The Fertility Window: Understanding and Tracking Ovulation

Women have a chance of getting pregnant for a few days every month. This fertility window – the day of ovulation and five days preceding it – offers the best opportunity to conceive. No doubt, tracking ovulation is difficult and irregular monthly cycles make it more intricate to identify the exact date. However, the body of a woman exhibits a certain unique pattern and signs every month as it undergoes ovulation and you can recognize the timing with an eye on these symptoms.

Tracking ovulation help know the fertility window

Here is a detailed guide on understanding and tracking ovulation.

Understanding Ovulation

Ovulation refers to ovaries releasing one or more eggs for fertilization. The ovary produces and passes eggs into the fallopian tube, where these join sperms to form the zygote, the first stage of the embryo.  This process occurs every month almost halfway the monthly cycle when either of ovaries discharges a mature egg waiting to unite with sperms released by your partner during the intercourse.

A woman’s body shows evidence of some changes during this period. These signs when carefully read help tracking ovulation and maximize your chance of conceiving.

The egg stays in the fallopian tube for 24 hours. Unless it meets sperms there within that time, it disintegrates leading to the loss of the ability to conceive for that month. Sperms can survive in the fallopian tube for up to five days. So, the closer is the intercourse to the time of ovulation, the better is the chance of conception. You have the best chance to become pregnant when you have frequent intercourse within five to six days of ovulation.

With the onset of ovulation, the uterine walls become thick to be able to hold the egg fertilized by sperms. If no fertilization occurs, the uterine wall thins out leading to shedding of blood. This results in menstruation.

Things To Know About Ovulation

  • The most common assertion is that ovulation begins halfway your monthly cycle. However, there is no conclusive evidence to identify the 14th day as the exact day of ovulation. Not even in those with a perfect 28 or 30-day cycles. Research shows it starts between a few days and a few weeks following the menstrual. The time period also varies from one woman to another.
  • Those tracking ovulation time must consider 10 to 20 days following the monthly period as the best time.
  • The lifestyle, nutrition, job, stress, health, and environment influence the menstrual cycle and so is the day of ovulation.
  • The fertilized egg stays active up to 24 hours.
  • Either of ovaries releases one egg every month. In some cases, there may be more than one egg released leading to the birth of twins or multiples.
  • If the egg is able to meet sperms in the fallopian tube, the zygote is formed. The fertilized egg moves to the uterus and takes about 6 to 12 days for implantation.
  • An unfertilized egg disintegrates and soaked up by the uterine wall.
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How Does Ovulation Occur?

Follicle stimulating hormone stimulates the development of 5 to 10 follicles or small spherical group of cells. With growth, these cells amplify the production of estrogen hormone. The strongest of these cells mature into the egg and released by the ovary.

Luteinizing hormone is known to contribute to ovulation. When an egg becomes mature, there is a sharp rise in the estrogen levels. As a reaction luteinizing hormone initiates the ovulation process that leads to the release of the egg. Once ovulation is over without fertilization, you have to wait until the next cycle to conceive.

Ovulation occurs each month until you are able to become pregnant. However, the number and strength of eggs vary with the level of fertility.

Symptoms Helpful in Tracking Ovulation

  • A mild pain-like sensation is felt between the 11th and 22nd days following the onset of the menstrual cycle. It is not exactly pain, but a sudden and steady feel of discomfort for 2 or 3 days and could be a potent sign to start tracking ovulation.
  • A slight drop in basal temperature by about a half a degree marks the ovulation time. The temperature starts fluctuating or dropping a day before the release of the egg and rises once the ovulation is over, as progesterone level increases. You may track ovulation with careful monitoring of basal temperature over months.
  • You may observe clear, slippery, and stretchy cervical mucus secreting around the ovulation period due to the rise in estrogen hormone. It remains sticky, creamy, or watery in normal times.
  • A soft, open, high, and wet cervix is indicative of the fertility window. Else it remains low and hard.
  • Breasts become tender and sensitive during ovulation.
  • Simultaneous increase in sexual desire, energy level, and enhanced sensory attributes are other common signals of ovulation.
  • Water retention and mid-cycle spotting also signal impending ovulation time.

Awareness about your fertility window empowers you to have the finest chance of getting pregnant. If you have the family plans on the cards, tracking ovulation is highly desirable. It is the only way to know when you have the best chance of conceiving. Here are a few tips to track ovulation.

Tips for Tracking Ovulation

  • Make a menstrual calendar. Note down your dates over a few months when pregnancy is a priority for you. Ovulation starts two weeks before the next date and you stay fertile for six days ending on the ovulation day. Calculate the fertile window and plan your love making accordingly.
  • Paying close attention to your body signs is another effective way of tracking ovulation. Learn the symptoms and be attentive to their manifestation. No doubt individual symptoms could be misleading in many cases, but viewing their exclusiveness and occurrence alongside each other is an assurance of identifying and tracking ovulation successfully.
  • Monitor your body temperature to see the variation after a particular time lapse following your menstrual. The temperature remains low in the first half of the month and increases by about a half a degree in the second half.  The timing when the body temperature increases is an indication of your monthly ovulation time. Write down your temperature over a few days between the 10th and 22nd days following the menstrual. Assess the time period for a few months to become sure of it and able to anticipate ovulation time in the coming months.
  • Check your cervix regularly between the first and third weeks of the monthly cycle. It helps you notice cervical changes, a key factor in tracking ovulation. The normally finger-tip-like hard cervix becomes softer around the ovulation time in anticipation for pregnancy. Cervical mucus also undergoes changes with rising estrogen hormone in the blood. When you feel cervical changes alongside mucus transformation, it is an indication of ovulation time.
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Predictor Kit for Tracking Ovulation

Use an ovulation predictor kit to zero on the exact timing of ovulation. These kits are widely used by women for tracking ovulation and help you know the date 24 hours in advance.  The predictor test should be done 10 days after you have the last menstrual. If it shows positive, you may have an impending ovulation in the next one or two days.

Ravneet Kaur
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Ravneet Kaur

Ravneet is a proficient author on mindful parenting, child psychology, and pregnancy-related issues. Her practical writing focuses on helping parents develop a compassionate understanding of child behavior and build strong family bonds. She also researches and writes on women’s health, pregnancy problems, relationship issues, teens, and child development and education.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com
Ravneet Kaur
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