What Are The Signs Of Ovulation In a Woman?
Ovulation is the most important thing you should know about, if you want to conceive or avoid pregnancy. It is usually best to know the timing of ovulation so, you can predict the fertile period of your menstrual cycle. Generally, women trying to get pregnant do not know how to check the ovulation and some of them even don’t know what does ovulation really mean.
In this case, the first thing you should know is the meaning of ovulation and its importance in pregnancy. Here, you can find out all about ovulation, its timing and symptoms.
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is the phase in a woman’s menstrual cycle when the egg, also called ova, oocyte or ovule, is released from the ovary. Egg is released when the follicle is ruptured, which then allows the egg to pass. Ovulation represents the fertile period in which the baby is conceived if sexual intercourse occurs just before or during ovulation.
The fertile period can be identified by counting the days of your menstrual cycle. Your periods are connected to the ovulation, so you have to pay some extra attention to your monthly cycle.
Menstrual cycle lasts in 28 to 29 days generally. However, some of the cases are different and cycle extends to 35 days or shrinks to 21 days. All of these situations are normal. In other words, menstrual cycle lengthens from first day of one cycle to the first day of the next cycle.
Menstrual cycle is divided into two major cycles, that are, Ovarian cycle and Uterine cycle which are further divided into two phases each. These are Follicular phase and Luteal phase in Ovarian cycle and Proliferative phase and Secretory phase in Uterine cycle. Ovulation occurs during Ovarian cycle, so here are a few details about its two phases:
1- Follicular Phase:
Follicular phase continues from day one of the menstrual cycles to day 13. Ovulation occurs after 14 days, so, it can be said that starting from the first day, follicular phase extends to the thirteenth day and ends just before ovulation. However, it’s period varies according to the time of ovulation.
In this phase, growth and nourishment of the egg takes place inside the follicle. At the end of this phase, Luteinizing hormone is released from pituitary gland present in Hypothalamus of the brain. This hormone causes the rupturing of follicles and release of the egg.
2- Luteal Phase:
In an average cycle, luteal phase starts from 14th day, just after ovulation, and ends on the 28th day. In contrast to the Follicular phase, luteal phase is precise in timeline. It is usually 12 to 16 days long. Ovulation is the key to determine the length of the whole menstrual cycle.
When Do Women Ovulate?
Generally, a release of the egg takes place 12 to 16 days prior to the next period, which is the middle of the 28 or 32 days cycle. The lifespan of the egg released is 12 to 24 hours but still, fertility period lasts 5 to 7 days. This might be because of the fact that sperms stay active for 3 to 5 days inside the female body.
The timing of ovulation generally varies from one cycle to the next. It can also be affected by the outside factors such as sudden illness, stress or disruption of normal routine. You can predict the specific symptoms by looking closely as to how does ovulation feel during the month.
Symptoms of Ovulation:
Most women don’t know the answer to the question “how to tell if you are ovulating?” because it is difficult to predict what is happening inside the body, but there are some physical signs of ovulation which show up during the month. If you observe these signs, you can surely tell your ovulation timing. Here are some of these signs:
Cervical mucus is a white fluid secreted by cervix for the nourishment and protection of the sperms entering female body. Production of this mucus is stimulated by a hormone named estrogen. Amount and quality of cervical mucus keep changing during the cycle. This change can serve as the symptom of ovulation. At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, the amount of mucus is at its lowest level. Also, its color is yellow, cloudy or white. Gradually, it begins to thicken and near ovulation, its color also changes from yellow to cream-like.
During fertility period, cervical mucus becomes clear, stretchy and thick, taking the color of egg white. In this form, it is called as Egg White Cervical Mucus (EWCM), which is perfect for protecting the sperms in terms of texture and pH. You have to start observing mucus the first week after menstruation. The most accurate way is to collect the mucus from the cervix and observe it on daily basis. You can use your finger, after washing and drying your hand or wipe the fluid with toilet paper. When you find the EWCM, that is the time of ovulation.
Changes in Cervix:
Cervix goes through many changes during the whole month. These alterations are particular to the changes occurring inside the body. Before ovulation, during pre-fertile phase (the week just after periods), the cervix will be firm, low, closed and dry. As the time of ovulation approaches, cervix gradually becomes soft and during fertile period, it will become Soft, High, Open, and Wet (SHOW).
