For many women, getting acquainted with their menstrual cycle and ovulation period is critical especially if they want to get pregnant. Ovulation is the period when an egg becomes ready for fertilisation. It usually lasts from 12 to 24 hours only!
Knowing when you ovulate is an important first step if you want to conceive naturally. During the time that an egg is released, it has only about a day to survive and be fertilised by a sperm to make conceiving more possible. So, how do you know when you’re ovulating?
#1 Track your menstrual cycle
If your periods are regular, tracking your menstrual cycle and ovulation period is easy. Regular menstrual cycles usually last between 28 to 32 days, with your ovulation happening 14 days before your next period. For example, if you have a 28-day cycle, you’re most fertile around Day 14. However, if you have irregular periods, tracking when you’re most fertile may be a little more challenging. Irregular periods are often caused by hormonal imbalance, reproductive system abnormalities, or other factors like stress and obesity.
Tracking your cycle can be made easier with digital tools like Nyra from Singapore-based digital health technology startup Vivant. Nyra is a mobile application that can be used by women to seamlessly track their period, fertility, ovulation, mood, lifestyle and physical activity. In addition to English, the app is also available in vernacular language starting with Hindi, helping to empower women in traditionally underserved communities in Asia and the Middle East to take care of their feminine health. Based on the health information collected, the app provides women with personalised feminine health, hygiene, and fertility advice to help manage their wellbeing.
#2 Monitor your basal body temperature
The basal body temperature (BBT) differs depending on which period of your cycle you are in already. During the first half of your cycle, your BBT is lower due to high level of oestrogen being released. Then it dips even further when you ovulate and rises in the second half. You can use a basal body thermometer in drugstores to help you monitor it. Tip: Make sure to track this over a series of months, and not only once, so you can get acquainted with the pattern.
#3 Be familiar with your body
Knowing your body is also key to figuring out when you’re most fertile. Some signals you can look for include:
- Ovulation pain: When an egg is released in your body, you’re most likely to feel slight pain in your lower abdomen, which is almost similar to the cramps you get before your period. This can also be accompanied by light vaginal bleeding or spotting.
- Tender breast: Your breasts may be sore around the ovulation period.
- Change in your sense of smell: During the ovulation period, you may be experiencing a heightened sense of smell.
- Heightened sex drive: Libido change can also be another signal of ovulation. If you’re feeling more in the mood for sex, that’s ovulation giving you the go signal.
#4 Look for changes in your cervical mucus
Be familiar with your cervical mucus as it is also a good indicator when you’re ovulating. You will notice an egg white-like discharge when you’re approaching ovulation, which dries up after your period.
#5 Keep an ovulation kit
Ovulation kits are a gift to women—it determines your exact ovulation period by checking the luteinising hormone in your body. How’s that for convenience? With an ovulation kit, it’s a bit less messy in that you won’t have to examine the stickiness of your mucus on your own. All you have to do is to pee on a stick and wait for a line to appear, similar to taking a pregnancy test. You can do this every morning during your ovulation period so you’d know your peak time.