By Judith Xavier
What is Ovulation?
Identifying your ovulation period is one of the first steps in your journey towards pregnancy and parenthood. Each month, the ovaries produce multiple eggs, one of which will be released from the ovary into pelvic cavity and into the fallopian tube, ready to be fertilized. This process of the ovary releasing the mature egg is known as ovulation. Interestingly, there is no predictable pattern in ovulation; there is no sure way of knowing which ovary will release the egg each time and the actual ovulation period can also vary from person to person. A woman’s menstrual cycle is typically 28-32 days in duration (although this may vary). The ovulation period occurs in the middle of this cycle, taking place anytime between the 11th and 21st days. This is when the body is at its most fertile, and ideal for conceiving a baby.

How Can I Tell if I Am Ovulating?
The following are the most common signs of ovulation that you should look out for:
  • Change in amount and consistency of cervical mucus. During the ovulation period, you will find a marked increase in cervical mucus which will also have a watery consistency.
  • An increase in sex drive will also accompany ovulation.
  • Breast tenderness is also likely to occur prior to or after ovulation has taken place. This is due to the surge in hormones in the ovulation period.
  • Change in basal body temperature.
Charting your Menstrual Cycle
To identify their fertile period, some women choose to chart their basal body temperature, which is the temperature of body at rest. By consistently taking your body temperature at the same time each day (preferably first thing in the morning when you wake up), you will identify temperature changes that may signal ovulation. Typically, you may experience a distinct decrease in temperature just before ovulation, followed by a sharp increase when ovulation begins. Once you’ve established your temperature patterns, you can increase the frequency of intercourse when you find your temperature has dropped, as this signals the start of the ovulation period.

In this digital age, there are various online tools (eg: online ovulation calculators and smartphone apps) available to help you chart your basal temperature and menstrual cycle, so as to increase your chances of pregnancy. To confirm your fertile period, it would be ideal to use an ovulation kit. An ovulation kit provides a simple urine test that identifies a sudden surge in Luteinising Hormone (LH) in your body.
As LH is the hormone that triggers the release of an egg from your ovary, you can then expect ovulation to occur approximately 24 to 36 hours after the LH surge. Having sex just before ovulation will improve your chances of conception.

It is important to note that ovulation kits are not intended for contraceptive use, and are unsuitable if you have recently been pregnant , reached menopause, have polycystic ovarian syndrome or are taking certain fertility drugs. It is best to check with your gynaecologist before using the kit, to ensure an accurate reading. Ultimately, being in touch with your body and carefully observing your body’s changing patterns plays a key role in accurately identifying your ovulation period.

I Love Children would like to thank Clearblue for the information on ovulation kits in this article.

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