You should start checking the position of cervix once the mucus becomes wet. Insert your clean, dry middle finger in the vagina up to at least mid knuckle and notice the feel of the cervix. Just before ovulation, it will be soft as lips, and after ovulation, you will feel it be hard as the tip of your nose.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT):
The lowest possible temperature of the body or at rest temperature is known as basal body temperature. Normal average BBT is 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit which gradually rise with the passage of time until ovulation if pregnancy does not occur. You need to remember that four to five hours’ sleep is necessary before taking the temperature.
Check your BBT on daily basis and make a chart to note the ups and downs of the temperature. You can also see a sample chart to help you out. Some of these suggestions will help you to record your temperature accurately:
- Use a digital BBT thermometer to record the temperature. These thermometers get accurate and quick readings and record even 0.5 degrees change in temperature.
- Keep your thermometer by bed so that you can record your temperature first thing in the morning even before you move, stretch, or even talk for accuracy. It is better to set alarm and get up at the same time daily.
- Check your temperature by using the same method daily for the accuracy of the cycles and note the readings right away in the online BBT chart. Before ovulation, woman’s BBT averages between 97 and 97.5°F. After ovulation, it rises from 97.6 to 98.6°F.
- Check the chart after one or two cycles and note the accurate details. If you notice a rise of 0.4 degrees within 48 hours, it is the sign of ovulation. The temperature shift should be higher than the highest temperatures recorded in the previous six days.
- If your BBT remains high for more than 18 days, you should get tested for pregnancy.
Ovulation spotting is the minor discharge of blood during the fertile period. The cause of this spotting is the rupture of follicle for the release of an egg into the fallopian tube. This spotting is a secondary symptom and may be missed if you are not checking the Cervical Mucus. The color of blood is not the usual red as the menstrual blood, but it would be pink or brown in color. You will see just a pinkish line of blood intermingled with the cervical fluid during your daily CM check.
Ovulation Spotting should not be confused with the Implantation Bleeding, which will take place after a week of ovulation. Implantation bleeding (also characterized by pink or brown spots) occurs due to fertilized egg burrowing into the endometrium. Ovulation spotting is a secondary sign of ovulation while Implantation bleeding is an early pregnancy symptom.
A woman’s sex drive is designed to fluctuate biologically during the whole cycle. Research shows that it is at its peak around the time of ovulation. This is because of the heightened level of LH, near ovulation. Level of Luteinizing Hormone changes during the cycle and you will notice that your sex desire starts three days prior to the increased level of LH.
The period of this sex drive is reported to be six days. If you follow this desire and have sex in these six days, you would be more likely to conceive. The factors affecting sex drive are complex and unpredictable. It is observed that it lowers the increased progesterone levels during the luteal phase.
Near the time of ovulation, which is the fertile period, women’s senses like odor, taste, and sight are increased. The factors behind this are currently unknown but this is least important. The most significant thing is to notice these changes and identify the period of fertility.
Your breasts go through their own cycle during your menstrual period. Breasts function to feed the newborn baby so they are changed according to the need. Progesterone levels increase before ovulation and cause mammary cells to multiply. This multiplication causes the breasts to be sore and tender, which serves as another sign of ovulation.
Sometimes, breast tenderness is because of pregnancy, as mammary cells continue to multiply with constant increase in progesterone level after fertilization, and thus, can also be a symptom of pregnancy. What you have to do is to observe your breasts along with other symptoms like CM check and cervix position.
Ovulation pain is usually a dull pain which lasts anywhere between a few hours and two days. Whereas, in some cases, it is a sharp pain felt on one side just for a moment. This is a secondary sign as well and noticed only when you are cautiously looking for it.
Ovulation cramps usually occur near ovulation and usually are caused by hormonal change. Some researches also tell that these pains occur when the follicle is ruptured and egg is released. This is a mild pain and usually does not interfere with the daily routine. Therefore, if pain becomes severe, immediately consult your doctor.
These were a few of the symptoms of ovulation, which are commonly observed. Some other secondary signs like headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness etc are also reported by some women. When you are looking for it, you can predict ovulation by the way it feels.
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