Mastering the Art of Detecting Ovulation

Do you know if you’re ovulating?

Knowing if your body is ovulating and releasing an egg each month is vital when you’re trying to conceive. You may have taken ovulation for granted or even ignored it up until now, but if you’re actively trying to get pregnant, knowing if you ovulate becomes far more important. Let’s talk about some ways you can check to see if your body is ovulating.

First things first, let’s address the use of OPK’s, or ovulation predictor kits. Like home pregnancy tests, these measure the level of certain hormones in your urine—in this case, your LH (Luteinizing Hormone) levels. LH peaks drastically and sharply in your body in the day or two before ovulation, giving you a pretty good idea of when your body is about to release an egg. Seems like a foolproof way of foreseeing ovulation, right? Well, yes and no. OPK’s can be very valuable, but they also have some major weaknesses as well.

For instance, it’s possible to have multiple (smaller) LH surges leading up to the one directly before ovulation. If you time intercourse to an earlier surge, you may be having sex too early for the sperm to last until ovulation. In addition, OPK’s won’t tell if you don’t have enough cervical fluid to sustain the sperm, something which could be keeping you from getting pregnant regardless of how regularly you ovulate. OPK’s can still be a useful tool in determining ovulation, and are most helpful when used in combination with the signs listed below.

Now that we’ve discussed OPK’s, let’s talk about actual ways to tell if your body is ovulating based on your waking basal body temperature (BBT) and cervical fluid (CF). Additionally, you can also check your cervical position (CP) or take OPK’s as supplementary confirming signs. The more signs you can use to pinpoint ovulation, the better! To understand how to interpret these signs, it’s important to understand how they change over the average menstrual cycle. 

As a rule, your cervical fluid starts out dry at the beginning of your cycle and gets progressively wet and stretchy (think raw egg whites) as you approach ovulation. This “egg white” quality fluid is considered your most fertile cervical fluid. It can be a great way to forecast upcoming ovulation. After ovulation has occurred, your CF will return to sticky, creamy, or dry, a good sign that ovulation is over.

Your basal body temperature usually remains in a “lower” range before ovulation—normally 97.0-97.9 degrees Fahrenheit. After ovulation occurs, the release of the egg prompts the ovaries to start producing progesterone, which raises the your BBT after ovulation by several tenths of a degree (98.0-98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). So, if your temperature after ovulation stays elevated by at least .2 degrees above the previous 6 temperatures, it’s a good indicator of ovulation. Once it’s remained high for three days, it’s as good as confirmed.

If you check your cervical position throughout your cycle, you should notice it sitting higher in the vagina around ovulation, as well as feeling softer to the touch and more open. After ovulation, the cervix drops lower, closes, and becomes firmer to the touch. Cervical position can be a great way to cross reference your other fertility signs and see if you’ve actually ovulated.

Congratulations! You should now be able to predict and confirm your ovulation. Get started with tracking your fertility signs here!

Danielle Stratford

Danielle learned first about fertility awareness almost three years ago, and has been hooked ever since. After being frustrated by the limited online resources for other women using FAM, she started her own website, Appleseed Fertility. She is passionate as an advocate for using fertility awareness and works to educate women on their bodies, their cycles, and their fertility.