What is ovulation?
Let’s start at the start. When females are born, they have about one to two million eggs in their bodies. After they attain puberty -- that usually happens between the ages of 10 and 15 years – the monthly menstrual cycles begin and continue until menopause around the age of 45-50 years.
The first day of the menstrual cycle is the first day of the period, and the last day of the menstrual cycle is the day before the next period begins. This span of a menstrual cycle is usually 28 days (but cycles that are regular but shorter or longer than 28 days, say 21 days or 40 days, are also normal).
Ovulation occurs each month around the mid-point of this menstrual cycle. Ovulation is part of a woman’s menstrual cycle when her body ovulates, meaning the ovaries release an egg (or more than one egg) that’s ready to be let out into the fallopian tubes. It is THAT time of the month when the females are most fertile. Having sex at this time of the female’s mentrual cycle can lead to pregnancy. Let’s find out what is the best way to check if you are ovulating.
How to know when I’ll ovulate/Symptoms
- Body Temperature: The body undergoes some changes during ovulation. There's a small rise in body temperature after ovulation takes place. This is caused by the increase in the hormone progesterone.
Mapping the body temperature with a basal thermometer (bought from a medical store) each morning before getting out of bed can help tell if ovulation is around. This method is not too accurate though. For the release of eggs from the ovary, luteinizing hormone or LH hormone is responsible and its levels in the body surge about three days before ovulation happens.
- Cervical mucus method: Cervical mucus is that part of the vaginal discharge that deposits on the crotch of underwear. The main purpose of cervical mucus is to either to prevent things from entering the uterus through the cervix or to provide nourishment and help move the sperm through the cervix into the uterus. It is secreted by glands found in and around the cervix.
The consistency of the cervical mucus (part of the vaginal discharge) changes consistency through all phases of the menstrual cycle. Cervical mucus becomes clear, watery, stretchy, and slippery; and is often compared to the texture of raw egg whites, which helps the sperm to move up towards the ovum (female eggs).
Tracking the texture of this discharge helps knowing when ovulation is happening, and is known as the cervical mucus method.
- Ovulation Kits: Just like home pregnancy kits, home testing ovulation kits are available at the pharmacies. These kits check the LH levels in urine and tell the time of ovulation. This is a convenient and highly accurate method, possible by getting an ovulation kit from a medical store.
- Apps and Websites: There are also apps and websites that track your ovulation by asking for some personal details and dates about the body and its menstrual cycles. Through this, they predict when ovulation is likely to happen for a certain person. Through tracking of the ovulation cycle for a while, one can know around which day of the menstrual cycle their ovulation usually happens, or know their ovulation calendar.
Other symptoms of ovulation:
Some young women experience changes when they are ovulating like:
- a brief pain or dull ache felt on one side of the abdomen
- slight cramping or pain on the left side of pelvis/abdomen
- an increased desire for sex
- a bloated abdomen
- a keener sense of vision, smell, or taste
- light spotting
- breast tenderness