8. Question: Am I ovulating? What are the common signs or symptoms of ovulation?
Answer: Perhaps the only sure way to determine if ovulation has taken place is verification through ultrasound at your doctor’s office. Unless you have confirmed fertility issues (anovulation, amenorrhea, etc), ultrasounding ova is likely not on your to-do list. Fortunately, there are a number of natural fertility signs and indicators that can tell you, with a very high degree of likelihood, that you have indeed ovulated (or are about to!). First off, simply exhibiting a regular menstrual cycle (lasting around a month) is the first solid indicator of a healthy cycle and suggests a strong likelihood you ovulate. Also, there are other important signs that tell you when you ovulate each month, the very signs that constitute the intricate facets of your fertility chart.Let’s look at the ovulation symptoms below that can either confirm you have already ovulated this cycle – or help you anticipate imminent fertility…
First, a bbt/basal body “thermal shift” or “resting” temperature increase is a very clear sign you’ve ovulated. If you bbt chart daily, you’ll be able to track the marked increase in body temperature that accompanies the release of the egg. In fact, once the corpus luteum expels the egg, it starts jetting the hormone progesterone into your system, and this is the root cause of a bbt thermal shift. By taking your bbt temps the first thing each morning, you can isolate your ovulation date. Please note that a bbt heat increase will become measurable the day after you ovulate.
Physiological symptoms like ovulation cramping or midcycle pains (aka mittelschmerz) can signal the actual release of the egg. Ovulation cramping manifests as a sharp pain in the lower left or right abdomen. Not all women experience mittelschmerz. Even less common is the presence of ovulation spotting, the very light and seldom-observed spotting that may accompany ovulation when the egg breaks from the ovarian follicle.
Ovulation prediction devices: While a fertility monitor or urine lh test cannot “verify” ovulation will take place, a positive result is highly suggestive of impending fertility. These devices test for specific reproductive hormones, so by indicating the rise and fall of lh or estrogens, you can determine that your menstrual cycle is proceeding as expected.
Now, while changes in cervical mucus (CM) and location of cervix are great indicators of fertility, they can only tell you that ovulation will likely take place in the near future or confirm the likelihood that your fertile window is over. The abundance of fertile quality CM is one of our favorite “fertility symptoms”, and this occurs just prior to your fertile window. Once you ovulate, rising levels of progesterone and decreasing estrogens will result in less CM, and the quality of mucus will deteriorate, becoming less fertile (sticky, opaque, white/yellowish, hold its shape). For more on cervical fluids and fertility, return to our FAQ page.