You probably haven’t heard of or thought about ovulation since biology or sex education class in high school, unless you’re actively trying to get pregnant.
But considering how much ovulation may reveal about your reproductive and general health, everyone with a uterus can gain from being aware of when they’re ovulating and what their body is doing at that time. The definition of ovulation, the advantages of knowing when you’re ovulating, and a comparison of utilizing an ovulation tracking app with alternative ovulation monitoring techniques are provided below by a fertility specialist and a qualified nurse.
DESCRIBE THE OVULATION Ovulation, in its simplest form, is the time during the menstrual cycle when a woman can conceive. Menstruation, the follicular phase, and the luteal phase are the remaining three phases (ICYWW).
According to Cristin Hackel , M.S.N., R.N., WHNP-BC, Medical Provider @ Nurx , ovulation is the moment during a person’s menstrual cycle when an egg is released from one of their ovaries, where it is typically stored. She explains that after leaving the ovary, the egg descends down one of the two tunnel-like structures known as the fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus. According to the University of California San Francisco Health , the egg needs 30 hours to complete this journey. She explains that one may fertilize the egg to produce a zygote if there are any sperm in the fallopian tube, where sperm can live for three to five days. If that occurs, the zygote will migrate to the uterus to deposit itself, at which time it will turn into an embryo and possibly start the pregnancy, according to the expert.
According to Asima Ahmad , M.D., M.P.H., chief medical officer with Carrot Fertility , pregnancy cannot occur if there are no sperm present for the entire day plus that the egg is in the fallopian tubes.
Similar to this, if you have a regular cycle (like lasts from 21 to 35 days ), there won’t be any eggs in your fallopian tubes during the weeks you aren’t ovulating, preventing the sperm from fertilizing an egg. This indicates that, contrary to popular belief, pregnancy does not occur during the ovulation window for those with regular cycles; rather, it occurs outside of it. (However, remember that the National Health Service states that there are no “safe” days to engage in unprotected sex if you don’t want to become pregnant because flukes do occur.)
HOW OFTEN AND FOR HOW LONG DOES OVULATION OCCUR? Ovulation often happens just once a month. Ovulation often occurs on the 14th day of a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, according to the Cleveland Clinic . (Reminder: The first day of your menstruation is the Cristin Hackel 0)
Dr. Ahmad notes that some conditions, such as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), “are Cristin Hackel 1 that prohibit women from ovulating every month.” She continues that several hormonal birth control methods completely stop ovulation in order to prevent unintended pregnancy.
According to research found in Cristin Hackel 2, certain persons, however uncommon, ovulate more than once every month. Hyperovulatory ovulation is when a person ovulates more than once per cycle. There is currently little knowledge of the causes of hyperovulation. However, a person’s likelihood of ovulating more than once per month may increase if they take fertility medicine or if Cristin Hackel 3 runs in their family.
The ovulatory window is a little bit longer than ovulation, which typically lasts for around a day. Ovulation describes the precise day on which an egg leaves your ovary. The several-day window during which pregnancy is possible is referred to as the ovulatory window or the fertility window. The ovulatory window is typically thought to last seven days, Cristin Hackel 4.
THE BENEFITS OF TRACKING OVULATION Since only during the ovulation window is it possible to become pregnant, it stands to reason that someone seeking to conceive (or attempting to avoid conceiving) would want to be aware of when they are ovulating. The days you should have sexual contact if you’re attempting to conceive are known as the “ovulatory window,” while the days you should use a barrier (like a condom) or refrain from sexual contact if you don’t want to get pregnant are those days.
Dr. Ahmad emphasizes the need of tracking ovulation for those undergoing fertility treatments in the hopes of getting pregnant. For instance, according to the Cristin Hackel 5, a person undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI), which involves surgically inserting sperm into the uterus using a tiny catheter, must be aware of their ovulation date.
But not just individuals who wish to get pregnant or engage in sex that can cause pregnancy should consider tracking their ovulation. According to Cristin Hackel 6 from The Linacre Quarterly, the activity can reveal a lot about your general health.
The researchers pointed out that conditions and variations in hormone levels, for instance, can have a significant impact on ovulation. As a result, they note, keeping track of your discharge throughout your ovulation window, how frequently you ovulate, and how you feel when ovulating can all provide you with information about your general health state. According to Hackel, changes and anomalies in ovulation may be able to help a doctor find underlying STDs, reproductive issues, hormone imbalances, and more. On the other hand, being able to spot ovulatory changes on your own can help you decide when it’s best to consult a medical professional to make sure everything is alright.
