How To Determine When A Woman Is Ovulating
Accurately determining the time a woman ovulates is paramount when trying to conceive. The only other parameters that are equal in importance is being certain there is sperm present and that the fallopian tubes are open.
The following are ways to better pin-point when and if you have ovulated so that proper timing of sex can occur,
BBT (basal body temperature charting). Learning to properly take and chart your basal body temperature each morning for at least 3 menstrual cycles is a great thing to do if you have been trying to conceive without luck. In a perfect world there will be a slight dip in your temperature at the end of your follicular phase (bleed and maturing of the egg). This dip, if followed by a rise in temperature of at least 0.2 degrees celcius in the following couple days is an indicator of ovulation. The temperature should remain at higher temperatures for at least 10 days to support and maintain an early pregnancy.
Fertile pre-ovulation cervical fluid. This essential body fluid is something that a woman trying to conceive must understand. Slippery, clear, raw egg-white, stretchy. These are the common descriptions given to the vagnial secretions that must be present just before the release of the egg from the ovary (ovulation). There are 3 main characteristics to look for when identifying fertile pre-ovulatory cervical fluid, 1. It is slippery so as to provide lubrication for sex. Some women report a wet sensation. 2. It becomes more transparent (like raw egg-white) due to higher water content so as to aid in sperm motility (swimming). 3. It stretches when examined between the fingers. Does not appear tacky like lotion. It is also recommended to learn more about the importance of cervical fluid and fertility as it is essential to the survival of the sperm.
Ovulation Urine Strips (luteinizing hormone detection strips). Depending on the length of your menstrual cycle, starting to use these pee strips should occur when approx 1/3 of your cycle is complete (i.e. 30 day cycle, start using strips on day 10). Be sure to use the same urine each day to be sure to obtain accurate relative results (i.e. always use 1st or 2nd pee of the day). There are very expensive strips at your local drugstore and they often come with a fancy monitor. You don’t need these. All you need is simple strips that show you a line when your ovulating hormones are at their peak (go to early pregnancy tests website to order). When the tests show the luteinizing hormone at its peak, this communicates to the woman that in the next 12-36 hours ovulation will occur.
‘Twinges’ or slight pain. This is often reported around ovulation. Theories of it being the follicle (aspect of the ovary which contains the egg) rupturing and releasing the egg are quite likely true.
Libido or sex drive. Yes, women are ready to make babies like no other time of their cycle during ovulation. If a woman is healthy and trying to conceive has not completely snuffed out all romance, this is a great indicator of when a woman is fertile.
Cervical position. When a woman is fertile her cervix (muscular opening between the vagina and the uterus), which when open allows the passage of sperm into the uterus and ultimately the fallopian tubes. it also retracts upwards away from the vaginal opening and softens to allow for deeper penetration during intercourse. Simply put, when a woman is fertile, sex is better for both partners.
Day 21 Progesterone blood work. A lab test that can tell to some certainty whether a woman ovulated. A woman gives blood approx 7 days after she thinks she has ovulated. Numbers within a certain range are tell tale.
Ultrasound. Sometimes a woman will get ultrasounds to determine if a follicle is in atrophy (shrinking). This is also a good indicator as to whether an egg has been released.
OK, now lets put some of this together very simply. Libido, cervical position, twinges, fertile cervical fluid, and ovulation pee strips should all be present at approximately the same time. This is when a woman is fertile. This is when intercourse should occur. If sperm is healthy, every day is great. If sperm is not optimal, allow a day between ejaculations. Once the BBT has risen, it is now too late. First step to making a baby, punctual coitus.
Dr. Spence Pentland, is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. His clinical practice in Vancouver has focused on the treatment of men’s and women’s reproductive health & fertility issues since 2004, helping hundreds realize their dream of having happy healthy families.