During each monthly cycle, healthy couples in their 20s or early 30s who aren’t using birth control have a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant. And that’s a surprisingly high percentage considering that you can conceive only around the time of ovulation — a small window of opportunity each month (usually about 12 to 24 hours) during which the egg is viable, or open for the business of fertilization.
Sperm are able to live to fertilize for a lot longer than an egg is willing to hang out, anywhere from three to six days. Which means that even if you have sex a few days before ovulation, there may be plenty of sperm still around to greet the egg when it emerges. (And remember: It only takes one sperm to make a baby.) Of course, having sex the day you ovulate would be ideal. After ovulation, that window tends to slam shut till the next cycle.
Clearly, knowing when Ovulation occurs is key when trying for a baby. Here are seven ways to help you pin down the big day.
Common Signs that Occur in Most Women
Again, it is important to note that ovulation symptoms vary from woman to woman with some women experiencing no symptoms at all.
1. Change in cervical fluid – Cervical fluid that resembles “egg whites” is a sign that you are near ovulation or are ovulating. Every woman can experience her own type of cervical fluid, and not all cervical fluid looks the same. Ovulation usually takes place on the day a woman has the most amount of wet fluid. There are products available to help improve cervical fluid production if that is an issue.
2. Change in basal body temperature – For most women, you will see that prior to ovulation, the basal body temperature is rather consistent. As you get closer to ovulation, you may have a slight decline, but it will be followed by a sharp increase after ovulation. The increase in temperature is the sign that ovulation has just occurred. Tracking your basal body temperature accurately over a few months can help you predict when ovulation is going to occur.
3. Change in cervical position or firmness – The cervix goes through many changes as a woman ovulates. During ovulation, the cervix will be soft, high, open and wet. For most women, it will take some time to be able to differentiate between what their cervix normally feels like and the changes it goes through during ovulation.
4. Slight spotting – Some women may experience slight spotting due to a drop of estrogen at the time of ovulation. The drop in estrogen causes the endometrium (uterus lining) to decrease a little, causing slight spotting known as ovulation bleeding.
5. Increased sexual desire – Several studies have found that women experience an increase in sexual desire when they are most fertile, around the time of ovulation.
6. Breast tenderness – Some women experience tenderness in their breasts just before or after ovulation. This is related to the hormones in your body, getting ready for ovulation and the potential of pregnancy.
7. Abdominal bloating – Another sign of ovulation is slight bloating. You may feel slightly bloated in the abdomen around the time of ovulation. This symptom can be caused by increased water retention due to a rise in the hormone estrogen.