What is ovulation?
Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is available to be fertilized.
The lining of the uterus needs to have thickened to prepare for a fertilized egg. If no conception occurs, the uterine lining as well as blood will be shed. It is this shedding of an unfertilized egg and the uterine wall that is called menstruation or menses.
How can I know if I am ovulating?
A lot of our readers ask this question.
Tracking your period is usually the best way to know your most fertile days;
- To do this however, you will need a thermometer and a calendar or a chart. Some basal body temperature (BBT) thermometers sold at any pharmacy, often come with a BBT calendar chart.
- To begin put the thermometer and calendar right next to your bed where you can reach them.
- Starting on the first day of your monthly period, take your temperature daily before getting out of bed in the morning, and record the result on the calendar.
- Also record the days of menstruation and the days you have sex with your spouse.
- Do this every day throughout the month.
- Ideally at about 14 days after the first day of your period (menses), you should begin ovulating. Shortly after this happens, the body-at-rest temperature rises one-half to one full degree and remains elevated until the end of that cycle.
- If you are trying to have a baby, it recommended that you engage in intercourse one or two days before the rise in temperature.
What else should I need to know?
- Because not all women are "regular,"ovulation can occur before or after 14 days after the first day of your period. Therefore counting the days only works if you have a "standard" cycle.
- Also if you don't notice any sustained temperature rise during your monthly cycle, you might not be ovulating (even though you get your period).
- This is something your doctor should know about; there are medications that can increase the likelihood of successful ovulation.
- This method is not always accurate as it is influenced by many factors, including medication, alcohol, degree of physical activity, and illness.
- Experts recommend that you should try to keep track of your BBT chart for about three months, to be able to accurately predict when you may be ovulating.
- There are other methods to predict ovulation such as monitoring your cervical mucus (vaginal discharge that looks and feels like raw egg whites), changes in your body e.g. pain or a series of cramps in your lower abdominal area, usually localized to one side.
- Another way to track ovulation is through ovulation kits and fertility monitors.