Ovulation is defined as the release of the mature egg (ovum) from the ovarian follicle – the time frame (or window) of peak fertility. Your most fertile period starts about 4 days before ovulation, and ends about 24 hours following the release of the egg. Because the sperm can live in a woman’s body for 5 days or so, a woman’s fertile period is actually longer than the 24 hour life-span of the ovum. To increase your chances of conceiving and becoming pregnant, predicting the days of peak fertility – and more specifically predicting the date of ovulation – is very important. To maximize the your chances of becoming pregnant, we suggests a number of proven methods, including ovulation testing, using a saliva ovulation predictor, fertility charting basal thermometer (bbt charting), and keeping track of physical phenomena like changes in cervical mucous, cervical position, and discomfort in the lower abdomen (mittelschmerz).
Basal Body Temperature and Fertility Charting
Following ovulation, your basal (resting) body temperature will typically increase by 0.5 to 1.5 degrees F. Though you will not feel this thermal shift, you can detect it by using a basal thermometer. The basal temperature spike is the result of a sudden increase of the hormone progesterone following ovulation. The temperature increase is produced to create a warmer, more fertile environment for implantation of the fertilized egg and embryonic development. Your most fertile period is in the two or three days before your temperature hits its high point. Therefore, bbt charting does not allow you to predict ovulation because the temperature thermal shift occurs after ovulation. However, charting your basal temperature over a few months can help you monitor the dynamic of your menstrual cycle and pinpoint when you ovulation will most likely take place. This will allow you to time intercourse during your most fertile period of the month.
Luteinizing Hormone, Ovulation and Ovulation Tests
Ovulation Tests: Luteinizing hormone in elevated quantities facilitates ovulation. The increase in luteinizing hormone is called the “LH surge” and directly precedes ovulation, making it a reliable predictor of fertility. Conception is most likely to occur within thirty-six hours following the LH surge. The LH Ovulation Test (ovulation predictor kit) is specifically designed to detect your LH surge – the time when you are likely to ovulate. A positive on an lh test helps you time intercourse. The lh surge typically lasts just a day or two, so when a positive result is indicated, ovulation and peak fertility are imminent.
Saliva Ovulation Tests: Saliva ovulation tests predict ovulation in a similar way, by detecting fluctuations in hormone levels – this time changes in the hormone estrogen. Before ovulation takes place, a gradual estrogen increase takes place. With the ovulation microscope, you predict fertility by viewing the visual changes that take place in your saliva throughout your cycle. Just prior to ovulation, women experience this “estrogen surge”, which is less sudden than an LH surge any thereby helps you predict ovulation as much as 72 hours in advance. The ovulation saliva test allows you to observe crystal patterns that become present in your saliva due to this increase in estrogen. The crystal pattern is called “ferning” (as the patterns resemble fern fronds), and when you see strong ferning patterns, you know you are fertile and ovulation will take place in the next few days.
Both types of tests exhibit different strengths. LH urine ovulation tests indicate that ovulation is about to take place in the next 24-36 hours, and ovulation microscopes all you to predict ovulation and fertility a few more days in advance, allowing you to plan sex 2 to 3 days before ovulation to increase your chances of getting pregnant. To learn more about ovulation predictor tests, click either Lh ovulation tests or ovulation microscopes.
Cervical Mucus, Ovulation and Fertility
During your menstrual cycle, cervical mucus will increase in volume and change consistency and texture. Increase in volume and textural changes (becoming slippery like egg-whites and semitransparent) reveal hormonal changes leading to ovulation. Peak fertility is indicated when the cervical mucus becomes ‘slippery and stretchy’.
Pre-Ovulation: Following the menstrual period, there is a feeling of dryness. There will be no visible mucus. Gradually, more mucus will accumulate – yellow, cloudy, or white in color and sticky to the touch. Approaching Ovulation: As you approach ovulation, your cervical mucus will increase. First, there will be a moistness or stickiness to the mucus, as well as a white or cream-colored appearance. During Ovulation: At ovulation, the quantity of mucus will increase greatly and the appearance will resemble “egg whites”, often semitransparent. The texture will become increasingly slippery and ‘stretchable’. This is your most fertile time. Following Ovulation: Following ovulation, the slippery quality of the cervical mucus will decrease and the mucus will become sticky and cloudier. Post-ovulatory dryness will also ensue.
- Ovulation Calendar (tool)
- The Anatomy of Ovulation
- FAQ: How can I tell that I’m ovulating?
- Fertility Charting and Methods of Predicting Ovulation
- Charting Ovulation to Pregnancy
- Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting
- How to Fertility Chart: Basal Thermometer & BBT Charting
- How to use your basal thermometer
- BBT Charting & Timing Intercourse
- Progesterone, Ovulation & BBT Charting
- FAQ: What is “fertile” cervical mucus?
- FAQ: How much will my BBT increase?
- FAQ: Can the position & feel of my cervix tell me if I’m ovulating?
- Printable Fertility Chart
- Changes in Fertile Cervical Mucus
- Am I Ovulating?
- FSH and Fertility: How Follicle Stimulating Hormone Can Affect Your Ability to Conceive
- When Do You Ovulate?