Predicting Ovulation – How to Anticipate your Window of Fertility
There is only a short period of time during each month when a woman has a chance of getting pregnant. This is called the Window of Fertility. This is when conditions are at optimal levels for conception. However, it only lasts for about 4 or 5 days each month, so being able to predict when it will occur is extremely useful for women trying to have a baby.
What is ovulation? And when does it happen?
Ovulation occurs when a mature egg, or ovum, is released from the ovarian follicle for fertilization.
Ovulation typically begins half way through the menstrual cycle, but the timing varies due to variation in cycle lengths.
For an egg to be successfully fertilized, there must be at least one viable sperm ready in the fallopian tube waiting to fertilize it. This must take place within twelve to twenty-four hours of the egg being released.
Seems like a highly improbable situation doesn’t it? One would need absolutely impeccable timing or dumb luck to make it happen. However, there is another factor at play. Sperm can actually live in the female reproductive tract for up to five days. This increases the fertility window from 12-24 hours to roughly 5 days, including the four days leading up to ovulation.
Even with this moderately extended window, timing is still crucial when it comes to conception. It’s all about predicting ovulation.
Warning Signs to Predict Ovulation
There are several warning signs and symptoms to pay attention to if you are attempting to predict the onset of ovulation.
Some things to monitor and look out for are:
- Basal body temperature
- Increased sex drive
- Breast sensitivity
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Changes in cervix and cervical mucus
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
BBT refers to your body temperature in a state of rest. Throughout the menstrual cycle, your BBT will typically stay reasonably consistent. As the time of ovulation approaches, you should first notice a small drop off in temperature. This is followed by a steady increase in basal body temperature as ovulation occurs.
You will be able to read the BBT signs more accurately the more you track it.
Increased Sex Drive
A heightened libido is another good indicator that ovulation is set to begin. This could be interpreted as an intrinsic drive to keep the earth populated.
A flood of hormones are being released by the body leading up to, and during, the ovulation period. This can result in elevated soreness and tenderness in the breasts.
Pelvic and Abdominal Pain
As the anticipation of ovulation builds in the body, some women actually report feeling it happen in the form of a dull ache in the stomach or abdomen area.
This feeling or sensation is referred to as Mittelschmerz, which is German for middle pain. This condition can last minutes, hours, or even days.
Changes to the cervix are also a good gauge that ovulation is imminent. The cervix may seem higher, softer, and more dilated at the time of ovulation.
Leading up to ovulation, estrogen production in the body the body is increased. This affects the consistency of the cervical mucus. During ovulation cervical mucus loses some of its viscosity in order to facilitate sperm mobility.
The cervical mucus becomes more malleable, transparent and has an elastisity in order to protect the sperm and help it successfully swim to the mature egg.
I would say this is the easiest means of detecting ovulation as these changes are noticeable in most women and is a good means of timing intercourse. Ovulation predictor kits (OPK) are also a good means of determining your ovulation. Again works for most but if it doesn’t show positive for you it can mean an anovulation (non-ovulating) cycle or that your hormone levels are different and simple OPK tests just don’t work for you.