If you find it takes more than one cycle for you to get pregnant, you’re not alone. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have fertility issues. In fact, it is completely normal. But knowing the signs of ovulation and when you are most fertile can increase your chances of conceiving in any cycle by 30 percent. So how can you tell?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to detect when you’re most fertile.
1. Evaluate cervical mucus
Your body will give you signs to let you know when you are about to ovulate. You just have to know what you’re looking for. Cervical mucus changes and becomes more apparent as you get closer to your fertile window. Here are a few things to look for:
- After your period days – You may not notice any cervical mucus (dry days). You are not fertile yet, so hang tight.
- Approaching fertile window – When your body is getting ready to ovulate, the cervix will begin to produce cervical mucus. At first it will be a sticky type of mucus.
- Approaching ovulation – Your cervical mucus will increase and go from dense and sticky to more fluid and creamy. It is the increased estrogen at this time that causes these changes.
- Before ovulation – When you are at your most fertile, cervical mucus will resemble the color and consistency of raw egg white. This means your ovary is getting ready to release a mature egg and it is time to try to conceive. Egg white cervical mucus is stretchy and can be stretched between your fingers without breaking. This type of cervical mucus is the ideal environment for sperm.
- During ovulation – Cervical mucus increases in quantity and becomes more watery.
- After ovulation – After you have ovulated, your cervical mucus will dry up until the end of your cycle.
2. Cervical position changes
Throughout your cycle, your cervix also goes through changes. These changes prevent or allow sperm to enter the uterus, but they can also be used to help detect ovulation.
a) SHOW – This acronym is used to describe a fertile cervix. It is Soft, sits High in the vagina, is Open and Wet. You can feel the cervix by inserting two clean fingers into your vagina. If you cannot feel your cervix (too high), this may mean that you are ovulating or about to ovulate.
b) Non-Fertile – The non-fertile position of your cervix is the opposite of SHOW. It is Hard, Low, Closed and Dry. Think of the cervix as a fortress. When it is closed, it has a hard, dry exterior. When it is open, it is soft and wet for sperm to be able to swim through.
For a complete “how-to” guide to cervix and cervical mucus observations, see this Cervical Mucus + Cervix Position Guide.
3. Basal body temperature
Surging hormones cause many changes in the body during ovulation. One of them is a spike in temperature. It is a subtle change of about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit, so the best way to detect it is to take your temperature before you get out of bed in the morning. Be careful not to move around or you may artificially increase your temperature. You may notice a dip in temperature before you ovulate, but you should surely notice a increase after ovulation that stays elevated for at least 3 days. After a few cycles of charting your basal temperature, you can predict when you will ovulate in your next cycle.
4. Ovulation predictor kits
You can buy an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) to tell you when you are ovulating. These are sold over-the-counter at most pharmacies or grocery stores. These easy to use kits are an easy way to know when you are fertile. They work by detecting levels of luteinizing hormone in your urine. The first positive result means you are preparing to ovulate and should ovulate within about 24 hours.
5. Other symptoms and signs of ovulation
With so much going on at this time, it’s not surprising that there are other symptoms of ovulation. Some women experience obvious symptoms while others don’t notice any. Commonly, women experience symptoms and just don’t know to attribute them to ovulation. Here are some symptoms you may experience:
a) Nausea and headaches – If you’re feeling under the weather mid-cycle, ovulation may be the cause.
b) Light spotting – Some women confuse this with implantation bleeding, but spotting can occur during ovulation too.
c) Heightened senses – If you notice you’re hearing better and seeing clearer than ever, you may be ovulating.
d) Cramping – This phenomenon is called Mittleshmerz and it affects many women. It can be mild and last a few hours or more severe and last a few days. The upside to experiencing Mittleshmerz is that it’s an obvious sign that you are ovulating.
e) Bloating – Unfortunately, this doesn’t only happen during your menstrual period.
For a complete list of all signs and symptoms for how to know when you are fertile, click here. We created Premama Fertility Support for Her for all women who are thinking about trying to conceive. Using Myo-Inositol and Folate, our fertility support drink mix helps regulate a woman's cycle and enhance overall egg quality.
Author Bio: Phil Druce is the Founder of Ovulation Calculator. Ovulation Calculator provides the knowledge and tools to help women (and couples) conceive naturally. To date, they have recorded over 10,000 pregnancies.