How Do I Track My Ovulation?

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Ovulation tracking can be used as both a method of natural family planning and as a fertility awareness method. Women mostly track their ovulation to target the most fertile window in their menstrual cycle. Although not recommended as a reliable form of birth control, some women track their ovulation to avoid pregnancy.

There a several methods that can help you detect when you are ovulating. Ovulation tracking methods include basal body temperature charting, the calendar method, tracking cervical mucous, and using an ovulation predictor kit. Alongside ovulation tacking, it is worthwhile to also keep track of other symptoms of ovulation, such as breast tenderness, bloating, light spotting, and cramping.


What Happens During Ovulation?

Ovulation is the process in which a mature egg is released from your ovary. This normally occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle (around day 14). After the egg is released, the egg moves down the fallopian tube and stays there for 12 to 24 hours. Your chance of conceiving is best when live sperm are present in the fallopian tubes during ovulation.

If the egg becomes fertilised by sperm (conception) and attaches itself to your uterine wall (implantation), you become pregnant. If conception does not take place your uterine lining will be shed during your period.

If you are wanting to conceive, you should have sex during the five days before through the day after your expected ovulation. It is recommended that couples have sex every day or every other day during this most fertile time.  


How Do You Chart Your Basal Body Temperature?

A woman’s menstrual cycle consists of two phases - before and after ovulation.  A normal basal body temperature chart shows the dips in temperature before ovulation and before menstruation (if conception does not occur).

Basal body temperature charting (BBT charting) requires taking your temperature first thing in the morning, before you get up. By keeping a chart throughout your menstrual cycle, you can detect various temperature changes. A sustained temperature increase indicates that you have ovulated. 


How Does The Calendar Method Work?

The calendar method is most useful for women who have a regular menstrual cycle that is no shorter than 26 days and no longer than 32 days. It is done by tracking a woman’s menstrual cycle on a calendar to either avoid or partake in sexual intercourse during a woman’s fertile days. This method is also known as the rhythm method which is a form of natural family planning to help a woman identify when she is ovulating.

You are most likely to ovulate around two weeks (14 days) before your period begins.If you are trying to conceive, this method advises focussing on having sex during days 8 to 19 of your cycle.


How Do Ovulation Predictor Kits Work?

Ovulation predictor kits are similar to home pregnancy tests. They are urine tests that show when your luteinizing hormone (LH) levels rise. LH is the female hormone that causes your ovary to release its egg. A rise in LH levels normally indicates that you will ovulate within 12 to 36 hours.

To maximise your chances of conceiving, it is recommended that you have sex daily once your LH levels surge. Ovulation predictor kits are most effective when you test over 10 consecutive days (95% effective).


What Are Saliva Ferning Tests?

Saliva ferning tests tend to be far less costly compared to ovulation predictor tests. They work on the principle that certain chemical changes occur in your saliva during ovulation. These changes can be seen in a fern-like crystal formation in your dried saliva sample.

Saliva ferning kits usually include a lens onto which a drop of saliva is placed. They also contain a viewing scope to see the characteristic crystals that develop just prior to ovulation. Ovulation normally occurs within 24 to 72 hours of the first crystal formations.


What Do Cervical Mucous Changes Mean?

Keeping track of changes to your monthly vaginal discharge can help you identify when you are ovulating. When you are not ovulating your cervical mucous is usually fairly thick. However, towards the middle of your menstrual cycle (when you ovulate), your cervical mucous normally becomes thin and clear, resembling raw egg whites. These mucous changes make it easier for sperm to pass through the cervix and fertilise an egg.

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