the cervix. At the beginning of a cycle, your cervix is low, hard and closed. As ovulation approaches, it softens and pulls back. The other sign to watch for is the quantity and change in consistency of cervical mucous. At the beginning of your cycle, the mucous has a cloudy, white appearance. As you get closer to ovulation, the mucous increases and becomes thinner and clearer, resembling egg white.

Buy an ovulation predictor kit
These kits are able to identify your date of ovulation twelve to twenty-four hours in advance by looking at levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). All you have to do is pee on a stick and wait for the results. You can also take a saliva test, which looks at levels of oestrogen in your saliva – this increases as ovulation nears.

No matter which device or method you choose, it’s a good idea to be patient and persistent. Trying for a baby shouldn’t become a mechanical chore – remember the romance and try to have fun! Do you have a good idea of when you ovulate?

BabyGroup says…
This article has been checked by Dr Nomathamsanqa Matebese, Gynaecologist. A member of the BabyGroup Medical Council.

Leave your comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up