Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from a woman’s ovary and travels through the fallopian tubes. It is during this time that the egg may encounter sperm and become fertilized. On average, ovulation occurs about once a month, about halfway through the menstrual cycle.
For women who are trying to get pregnant, tracking ovulation cycles can improve the chances of conception by predicting an ideal time for sex. Sperm can survive for a few days inside the body, so it’s best to have the sperm ready and waiting in the fallopian tubes by the time your egg is released from the ovary.
Many doctors recommend that women engage in regular sex at least every other day, especially five days prior to ovulation. The best way to ensure that ovulation happens is to track your ovulation symptoms. Other options for tracking ovulation is to use a menstrual cycle app, basal body temperature charts and or ovulation prediction kits.
Understanding the signs of ovulation can also be a useful health tool for women who aren’t trying to get pregnant. Tracking ovulation can give all women better insight into their overall general health and help them detect abnormal menstrual symptoms in the future.
During ovulation, the body’s hormone level fluctuates, which can cause a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms vary from woman to woman, both in terms of type and intensity. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Mild pelvic or lower abdominal pain
Some women experience a dull, cramp-like ache in the lower abdominal area, typically on one side or the other but not on both sides. Known as Mittelschmerz, this type of pain occurs when the egg is being released from the ovary.
- Changes in basal body temperature
Basal body temperature (BBT) is the body’s resting temperature. Because ovulation produces a surge of hormones, it can cause your BBT to fluctuate. As you get closer to ovulation, you may experience a slight decrease in temperature followed by a sharp increase after ovulation.
- Changes in cervical mucus
In the days leading up to ovulation, there may be a change in the texture of your cervical mucus. Prior to ovulation, cervical mucus becomes stretchy, slippery, and clear, similar to the consistency of a raw egg white. This texture makes it easier for sperm to navigate their way inside the body and indicates that you are fertile.
- Changes in the cervix
The cervix can change both in position and texture during an ovulation cycle. These changes include becoming softer, more open, and higher. After ovulation, the cervix will feel harder, like a piece of unripe fruit.
Other symptoms that you may experience include breast soreness or tenderness, light spotting, increased sex drive, and slightly heightened senses (smell, taste, etc.).
Whether you’re trying to conceive or just want to be proactive about your general health, understanding your unique ovulation symptoms can be an empowering habit to include in your life. If you have any questions about ovulation and female fertility, contact Fertility Solutions and make an appointment with one of our experts.