How Do You Know When You Are Ovulating

More vaginal discharge, tension in the lower abdomen and breast augmentation are the main symptoms of ovulation. Discover the 5 main signs that announce ovulation.

Ovulation consists of the release of the oocyte by the ovaries and usually occurs around the fourteenth day of the menstrual cycle, ie 16 to 12 days before the start of the menstrual flow, and is a phenomenon that occurs with specific signs. In the case of an irregular menstrual cycle, in fact, the symptoms of ovulation can tell you more or less what your fertile period is. Ovulation coincides with a woman’s peak of fertility, i.e. the most suitable days for sexual intercourse in order to become pregnant. Attention, however: “The precise moment of ovulation,” says Dr. Alessandra Graziottin, “depends not only on the regularity of the cycle, but also on multiple psychological and emotional factors related to lifestyle.

During ovulation, the female body undergoes a series of physical changes, mainly due to a considerable increase in LH hormones and estrogens.

The physical symptoms that tell you that you are fertile and may be able to conceive are different, let’s see which are the main and how you can choose the best time thanks to an ovulation test:

1. Increased libido

In the days before ovulation (usually two or three), there is an increase in libido. This is the best time to have sex if you want to have a pregnancy. The increase in sexual desire is in fact due to the increase in oestrogen in the blood, the hormones produced by the ovaries. When the ovaries reach their peak in the production of estrogen, there is an increase in libido that facilitates, or at least should, sexual relations and therefore conception.

2. Increase and transparency of cervical mucus

One of the main symptoms that indicate that ovulation is approaching is the change in vaginal secretions, and especially cervical mucus. In fact, the mucus changes in consistency depending on the fertile or infertile period of a woman. During the infertile period, the cervical mucus has a composition and consistency that is hostile to the passage and survival of the spermatozoa: it is rather dense and opaque, and if taken between the thumb and forefinger it stretches very little, or not at all, tending to break immediately.
On the other hand, close to ovulation, there is an alteration, in quantity and consistency, of the mucus produced by the uterine cervix, which has the aim of reducing the acidity of the vaginal environment (to guarantee the spermatozoa a longer survival) and to facilitate the passage of the spermatozoa inside the vagina, in their journey towards the tubes.
In the days immediately before ovulation, the mucus tends to become more liquid, transparent and watery, and to assume the typical “egg-white” consistency. When taken between the thumb and forefinger, the mucus stretches without ever breaking. This phase of the mucus is just before ovulation and the feeling of wet and lubricated in the vagina is very present. The peak of the mucus is the last day when the mucus has this transparent appearance, is very elastic or even liquid, and you have a strong feeling of wetness. Ovulation starts on the day of the mucus peak. These are the days when the woman is most fertile and most likely to become pregnant.

How to Check Your Cervical Mucus and Detect Ovulation
Illustration by Katie Kerpel.

3. Increasing the basal temperature

Another of the symptoms of ovulation is the increase in basal temperature, i.e. a sudden increase in body temperature caused by progesterone, the hormone that the woman produces in the luteal phase, to help the fertilized oocyte to nest in the mucous membrane of the uterus.
Ovulation occurs on the last day when the temperature is low.
The drawback of the basal temperature method is that it allows you to know the time of ovulation a posteriori, that is, only when it has already occurred (since you notice the rise in temperature).
The advantage is that you know for sure if there has been ovulation or if the cycle is anovulatory (i.e. a cycle without ovulation).
Usually the increase varies abruptly by 3-4 tenths of a degree. As soon as you wake up, and before you get up, you can more easily discover the increase in the basal temperature, with a simple thermometer.

4. Changes in the position of the cervix

On the days before ovulation, which therefore corresponds to the days when you are most fertile, the cervix is higher, softer and more open. It is a physical symptom not visible, since it is internal, but it can be useful for specialists who are monitoring any ovulation. And in any case, with the exploration of the fingers it is from the cervix that you can take the mucus from which you understand if you are ovulating.

Check the position of cervix
Check the position of cervix

5. Increased breast softness

Usually, on the days between ovulation, changes in the consistency of the breast are felt. It is softer and more prosperous, and it is often possible to feel a slight discomfort due to its greater prosperity. All this is due to the increase in hormone levels in the blood, which ease breast tension, another of the physical symptoms of ovulation in progress.

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