These results support the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG Cristin Hackel 7 )’s to designate the menstrual cycle as the fifth Cristin Hackel 8 because ovulation is only one phase of the total menstrual cycle (alongside body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure). The ACOG team explained the choice in a statement, writing, “By adding an assessment of the menstrual cycle as an extra vital sign, clinicians reaffirm its importance in assessing overall health status for patients and caretakers.”
You can gain more benefit from your exercise program if you keep track of your ovulation. According to the Cristin Hackel 9, women who are fertile often feel a considerable surge of energy during ovulation. Alisa Vitti, founder of the Nurx 0 and the Nurx 1 and an expert in functional nutrition and women’s hormones, recently stated that this is often the optimum time of the month to perform high(er) intensity exercises.
. Someone who has a strong desire to win a CrossFit competition or set a personal record in a race can purposefully decide to sign up for it when their ovulation prediction software indicates they will be in their ovulation window.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHY KNOWING WHEN YOU ARE OVULATORY IS BENEFICIAL, YOU PROBABLY WANT TO KNOW HOW TO TRACK OVULATION. Here, Hackle lists four methods for determining whether you are ovulating.
LOG THE BODY TEMPERATURE IN YOUR BASIL. Hackel notes that when you are ovulating, your body temperature increases. According to Nurx 2, the average person’s temperature ranges from 96 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit before ovulation and rises by around four tenths of a degree during ovulation to 97 to 99 degrees.
It is known as taking your basal body temperature when you take your temperature while completely at rest. Every day, before you get out of bed, take your basal body temperature and record it in a fertility awareness method chart or app. By doing this, you can track variations in body temperature and determine when your ovulation will occur. You’ll need a specialized basal temperature tracker to achieve this successfully because the temperature variations are so minute.
DON’T MISS THE CERVICAL MUCUS METHOD. You might be able to determine whether or not you are ovulating by looking at your snail trail. According to Hackel, it is possible to assess changes in the cervical mucus (vaginal discharge) to determine whether or not ovulation appears to have taken place.
The cervical mucus often varies from being white, thicker, and sticky before ovulation to being more clear, wet, slippery, and flexible like an egg yolk just before and during ovulation, she explains, though everyone is different. This is because, according to Nurx 3, the hormones that regulate your monthly cycle also drive the cervix to generate a certain type of mucus, which is expelled through the vaginal canal.
There are numerous techniques to examine this mucus. One is to wipe your vagina when you first wake up and then touch the discharge on the toilet paper to feel and see how it feels. Simply observing the discharge in your underpants is another method. However, the Nurx 4 is to insert a clean finger and swipe it about your vaginal canal before removing it and rubbing the mixture between your fingers (of course, wash your hands immediately afterward).
After examining the mucus, record your results in an app or paper chart. According to Hackel, after a few months of daily tracking, you’ll have a better grasp of the type of discharge you create at various periods in your cycle and will be able to avoid (or prioritize) unprotected sexual activity during and just before your ovulation window.
The most accurate approach to determine if ovulation is taking place, according to Hackel, is to combine the basal body temperature method with the cervical mucus method. It is referred to as the Nurx 5 when utilized collectively.
DOWNLOAD AN OVULATION TRACKING APP. Additionally, you can consider using an ovulation monitoring app, which, FTR, differs from a straightforward period tracking software. It’s useful to know when you might need to have sanitary goods on hand because period monitoring applications allow you know when to anticipate to bleed, according to Hackel. On the other hand, she notes that “ovulation tracking applications often aim to anticipate when the bleeding will occur, but they also look at other body changes.” In order to properly estimate your ovulation window, these apps typically ask for extra information from you, such as your body temperature, cervical mucus findings, cervical position (i.e., how high or low your cervix is in your vagina), and other symptoms.
The biggest advantage of ovulation monitoring applications is that you can monitor cervical mucus and basal body temperature directly from your phone without the need for a pen and paper. Additionally, since the majority offer daily reminders, there is less chance that you will forget to register your symptoms.
Notable: Some applications that track your periods and ovulation also forecast when you will ovulate depending on the length of your typical cycles. However, the app won’t be as precise unless it additionally collects data on the aforementioned ovulation symptoms.
Ovulation test kits work similarly to at-home pregnancy tests in that they measure the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) present in your urine, according to Hackel. According to her, roughly 36 hours prior to ovulation, the amount of LH in the pee increases because it “signals to the ovaries when it’s time to produce an egg.”
It’s not very effective to use one of these every day, and they can cost as much as $.80 per test. However, they can be helpful when used in conjunction with any of the other strategies indicated above.
THE IMPLICATION OF OVULATION TRACKING Paying attention to your ovulation window’s symptoms and when you ovulate can tell you a lot about your body and your chances of becoming pregnant. Tracking your ovulation might also reveal details about your general health and wellbeing.