Ovulation is the part of a menstrual cycle each month when a mature egg is released from an ovary and travels through the fallopian tube, in order for fertilization by sperm to occur. The uterine lining is thickened to prepare for a fertilized egg and if conception does not occur, the uterine lining sheds during a woman’s menstrual period.
It may be possible to tell if you are ovulating by signs and symptoms such as:
- Sustained basal body temperature increase
- Pain or a dull ache felt on one side of the abdomen when ovulation occurs (sometimes called mittelschmerz, which is German for ‘middle pain’)
- Change in cervical fluid, which may become thinner and more clear
- Breast tenderness
- Change in cervical position and firmness
- Light spotting
- Abdominal bloating
- Increased sex drive
- Heightened sense of vision, smell, or taste
- Elevated levels of luteinizing hormone, as detected on an ovulation test
When Does Ovulation Occur?
A woman’s menstrual cycle is measured from the first day of her menstrual period until the first day of her next period. An average woman’s menstrual cycle is between 28-32 days, but women may have shorter or longer cycles.
Ovulation usually occurs between Day 11 – Day 21 of a cycle, counting from the first day of the last period. Women who have shorter menstrual cycles tend to be more likely to ovulate closer to day 11. Women with menstrual cycles on the longer side can ovulate occur closer to day 21. Ovulation:
- Can occur any time during this window
- Usually lasts one day
- Is not always the same day each month
How Can I Track My Ovulation?
Women who are trying to become pregnant use ovulation prediction to determine the optimal time to have intercourse, particularly if they are having difficulty conceiving because a woman is most fertile in the window in which she is ovulating.
Methods of ovulation prediction include:
- Ovulation calendars
- Period tracking apps
- Taking daily basal body temperature
- Observing cervical fluid
- Tracking periods